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Remote employee engagement activities you can implement at any time

By Angela Knox | Apr 28, 2021


It seems like only a couple of years ago that remote working was considered a new way to offer employees flexibility and help companies reduce their on-site overheads.

Fast forward to 2021, and remote working has become the norm in so many industries.

This has happened partly because of the pandemic, but also due to the evolution of technology and preferences for flexible working as part of an employee benefit. 

Remote working continues to present a new set of challenges to employers and line managers as they seek to keep their teams on track.

Unless remote employee engagement is made a priority, companies risk employees feeling isolated, disenfranchised and demotivated.

So how can we keep employees engaged?

Let's look at some activities which are straight-forward for managers to implement:

Keep connected

Since there is little or no opportunity to speak to remote workers face to face, how can you keep them engaged?

Communication becomes even more important where remote workers are concerned.

Seek to hold a 'check-in' session at least once a week via Zoom or Skype, allowing you to catch up and take stock of tasks in the days ahead.

Open up a wide variety of communication channels - from one to one chats via a messenger app to video calls, emails and team groups or forums for sharing ideas.

Make dialogue two-way whenever possible, asking employees for their thoughts and feedback on various elements of work.

Recognise and encourage

Just because an employee isn't in the office, that doesn't mean they should miss out on 'pats on the back'.

Recognising and encouraging team members is arguably even more important when it comes to remote workers.

Don't miss a chance to say 'well done', be in your employee's corner when it comes to issues with clients or suppliers, and don't shy away from giving public praise, so that other team members can also recognise the achievements of a remote worker.

Don't frown upon 'water cooler chat'

You may think that there is no room for 'watercooler chat' when it comes to remote employees.

But what can seem like idle chatter can actually be more important to those working from home.

Whether it is an observation about the weather, an update on what they have planned for the evening, or a discussion about last night's football results - casual chatter can keep remote employees feeling connected and part of a team.

Of course, you shouldn't allow social chats to become so frequent that they begin to impact on work tasks.  But talking about non work topics has always been a great way to get co-workers bonding, and helps to create a sense of everyone working together.

Keep an open mind on tools

You might not hit upon the ideal communication and collaboration tools for managing a remote team immediately.

It could be a combination of methods for work projects and team communication, but it is important that you keep an open mind and do not limit yourself to certain platforms.

Trial and test until you find a means of communication that suits your team and remember to ask your employees for their feedback on how they prefer to work.

Adoption of new technology can be taxing, so getting buy-in is definitely key to success!

Keep an eye on remote worker wellbeing

Maintaining employee wellbeing is vital for all of your team, whether or not they are working remotely.  To get maximum engagement you need to deploy systems and tools which:

are easy to use,

are delivered in a familiar format, 

include elements of gamification, and 

provide valuable and insightful content that will really help to improve all elements of wellbeing.

Our clients tell us that maintaining continued interest and participation in wellbeing programmes is challenging, so bear these things in mind when choosing a platform. Ask them for their opinions where possible, so they can be part of the decision making process.

Summing up

Managing remote employees can seem like heading into the unknown for team leaders who don't have much experience in it.

But by taking steps to keep your team as tight as possible, collaborating remotely needn't impact negatively on productivity.

Once you have systems in place that work effectively in generating employee feedback, you will build trust with your team and really strengthen the two-way communication process, making it easier to foster healthy relationships and productive working patterns.

Angela Knox

Angela Knox

I am a co-founder and director of Keep Fit Eat Fit Wellbeing Ltd and have come from a business and marketing background over many years, with a particular interest in everything to do with health, fitness and overall wellbeing. Having worked in offices for decades, I know the pitfalls of too much sitting at a desk, the challenges of fitting the gym around other commitments, and all the issues addressed within our website. The personal experiences of me and my partner Mark were the original inspiration for the concept of this website. Enjoy!