6 Tips to Engage Remote Employees

Methods to engage remote employees has become a hot topic of conversation following the pandemic. With COVID-19 protocols tapering out, employers in the US and around the world are looking for new and innovative ways to engage their remote employees.

Blog Author - Janelle Watson
Janelle Watson
Feb 13, 20245 minutes
Blog Author - Janelle Watson
Janelle Watson

Janelle Watson provides content marketing for the international team at Justworks. With a background in higher education and journalism, Janelle helps tell stories that make international expansion and EOR accessible.

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A report by Owl Lab states that 56% of workers in the United States believe that working from home is better suited for their needs. However, some employees still report that they find themselves lonely when it comes to workplace connections. 


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What is remote engagement? 

Many workers enjoy working from home, but find themselves lacking in face-to-face connections – especially with their employers, co-workers, managers, and leadership.  Working from home provides many benefits, including saving time and money on commuting, having more flexibility to complete tasks, feeling more comfortable while working, and the ability to choose where to live and work.

Although working from home proves to have many benefits, some work from home employees say they miss the connections with their company, which depend on loyalty, commitment, and emotional safety. Some businesses choose to have their employees work partially in the office and then work a few days from home, otherwise known as a hybrid model. 

The ongoing popularity of remote work means that top candidates expect some flexibility in their work arrangements. Some candidates are turning down new roles that require commuting to an office. 

How to gauge remote employee engagement

Engaging remote employees all boils down to communication. Have you ever had an employer who didn’t recognize or take the time to sit down and congratulate you on your performance? It can feel isolating. Ensuring that managers and HR communicate with fellow employees consistently can boost productivity, organizational confidence, and self-confidence.   

How to engage remote employees

Although it’s important for employers and managers to give constructive criticism when it’s due, only focusing on the negative, especially for remote workers, will likely lower their morale. One of the best ways to keep remote employees engaged is to simply take the time to video conference with them every week and discuss how they’re feeling or answer questions. This allows remote employees to stay connected, instead of what often happens: remote employees are unclear of what their weekly, monthly, or quarterly expectations are.

Employers who embrace remote work also need to think about some productive ways to engage these remote employees. 

Here are six tips to help you engage remote employees and foster connections in the work from home environment, including best practices for team building. 

Tip 1: Encourage health and wellness

Everyone wants to feel good about their job. 

Prioritizing remote employees wellness is one the main steps in making sure they are engaged at work. Don’t make employees feel like they have to work through an illness. Make sure that on top of offering sick days, you are also providing vacation days and paid time off. Some employers even require mandatory days for mental health. 

Another great way to encourage employee wellness is to make sure that they take mindful breaks throughout the day to eat or go outside. Think about starting incentive programs for cooking a healthy meal or starting a wellness program. Yoga, weekly walks, and workout programs are especially popular. 

By making health and wellness a focus in remote employees' everyday lives, you are not only encouraging them to take care of themselves, but you are allowing them to be in the best mental state to complete their daily work and tasks. 

Tip 2: Host virtual meetings with a purpose

Have you heard of Zoom fatigue? Even if you haven’t, it’s probably affecting your employees.

Instead of forcing employees to sit through unnecessary video calls and web conferences, make sure that each of your meetings has a specific purpose. Most employees know the parameters of their job, so forcing them to sit through meetings that could have been an email can make it harder to focus. 

Try to avoid creating a single meeting to solve every minor issue. Only having one-on-one meetings with your employees to discuss performance can make anxiety levels high. 

If an employee is doing well, try to set up individual meetings to offer them praise. This makes employees less anxious about having their voice heard, empowering them to address any problems or confusion that may arise during their employment. 

Tip 3: Find fun ways to engage remote employees

In addition to hosting purposeful meetings,  try setting up optional digital happy hours or group meetings for your employees that are not work related. This could be as easy as a virtual happy hour,  encouraging employees to focus on their wellness through group yoga, or hosting virtual trivia and group games. 

By encouraging your employees to get to know each other outside of work, even in a remote setting, you will make it easier for them to feel comfortable when they need to work together on projects and in groups. 

Tip 4: Make employees feel valued and heard

Some employees may feel that  their opinions and ideas aren’t heard in a physical office setting. This can be especially true for remote workers. 

Try to remember the little details about them like their birthday or work anniversary. Send them virtual thank you cards, schedule a team call to celebrate their success, or even mail them a simple gift

Always leave room for your employees to contact you across communication channels such as email and Slack. Miscommunications are a huge reason that employees are afraid to voice their concerns or questions to their employer. Make yourself available to them, and when they express an issue, take the necessary steps to make sure the problem is resolved. 

Tip 5: Be flexible with time and scheduling

Try to avoid wasting employees' time with unnecessary busy work in order to fill their entire day. If an employee finishes their work early, don’t try to make them do another task to end their day that wasn’t already assigned. Give your remote workforce time to rest and recharge outside of their day to day tasks.  

Giving employees the option to be flexible with their schedule allows them to have a proper work/life balance like taking lunch or exercise breaks in the afternoon, or being able to run an errand before they have to be home with their families. If employees are able to finish work at their own pace, they will feel that you are valuing their work-life balance and not trying to fill their days with unnecessary tasks. 

Tip 6: Avoid micromanaging 

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, avoid micromanaging your employees. Set up regular personal one-on-one meetings and be available through email if any concerns arise, but don’t force employees to explain everything that they're doing throughout the day. 

Create shared virtual spaces for employees to discuss challenges, such as a daily or weekly standup. In an office setting, employees are able to forge connections between each other in-person and ask simple questions. Collaboration between employees is extremely important and can give new angles to projects.

Creating a safe space for employees to bounce ideas off of one another takes some of the pressure off you as the employer, and helps your virtual team solve problems together to form new ideas and opinions. In the long term, this fosters opportunities for individual and company growth. 

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What is the best way to engage remote employees? 

Some of the best ways to engage remote employees are: focus on health and wellness, host virtual meetings and casual hangouts, make employees feel seen and heard, and ensure that you are flexible with working hours. 

How do you engage employees in a virtual environment? 

Prioritizing remote employee engagement is key. To engage employees in a virtual environment, you need to make sure that they still have some of the same key experiences and connections that they would at a job that is in-office. 

How do you motivate and engage remote employees? 

To engage remote employees, set aside time to chat with them one-on-one. Fostering collaboration for your remote team. Most importantly, allow your employees to adapt and grow. 

Why is remote employee engagement important? 

Remote employee engagement is important because it helps with enhancing company culture, especially for businesses with hybrid models and distributed teams. Employees that feel engaged while they work remotely feel connected to their company’s values and want to perform the best at their everyday duties.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.
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Written By
Blog Author - Janelle Watson
Janelle Watson
Feb 13, 20245 minutes

Janelle Watson provides content marketing for the international team at Justworks. With a background in higher education and journalism, Janelle helps tell stories that make international expansion and EOR accessible.

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