Posted on: Monday September 18, 2017
How do you maintain high levels of engagement with a remote workforce?
Staff are no longer chained to a desk and with 54% of UK staff working remotely the death of the traditional office could be imminent. Whether they are working from home, on the road, on their feet or even at a permanent site but without access to emails, it is so important that all staff are made to feel valued.
Without being in the office every day it can be very difficult to see if they are happy at work. If they can’t attend the office charity bake sale or access the onsite gym, what can you do as an employer to ensure you are making remote staff feel valued? Read our top tips on how to engage staff, wherever they are, and you will find it is not as hard as you may think
Keep them in the loop
Staff that are remote don’t have the office water cooler to catch up on the latest goings on and may miss vital information that is often discussed in the office, shared on staff room posters or mentioned in passing. Internal comms are key. Multiple emails from lots of members of staff will most likely get ignored or misplaced. If you collate this information into a weekly e-newsletter, every member of staff will have access to the same information and news. All e-newsletter platforms have built in analytics which means that you can dig into the data and see which staff are most engaged with the content and what areas may need some work. But don’t rely on a single comms channel – remember those staff who may not be pc facing or who may not even have a company email address. There is still between 10-15% of jobs in the UK that do not require computer use. There are so many conferencing programmes out there such as Skype and Google Hangouts that provide no excuse to take time to update your team or colleagues. Find out how your staff want to be communicated with and follow their lead.
Tailor your benefits
Remote workers aren’t going to benefit from free fruit in the office or the in-house seminar on Pensions. There is no reason to remove these benefits altogether, but it is important that your benefits are inclusive and appeal to all staff, wherever they are. If you are having a financial wellbeing seminar, make sure to record it or stream it for remote staff to watch online at a time convenient to them. Posting out free fruit to the staff who work at home may not be the wisest idea, but you can implement a discount programme that allows staff to save on their weekly shop. These are simple examples but it goes to show that with more staff working from home or in the field than ever before, you cannot implement a one size fits all approach when it comes to your employee benefits and engagement strategy.
Have a get together
Nothing gets staff involved and engaged more than getting everyone together. Remote staff might not get the chance to interact with staff in the office in person or even on the phone so it is important that you give staff the opportunity to get together and be part of a team. This could be anything from a fun day for a bit of company bonding or a charity appeal where everyone gets stuck into some hard work for a good cause. Staff will then interact with colleagues they wouldn’t normally interact with on a daily basis, which could create better cohesion within the business and as a result, improve engagement and productivity levels.
Hear what they have to say!
How will you know if your staff feel valued if you never ask them? Feedback is so important when it comes to understanding happiness and engagement within your organisation and there are many ways to do this. You could elect a member of the remote workforce to serve as a spokesperson who raises the issues that are most important to them. Surveys are another great way to know how staff are really feeling and better yet, you could implement pulse surveys for real time feedback on how staff are feeling at any particular time. Using this data and feedback, you could tailor your engagement strategy to directly address any problems your remote staff are facing.
Make remote staff take notice
Most organisations don’t realise, but they already have an effective, low cost communications infrastructure in place. Nearly every remote worker will have a smartphone as either a work or personal device. Using this infrastructure organisations can create an employee benefits platform to host all company information, benefits and resources in one place. Regardless of their location, staff can find out any information they want to know at a time that suits them, wherever they are. With people spending up to 4 hours a day on their smartphones, organisations can make this work to their advantage and help staff to feel valued at the same time.
Through a combination of communication, feedback and team building, employers should have no trouble engaging staff whether they are at a desk, on the road or anywhere in the world. Your employee benefits programme is one of the best ways to show staff you care and could make a lot of staff happier. Not only does this boost morale, but it can also help improve productivity and your business performance as a whole.