This article was updated on September 11, 2018.
Many small and middle market businesses have remote employees for a variety of reasons, including to save money on office costs or simply for convenience. But how can businesses help ensure that off-site workers remain properly engaged and committed? These three tips can help you create a dynamic working relationship with remote employees:
1. Stay Connected
Use technology to keep your remote workers connected. Social collaboration, video conferencing and chat sessions are a few ways to help employees who work off-site stay in the loop. Technology allows mobile staff to stay abreast of integral day-to-day operations. It also offers a forum for remote workers to brainstorm or offer feedback with team members in other locations, in turn making them feel like part of the team. Technology is a useful tool that brings everyone together to discuss ideas and collaborate, so equip your remote workers with access to the right technology or communication tools they need to learn and grow.
2. Schedule Face-to-Face Meetings
Although technology helps foster employee engagement, sometimes nothing beats actual face-to-face communication. Some forms of technology don't allow you to observe body language, for example, which could otherwise help you determine whether your employees are satisfied with their roles. If resources allow, it may be beneficial to schedule periodic in-person meetings with your remote workers. Even one meeting, perhaps for training, could help create a working relationship that proves worthwhile. According to the Association for Talent Development, "among some of the most popular and successful companies globally, the most preferred form of training delivery is still face-to-face."
3. Reward Employees
Implementing a remote employee recognition program can help single out an employee who would probably otherwise go unnoticed. On-site employees are highly visible to others; co-workers can more easily witness their accomplishments. However, a remote worker could do an equally good job but, because of physical location, go unrecognized. This is an opportunity for managers to give a shout out to their remote employees by perhaps broadcasting their accomplishments somewhere online or in a business newsletter. This takes the mystery out of what workers do when working remotely, and, in turn, the public knowledge of their accomplishments helps garner the respect of their on-site co-workers.
These three tips can help create the dynamic environment that your remote worker is yearning for. These initiatives will not only positively affect your off-site workers, but they'll also help your business as a whole work as a true team.
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