The State of the Remote Workforce
Working remotely, or telecommuting, is not a trend that will soon pass, it is here to stay. The number of remote working professionals increases each and every year. In 2018, the International Workplace Group (IWG), found that 70% of professionals work remotely at least one day a week and 53% work remotely for at least half of the week. This study surveyed 18,000 business professionals across 96 international companies, focusing on full-time employees rather than the self-employed or contractors. In the 2019 IWG Global Workspace Survey, it was discovered that globally, 62% of organizations have a flexible workspace policy and 77% said they believe this policy helps them attract and retain top talent. Of those organizations, 85% reported that productivity has increased as a direct result of greater workspace flexibility.
Though working remotely has many benefits for both employees and employers, there are some challenges. According to a 2019 report by Buffer, remote workers struggle with unplugging from their work, staying motivated, loneliness, communicating and collaborating. Keeping your remote workforce engaged may just be the solution to all of that, though.
Keeping a Remote Workforce Engaged
- Improve Communication: A strong communication strategy is key to keeping any employee engaged, but especially those who work remotely. De Luca recommends using a chat program, such as Slack or Hangouts, to make chatting and keeping in touch with teammates easier. It is also important to schedule regular calls and video meetings. This will not only help the employee schedule out their day, but also help hold them to their goals for the day.
- Facilitate Interaction and Participation: For the best employee experience, it’s important to encourage remote workers to interact with more people than just the people they work with directly. Consider renting a few desks in a communal workspace so employees can get out of the house, collaborate, and feel a sense of belonging. As employees progress and grow, be sure to assign them more responsibly. This shows them they are valued and keeps them motivated. Last but not least, set up some extra circular activities! Whether it’s something small like a book club or a fantasy football league, or something grand, like a yearly retreat, activities like these go a long way to helping all employees feel involved and connected.
- Show Appreciation: We’ve written an article in the past about the importance of showing appreciation, and this is even more true when it comes to remote workers. With remote workers, it is important to make appreciation feel personalized. This will help strengthen the relationship between an employee and employer, and show employees they are truly valued. De Luca suggests having new remote employees fill out a “get to know me” survey with questions about their hometown, hobbies, interests, favorite candy, etc. Later on, you can use the answers to this survey to help you choose a personalized reward. Another way to show appreciation is to provide customized benefits specially for remote workers or create a budget that goes to improving remote workers’ home offices.
Engaged employees are not only more proactive, but they are happier and more involved. By following these tips, you can help improve your remote workers’ experience as well as improve the overall success of your organization. Click here for more information!