How to Engage Virtual Employees
Companies traditionally use face-to-face activities and personal interactions to boost employee engagement in the workplace. But with the major shift that most companies have undergone during the last year or so, relying more on remote or work-from-home employees, conventional engagement strategies will no longer work. Companies and organizations now need to learn how to keep employees engaged while working from home, starting with these 6 easy but effective strategies.
6 Effective Ways to Engage Virtual Employees
1. Engaging Remote Employees through Technology
Technology plays a huge role in keeping remote workers connected with the team. There are now countless tools that you can use to maintain this connection and we’re not talking about simple emailing and file sharing through the cloud. Video conferencing tools, in particular, are very useful for keeping remote employees engaged. Regular Zoom meetings where teammates actually see each other’s faces can boost everyone’s spirits considerably and make for higher work productivity.
2. Create an Online Venue for Casual Conversations
In the office, employees sometimes chat with each other about topics that are not related to work. This is a great way to release some stress and build personal connections with co-workers. By having chat rooms or message groups where everyone can sit back and enjoy the virtual company of their peers without having to talk about work, you can really engage virtual employees. This will make them feel like they are indeed part of the team even if they are not physically present.
3. Engage Virtual Employees through Celebration
Birthdays, work anniversaries and project completions are some of the things that are typically celebrated by officemates together. Part of remote employee engagement is making sure that they don’t feel left out during such celebrations. They may not be able to get a slice of the celebratory chocolate cake but you can have them join in a video call for the celebration.
Also, if it is them who are celebrating a birthday or anniversary, you can send them a special gift and maybe even have a video celebration where everyone can send their greetings. This will make your remote employees feel appreciated and encourage them to keep doing their best.
4. Have a Virtual Rewards Program
People who work from home have to face a lot of challenges that make their work different from and sometimes much harder than in the office environment. Surmounting these challenges and doing a job well definitely deserves the company’s recognition.
Rewards can be as small as a simple thank you or a round of applause during online meetings. They can also come in the form of electronic gift cards or other gifts that you can have delivered to them by courier. In any case, continuous and consistent recognition is surely a great way of keeping employees engaged while working from home.
5. Bring the Fun at Office Online
Most offices have one or two fun activities they do in the workplace perhaps once a week or so to keep the edge off and to keep employees happy and stress-free. These regular non-work related activities, like weekly yoga sessions, can easily be converted into online activities where everyone can participate regardless of where they are in the world. It can even be more frequent than just once every 7 days.
6. Conduct Online Team Building Challenges
Just because you don’t see each other personally doesn’t mean team-building events have to stop. Online team-building challenges are a great way to keep everybody in a lively, competitive and cooperative mood during the workweek. As with regular team-building sessions, you can divide up your employees into several groups, each consisting of a combination of remote and in-office employees. You can play puzzles, trivia, and other games that will make everyone think outside the box. This fairly simple activity, which can happen once a month, is a great way to boost the energy and productivity of both your in-office and virtual employees.
Engaging remote employees is really not as hard as it seems at first. These suggestions are just some of the many solutions you can try. Every employee needs to be valued, respected and recognized for the work that they are doing. With this in mind, you can be as creative and fun as you want in keeping your remote employees engaged and elevating their sense of worth.