TECH, BUSINESS AND CAREER INSIGHTS

3 Ways to Lose Remote Employee Engagement (and How to Keep It)

By: TSP Blog | @TSProckstars

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When it comes to remote employees, are you struggling to keep their attention? Remote workers often feel disengaged because they’re cut off from the day-to-day rhythm of business and one step removed from company culture and goals. This experience can be isolating for employees and costly for businesses. Remote workers are vital to the success of your business, so keeping them motivated and engrossed is imperative to keeping them happy in their roles.

With over 4 million remote employees in America, companies are at risk of losing employees if they don’t take the right steps to cater to employees in and out of the office. Here are 3 ways companies are losing remote employees’ motivation and engagement and how to fix it.

COMMUNICATION
Communicating with remote workers is easier on structured channels. While this might work well for accomplishing structured tasks, it can be easy for remote employees to feel disconnected sometimes. The fact is, most office communication happens in face-to-face contact and allows for more information sharing.

Remote employees can often feel out of the loop and behind on certain projects because information discussed in the office was not communicated to them. This can lead to remote employees feeling a lack of community and acceptance from co-workers. In addition, written exchanges over email are more prone to misinterpretation, leading to confusion and frustration among employees.

Consider implementing a company-wide communication platform like Teams to prevent misunderstandings and keep your remote workers engaged, to move conversations to a more collaborative space, rather than person to person emails. This will allow remote employees to give their opinions and provide expertise on certain projects in real time, instead of after a decision has already been made.

Remember, your remote employees are more than just robots behind computers. They value company culture and human interaction, so making the company as accessible as possible is vital to keeping remote workers happy and engaged.

INTERRUPTIONS
When working remotely, emails and chat lines can quickly become a lifeline for employees. Many remote workers use this to create an image of reliability, much like being on time for work in an office. In comparison to working in an office when other co-workers have seen each other working all morning, remote employees might feel the need to be over responsive to make up for their lack of physical presence.

In-office employees might also interrupt remote workers because they can’t visually see them working. This can often lead to remote employees feeling overwhelmed to complete tasks on a deadline because they’re catering to the timeline of co-workers that aren’t remote.

To avoid this issue, meet with remote workers prior to beginning a project and suggest they set specific office hours for employee collaboration and “do not disturb” time on their calendars so other workers know when they are unavailable to talk. This can help reduce the stress put on an employee working remotely and allow them to finish tasks on time and with better quality.

LONELINESS
While working remotely can be great for embracing individuality and freedom, many remote workers fail to talk about the elephant in the room — loneliness. It can be difficult to work on different schedules from family and friends and use a bedroom for an office. Most remote workers suffer from not having the physical presence of a team to support them when things get rough. Loneliness can also affect productivity.

Many remote employees crave real time interaction and communication. Consider establishing an “in-the-office” day, when employees that work remotely are encouraged to come in. If it isn’t realistic to bring them in weekly, make an investment to have them visit the office monthly or quarterly. Not only does face-to-face time help build relationships, it also establishes trust and speed in communication.

There’s no such thing as a perfect work environment. With more Americans opting to work from home, companies have to make changes and shift their communication strategies to ensure all employees are staying engaged and motivated. It’s important to take time to talk to your remote employees and see what works and what doesn’t work for them. This will avoid confusion and frustration down the road.

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