Remote workers are becoming more common with every passing year. According to Bussiness Insider, by 2020, about 50 percent of all employees will be working remotely.1 That means in the very near future, half of your employees could be working from their homes, local coffee shops and community shared workspaces.
This trend of working outside of the office can have a positive effect on your workforce and organization. It can help your employees achieve a healthy life-work balance, improve their job satisfaction and even boost their productivity by 13 percent.2 But, there are downsides to managing remote workers.
Because they’re not physically in the office with their team, remote workers often feel less engaged and connected to their company, which can hurt productivity and performance.3 But, there are steps you can take to let your remote employees know they are an integral part of your company—no matter the distance or time zone difference between you and them.
At WebMD Health Services, we do everything we can to make our remote workers feel like they’re part of the team. We include them in morning stand up’s, involve them in important conversations, invite them to company happy hours and more.
To help you make your remote employees feel like they’re a part of your company, I’ve listed the top three ways to keep your remote workers connected and engaged.
1. Keep every employee in the know.
Remote employees want the same things as on-site employees—they want to be included, appreciated and recognized. But at many organizations, it’s out of sight, out of mind when it comes to remote workers. They are often left out of important announcements, don’t receive proper acknowledgment for their achievements and more.
To help your remote workers feel satisfied with their job, make an extra effort to keep them updated on the day-to-day happenings at your business. As you create your communications plan make sure you give consideration to those employees outside of the office. This e-book, Well-Being Program Communications, is a great resource for anyone looking to implement or improve their communications strategy.
2. Connect with social tech.
In almost any modern office, you’ll see employees collaborating, chatting and holding conferences—all through their computers. With today’s technology, all it takes is a few clicks and you can easily communicate in real-time with an employee working from the other side of the world.
But think beyond just using video chat. You can take advantage of social media sites like Facebook to create group discussions. Use instant messaging programs to communicate with remote workers on the fly. Or, use organizational software to provide feedback and easily collaborate with your remote team.
3. Bond over well-being.
Your well-being program can be a great way for employees to connect. At WebMD, we include team-based challenges in our well-being program, which gives employees an opportunity to bond. For example, we hold “The Invitational,” where employees create teams and compete with each other to see which team can track the most steps over a certain period of time. See how well-being challenges can encourage people to take steps toward better and ongoing well-being with this e-book.
You can also create online communities and discussion boards about health topics. It will give your employees a chance to share recipes, workout tips, stress management techniques and other well-being advice, which could help build rapport between your remote and on-site workers and encourage healthy behaviors.
Build a connected remote workforce.
When you have employees who are on the opposite side of the globe, it can be difficult to make them feel like they’re truly a part of the same team. But as working remotely become the norm instead of the exception, it’s more important than ever to make sure you have a clear plan for connecting every one of your employees. It could be the difference between a team that is disconnected and unproductive, and one that’s in-synch and on the top of their game.