The benefits of a remote workforce go beyond lower operating costs and overhead. Many businesses report greater productivity, higher engagement and lower turnover rates by allowing team members to work remotely some or all of the time. But if you’re managing a team that consists of remote and local talent, it can be challenging to find ways to keep both types of workers engaged.
As a manager, you may find yourself giving preference to in-office staff that you see every day, while remote employees may be less top of mind for you because they aren’t physically present in the workplace. Ensuring all employees are engaged is critical to your team’s success; according to the Harvard Business Review, 71 percent of respondents rank employee engagement as very important to achieving overall organizational success.
Here are four practical ways you can drive employee engagement and loyalty among remote and local workers.
1. Use Technology to Encourage Collaboration
When multiple team members are working on a project, in-person collaboration is highly encouraged to quickly resolve issues and keep the project moving forward. At the same time, if a remote employee is involved, it can be easy for this person to be excluded from an in-person conversation. By using project management and live chat platforms, local teams can easily collaborate with remote workers instantly. This way, remote employees can stay abreast of all happenings related to key projects and give input when needed.
2. Provide Office Hoteling Options
When remote employees travel to the office, it's important for them to be easily integrated into the collaborative work environment—even if they don't have a regular desk or workstation at the office. One way leaders can drive engagement among local and remote workers visiting the office is by offering office hoteling, or the ability for employees to reserve an on-site workspace as needed. This convenience gives remote employees the ability to more easily collaborate in person as needed — without worrying where they’ll sit and how they’ll fit in.
3. Hold Virtual Coffee Breaks
Spontaneous communication and interaction is one of the greatest benefits of keeping employees on-site. But it's still possible to instill this type of collaboration with remote employees by encouraging them to schedule virtual coffee breaks with local employees. The time can be used for social chitchat or to share general ideas about key projects and the business. As a result, employees become more engaged with one another and more comfortable conversing with coworkers they may not see every day.
4. Recognize Team and Individual Achievements Online
Harvard Business Review reports 72 percent of survey respondents rank recognition as having a significant impact on employee engagement. In addition to recognizing top performers or teams for a job well done via staff meetings or company events, use virtual platforms like company intranets or Facebook-style internal news feeds to share the recognition beyond an on-site meeting. This will give virtual employees the ability to take part in the recognition by allowing them to share their own success stories or weigh in by recognizing others.
There’s no question employee engagement is a critical driver of a team’s efficiency and productivity. By making ongoing engagement methods a regular part of how your team operates, you’ll be able to set yourself and your team up for success.
Learn more about how leaders like you keep teams connected and drive ongoing success. Check out our free guide, 4 Ways Innovative Leaders Stay Ahead of the Technology Curve.