Keeping remote employees engaged is especially important given the current state of the world, as COVID-19 continues to spread across the country and impact the economy. Many businesses have quickly adopted the "work from home" model that has been gaining traction for quite some time. Prior to this, the gig economy was already booming, and new laws have been made in states like California to advocate for freelancers and independent contractors.
Even in industries where work was traditionally on-site-such as software development-it's more possible than ever to take work off-site, particularly because of the growth of cloud technology and DevOps tools from companies like JFrog. On the plus side, companies like IBM have been able to save millions by launching work from home programs. However, if not executed correctly, you may find your team struggling to perform. Here's how you can keep remote teams engaged:
Utilize Project Management Software
Walt Disney once said, "Of all the things I've done, the most vital is coordinating the talents of those who work for us and pointing them towards a certain goal." These are the guiding principles of project management. When you're running a remote team, managing tasks over email simply isn't enough. You may have already had a project management tool before, but with a fully remote team, you might find yourself having to make some adjustments.
Fortunately, there are many project management tools to choose from, and you can take your time exploring each to determine what works best for you. Asana, Basecamp, and Trello are among the more popular options. Each of these help improve collaboration and engagement, manage complex projects, and stay organized. Additionally, it also makes communication with third-parties easier as well, and you can get a more clear grasp on your budget.
Keep a Connected Culture
Your culture is what motivates people to continue working with you. Without having to go into the office and build upon personal interactions, it's important that you stay connected to maintain your company culture. One of the biggest struggles with remote teams is the ability to stay motivated and get the emotional support they need.
Chat tools like Slack are specifically designed to help businesses streamline their work operations. They integrate with several other platforms to curate all your work-related discussions and eliminate the need to chat across multiple different channels. This high level of connection ensures everyone is on the same page and operations are moving along efficiently.
There are plenty of ways to integrate team-building activities into the work-from-home routine. Websites like TeamBuilding.com specialize in creating team-building activities designed specifically for virtual teams. From "Tiny Campfire" sessions to online office games, each activity will truly help bring your entire staff together. You may even consider hosting an annual get-together for your team to meet in person and work together retreat-style.
Encourage Social Connections
As a business, it's important that you facilitate social connections among your remote workers. One way to do this is by setting up extracurricular activities that bring your team together. For example, you might set up a book club or fantasy league. Simple things, like setting up a watercooler chat on your Slack channel will inherently encourage team members to chat with one another just as fluidly as they might in an office. Watercooler chat-no matter where you set it up-provides a foundation for casual communication, promotes a healthy staff, and allows space for team members to build and foster grow relationships.
Showing appreciation goes a long way, especially when it comes during a time of economic turmoil and uncertainty. Recognizing the work that your remote employees do can significantly boost morale among individual employees. Unfortunately, many businesses can forget this when they don't see team members in person.
Reward creates reinforcement. A simple thank you or recognition for a job well done encourages employees to continue working hard, and allows them to realize that what they're doing makes a difference and that their position matters. When you can, offer rewards like a gift card, subscription, or free product. What works for one company may differ from the next, so keep this in mind as you think about how to start showing appreciation for your staff.