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managing a remote workforce

5 Actionable Ways to Engage Your Remote Workforce

At this point, the rising tide of remote work as the future of labor is well-tilled blog soil. Many businesses enjoy the benefits of hiring remote staff, such as the larger talent pool and savings on office overhead costs. As it turns out though, managing a remote workforce is easier blogged than done.

One of the biggest challenges is making your remote staff members feel like an integrated part of the company. Did you know that 68 percent of U.S. workers feel disengaged from their work? For remote workers, this percentage may be even higher. Even without physically showing up to the office every day, remote workers are still part of your team’s success. So how can you make sure they’re engaged with your company even from a distance?

Glad you asked. Here are some methods you can use to go about managing a remote workforce.

Communication Goes Both Ways

Remote employees need to feel they like they’re working on a two-way street.  They may have questions or suggestions or want to communicate about their salary or other issues. If you are distant and make your team feel they can’t reach out to you, you‘re likely to experience higher turnover.

How can you avoid such a situation? Let them know you’re interested in hearing what they have to say by asking their opinion about an assignment, a deadline, or other aspect of their work. Try and take these check-ins beyond just a status update of their projects. Show genuine interest and take appropriate action when your remote employees do express concerns.

Use the Right Collaborative Tools

In order to step in to the company culture, remote teams need to be on the same page with the in-house part of team. Because of their setup, they’ll likely get more out of collaborative platforms than on-site employees can. Seeing what other colleagues are working on, commenting and sharing can enhance their understanding of company culture and provide them with a platform to ask questions and give feedback to other employees as well as receive feedback about their contributions. Here’s a list of various types of collaboration tools you can use to get remote and in-house teams in lock step.

Expand Communications Methods

Communicating via voice call is probably unrealistic for remote workers. Email is perfect for long explanations and instruction, but instant messaging and text are also great ways to reach out. For maximum productivity, you can even rope into service a handy email-to-SMS tool. Here a few times when you’re better off going the text message route:

  • Desperate times text for desperate measures. For situations like a last-minute change or a looming deadline, a text message is likely to be opened more quickly than an email.
  • Reminders. A quick reminder via text is an effective way to communicate about things like invoices, deadlines, or scheduling a chat.
  • Good job or thank you. Sending a quick text letting your remote employee know they delivered good work or sending a quick ‘thank you’ can be the right choice to let them know you appreciate their efforts.

Schedule Face Time

Emails and texts and other forms of written communication are essential for engaging remote workers, but the occasional face time is priceless. Being able to see the employee, hear their tone of voice, and connect with them on a more personal level helps them feel more connected to your business.

If it’s possible for them to come to your office for an occasional meeting, great! However, that situation isn’t common, so at least schedule a video call to touch base from time to time.

Pay Market Rate, Even Out Of Market

Remote workers who feel like they’re part of the team, even if their physical location is thousands of miles away, will be more likely to stick around. Paying remote workers a wage that’s commensurate with your local market rate is one way to show them they’re a valued team member. Even if they live in a country or region where their market rate would be much lower, offering a wage competitive where your HQ  is located can offer a significant incentive to remain loyal to your company. And, of course, make sure you take immediate action on any questions or snafus related to how your remote team gets paid.

Businesses can successfully engage their remote workers by implementing a feedback system, ensuring two-way communication, and being great at keeping them updated on changes or successes in the company.  What other methods do you use to engage and inspire your remote team?

Recommended Reading:

Addressing The Challenges Of a Blended Workforce

Hiring Remote Workers Like You Mean It