The global pandemic is approaching its two-year mark, and while some things are slowly returning to normal, a lot of workplaces still haven’t.
Hybrid ways of working have largely become the norm, which means teams are based in a range of locations, with some potentially back at their office desks. And it looks like an arrangement that’s here for the long term, with Gartner predicting that 32% of all employees worldwide will be remote workers, up from 17% in 2019.
While many people are enjoying being able to work from home, it’s not always easy to keep teams engaged remotely. But if your business is going to adopt remote or hybrid working permanently, you need to find ways to improve engagement and ensure your staff continue to feel valued.
Read more about the importance of keeping your team engaged, and these eight ways to help you do it.
The importance of keeping your team engaged
In 2021, keeping your employees engaged is more important than ever. Some of the key reasons include:
Employee retention is one of the biggest reasons to promote employee engagement within your teams. Employees who are engaged are more likely to stay loyal to an employer, helping to keep the best talent. High employee retention saves your business money and allows you to develop your employees to boost business success.
It’s easy for people to lose their productivity and focus while working from home, but keeping your employees engaged could help boost their productivity. When people are passionate about what they do and the company they work for, they’ll feel much more motivated to work hard. More productive employees mean more success for your business, especially where actions directly influence sales and profits.
Maintaining productivity during workplace disruption can be tough but finding ways to adapt will help your business continue to thrive in the most difficult of circumstances.
Better contribution to company values
A company that has engaged employees becomes a much more comfortable place to work. Employees feel motivated to perform well for the company and show passion for the company’s overall goals. Whatever your company’s values, having employees who are engaged, wherever they are, can make it feel like everyone is on the same page, working together towards a common goal.
10 ways to keep employees engaged wherever they are
Remote and hybrid working presents all kinds of challenges to businesses, and people themselves can feel isolated. Being in an office environment also helps people to feel more connected to where they work, providing a focus to what they do.
But working remotely doesn’t have to leave feeling disengaged. With the right approach, businesses can help their employees enjoy flexible working, while also helping them stay connected to the business.
Here are eight ways to help improve your employee engagement.
1. Use technology to keep everyone connected
Remote working could never have been possible without the range of solutions available today. From Zoom to Microsoft Teams and a whole load of collaboration tools, there is a lot of incredible technology out there to help you keep your team connected. Learn how you can use software to enhance internal collaboration and make sure your teams are able to work well together, even when they’re physically apart.
2. Make health and wellbeing a priority
The health and wellbeing of your employees should always be your priority. And showing that you care about their wellbeing is one way to help them feel more engaged.
There are different ways you can focus on your employees’ health and wellbeing. Firstly, encouraging them to develop a healthy work/life balance can help them avoid burnout and feeling like all they do is work – especially when working from a home environment.
Introducing different initiatives, such as fitness challenges or encouraging wellbeing days, can all help your employees focus on their health. Check in with your employees to see how they’re feeling and adapt your policies accordingly.
3. Don’t neglect opportunities for training and development
Training and development is an important element for keeping your employees engaged and motivated. By providing these opportunities, you’re encouraging your employees to take charge of their professional development. Training will help your employees enhance their skills, which will not only keep them engaged in their role but provide benefits for your business too.
Training isn’t always easy when it’s done remotely. But there are different ways you can provide suitable training opportunities to your employees wherever they are. Developing an online learning platform is a fantastic way of upskilling your team and provides more flexibility with learning too. Make sure you give your team time to take on training and development opportunities, it’s critical for both them and the business.
4. Find ways to replace the water cooler
One of the downsides of working from home is the lack of social contact that happens naturally in the office. The ‘water cooler’ talk is absent, and it’s much harder for teams to connect informally when they’re glued to a computer for most of the day.
But while businesses have worked hard to find effective remote working solutions, they’ve also been looking at ways to make sure teams still get the opportunity for social interaction. There are ways to stay social with work colleagues that can be a lot of fun, and can ensure everyone gets to be involved, no matter where they’re based.
5. Allow people to work flexibly
The pandemic provided opportunities for workers to work flexibly, benefiting from different locations and working hours to be able to fit in their other commitments. Even with a return to more normal working patterns, your business could benefit from continuing to offer flexible working.
While it may not have been common before, many workers expect flexible working to be offered going forward. As many as 60% of women and 52% of men have said they would quit if remote working wasn’t offered in their job, which shows just how much expectations have changed in the last couple of years.
6. Recognize and reward
Providing fair recognition and reward is something every employer or manager should do. It helps to show employees that they’re valued and motivates them to do a job well done. With teams dispersed, a bigger effort is needed to show that employees are valued.
Some of the best ways of providing employee recognition include handwritten notes and e-gifts. A lot of employees will feel incredibly valued when they are given positive feedback about their work, especially during these challenging times.
7. Check in regularly
When you take people out of the general office environment, you lose those interactions that help you check in with your employees and find out how they’re doing. It’s easy for people to become too focused on the task at hand, meaning issues can be much more difficult to spot. Finding ways to check in regularly with your employees will help you look out for them, and show that your interactions aren’t all about work. If you notice signs of a problem, make sure you take action before things get worse.
8. Facilitate regular and open communication
It’s essential that employees feel that they know what’s going on within a business. It helps them feel like a part of the business, instead of simply being an employee. Hold regular meetings with your team to communicate news from around the business, in addition to work and projects. You should also provide opportunities for your team to provide feedback and have their say to ensure a more transparent workplace.
The coronavirus pandemic has presented a number of challenges for the workplace, but it has also provided opportunities. Find ways to keep your employees engaged from any location to help keep your business moving forward in a positive direction.
You may also like: Improving Workplace Collaboration & Team Working
Image source: Unsplash.com