Remote working has become even more popular these days, as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on in the United States. More companies in the San Francisco Bay Area are allowing employees to work from home until 2021 or even permanently. And it’s not surprising why — not only does this mean better cost savings for the companies, but it also allows for more flexible schedules and fewer distractions.
After a few months, however, your employees can start to feel detached from their work. They may feel less productive and efficient, and eventually experience cabin fever, which counters the benefits of remote working.
How can you keep your remote workers engaged?
Here are some ideas to keep your remote employees interested:
1. Hold extracurricular activities
Extracurricular activities can help increase employee engagement. This is especially important these days, as your staff cannot interact with one another the way they did before the pandemic.
You can hold online gaming tournaments or create a social network where people can share anything that interests them. For example, you can create a Slack channel where your employees can post cute animal pictures, share recipes, or talk about anything non-work-related.
You can also play “murder mystery” games using video conference apps like Skype or Zoom to encourage interaction with your employees. For a few hours, your staff can pretend to be someone else in a different place, which can help reduce pandemic-induced anxiety.
2. Offer professional development
Offering training and development courses to your remote employees is a good way to recognize their contributions to your company. This will also keep them enthusiastic about working for you.
This can be done through webinars, individual or group mentoring sessions, or in-depth online classes. These courses don’t just help your staff learn new things, but they can also be stepping stones for further career advancement.
Encouraging professional development also shows that you care about your employees, that you see them as more than just people who do routine work from 9 to 5.
3. Encourage peer feedback
Peer feedback is a great way to keep your remote workers connected with one another. It also promotes better collaboration and communication.
According to research and advisory firm Gartner, peer input can boost employee performance by as much as 14%. As work becomes more interdependent, peer input has become an essential part of an effective performance feedback system.
Cloud-based platforms such as Small Improvements can help you gather peer feedback. These tools allow employees to grade their peers based on their effectiveness as a team member, attitude, interpersonal skills, and work performance. Employees can also identify a colleague’s strongest and weakest points. The feedback that employees get from their peers will help keep them motivated and engaged.
4. Allow flexible schedules
Your staff’s home environment isn’t the same as the one in the office, so allowing them to work their preferred shift will help. This allows them to be more productive and flexible with their tasks.
Let’s assume an employee needs to work from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM because of a family-related matter. As long as they can finish their work on time and be on call for the duration of their shift, then allowing schedule flexibility shouldn’t be a problem.
5. Teach time management techniques
Time management is one of the biggest challenges of remote working. Not only does your staff need to finish their office tasks, but household matters can distract them from time to time.
Teach your employees to use techniques that will help them manage their time more efficiently. The Pomodoro technique, for instance, breaks down work into 25-minute intervals and includes breaks in between. Meanwhile, the 80/20 rule encourages employees to focus on important items that will generate the most significant results.
Teaching better time management to your employees not only makes them more productive, but it also shows them that you value their time.
A properly managed IT infrastructure will also keep your employees engaged. USWired’s Fixed Fee Managed Services provides complete support coverage for your network 24/7/365. To learn more about how our services can help your San Jose or San Francisco Bay Area business grow, download our FREE eBook and get in touch with us today.