October 20, 2023

Key Strategies to Boost Remote Team Engagement

Welcome to remote work! Did you know that remote work is by far one of the most prevalent strategies of a modern work culture? 

After all, it offers all the flexibility and convenience employees have been dreaming about for years! Unfortunately, it’s not all sunshine and roses, as remote work also comes with a unique set of challenges that can drive engagement issues.

Key Strategies to Boost Remote Team Engagement: eAskme
 Key Strategies to Boost Remote Team Engagement: eAskme


Where do engagement issues come from, you ask? The top 3 culprits are the following: 

Lack of face-to-face interactions: 

One of the primary reasons remote teams struggle with engagement problems is that people rely on face-to-face interactions to build social connections. 

The particular personal touch, which we all know in on-site office settings, can be challenging to replicate virtually.  

Communication barriers: 

Sure, we all know how to talk to one another. However, for remote teams, relying on digital tools can affect the quality of communication. 

This could create misunderstandings and, ultimately, feelings of isolation.

Distraction at home: 

It’s not to be distracted when working from home. Whether it’s the doorbell ringing or the sound of your loved ones, the remote working environment can be distracting. 

And we all know what happens when we get distracted: We start to feel disengaged.

Being disengaged is not the problem here. It’s all about the consequences of disengagement. For instance, a remote team that struggles with engagement tends to show a drop in productivity. 

Besides, the lack of engagement can affect team morale. People get frustrated at little things. Team members become distant.

Finally, when employees do not feel a strong bond with the organization anymore, they are more likely to seek employment elsewhere, which can increase turnover rates.

Therefore, it is crucial to explore effective strategies to re-engage remote teams and mitigate these issues.

Creating team-building activities for remote teams

Team building activities are absolutely central to a cohesive, engaged team. They are important for teams who work in the same office, and they are even more important for remote teams. 

Team building is all about creating a sense of belonging among team members. Teams who work in the same physical space rely on everyday physical interactions, such as saying “hello” at the coffee machine! But, for teams who work remotely, it’s another kettle of fish.

How can remote teams best cultivate the feeling of togetherness even though they never get to sit together? They can participate in playful and fun activities online, such as quizzes online escape rooms. Besides, there’s a lot to be said about digital one-to-one meetings. 

One-to-one setups, even if they happen online, can help create connections with essential members of the team. They establish connections that transcend physical distances as they share common experiences outside of a work setting.

It’s worth also noting that more and more companies have introduced digital coffee breaks and conversation-focused chat rooms as part of their cooperative digital platforms. 

So, remote employees can enjoy a break and a chat together without needing to talk about work. 

In short, it’s time to schedule a digital coffee break of 15 minutes or so with your remote team. Make it casual, make it fun, and, more importantly, make it a safe place for people to be their authentic selves.

Helping remote teams work more productively

Working remotely can seriously affect your everyday routine. After all, when you don’t have to get ready for the office and commute to work, every day can merge into the same experience where there is no clear distinction between work time and leisure time. So, it’s tough to feel connected with the company!

That is why it can be helpful to create a practical guide for your remote workers. This could offer some guidance on how to build a routine to work from home. 

Simple tips such as getting dressed as if heading to the office can help remote team members mentally shift into work mode. This small ritual creates a clear distinction between work and personal life.

Another useful tip is to encourage your team to create a designated home office space at home. More often than not, companies can help remote workers partially fund their home office setup. It’s an important space that’s free from distractions and helps them find their work focus again.

The bottom line: Creating a daily routine provides structure to the workday, even if the workday is spent at home.This helps remote teams reclaim a sense of routine and normalcy, and ultimately, it is also linked to their engagement with the job at hand.

Monitoring Time

How do you manage time efficiently when working from home? The answer is complex. Remote work is challenging when it comes to time management.

Firstly, when there are no clear boundaries between the home and the office, remote teams can work hard to know when to stop. Those who work from home tend to work longer working hours. Yet, it’s not necessarily beneficial for the company: 

They are more stressed and become gradually more and more disengaged. So, it’s the opposite of a productivity benefit!

What happens when remote teams struggle to manage their time efficiently? The opposite of a productivity benefit, as mentioned above, is a drop in productivity. But that’s not all! 

Remote teams are often overworked, which means your employees working from home are more likely to experience burnout. 

Naturally, their mind encounters increasing difficulties in staying focused and engaged the more stress they experience. 

In the long term, remote workers often look for new opportunities with fewer responsibilities to recover.

So, it appears crucial to introduce remote employee time and attendance trackers that can help prevent these issues before you lose your team! While attendance trackers can often be associated with a controlling environment, for overworked remote teams, this could be the freedom they had long lost!

The importance of trust

Sure, implementing attendance trackers and other remote work management tools can help address issues that damage your team’s engagement, but is it enough? You’ve guessed it: Tools can only do so much! The cornerstone of an engaged remote team is trust. 

Trust is a two-way street: employers should trust their remote employees to do their work, and employees should feel trusted by their managers.

When remote employees are trusted, they can work independently without the burden of constant micromanagement. There’s more than a feel-good sensation here. Working independently empowers remote workers to take ownership of their tasks. 

As such, they feel more valued and respected. They also connect at a much deeper level with the company’s objectives. To put it simply, removing micromanagement methods can make them feel a lot more engaged with the business.

The problem with remote work is that a lot of managers need to be more familiar with managing employees who do not sit in the same office. 

Many managers worry about their lack of control on a virtual team, which is why micromanagement arises. Micromanagement is nothing but a lack of trust. And truth be told, employees who do not feel trusted instantly distance themselves from the business.

Clear communication channels

Working remotely means being able to communicate effectively and clearly in a setting where you don’t sit physically together. So how does this work? 

The pandemic has highlighted many innovative tools, such as messaging platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams for real-time communication.

Yet, having the tools doesn’t mean you have the skills to communicate digitally. Digital communication is complex for many reasons:

  • You can’t hear the tone of voice of a person
  • Most people use a different language when they write than when they speak, and this can create some distance, too

That’s where it becomes crucial to make the most of the digital tools available to you. Chat groups, video calls, emojis, and gifs are growing in popularity as collaborative tools. 

Why? Because they convey the familiarity, you lose when you can’t talk face-to-face.

They can also help clarify the context of the communication. For instance, adding a friendly emoji at the end of a sentence will show that the tone is friendly. 

Responding to a work discussion with a funny gif can immediately get rid of tensions. Having a short video call can help people see eye-to-eye when they can’t agree on the same message sent by email.

The bottom line: Use all the options in your digital channels without worrying about maintaining a professional voice for your internal discussion. Remote workers need friendly engagement to bond!

Engagement holds the team together. When people feel engaged, they connect with the company’s vision. They appreciate it. They support it. More importantly, they embody it. Being disengaged is not just a case of stopping caring about the business. 

Disengagement is an epidemic that starts in neglected remote teams and can spread to the rest of the business and even your customers!

So, of course, you want to make sure your remote employees still feel connected with your brands. Hopefully, these few strategies can give you the starting point you need to reconnect with your team.

But, one thing is for sure in 2023. Remote work is here to stay. As such, we know that engagement will remain an issue in the years to come. What more can you do to enhance remote team engagement in the ever-evolving landscape of digital work?

The quest for innovative tech solutions that will bridge the gaps between team members and the business continues. But, before looking for the next tool, take the time to go back to basics. 

Good managers keep their teams together because they know how to care.

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