How to Create Team Engagement in a Remote Environment
As a general rule, most remote workers value the ability to work independently. They appreciate being given a task and then being given the space in order to complete it. That doesn’t mean that your remote workforce doesn’t want to interact with each other or prefers working in a bubble rather than having a connection to their colleagues.
That’s why it’s important for management to create team engagement in a remote environment. Here’s how:
1. Lead by example.
Sure, you want your team to be together and tight-knit. But if you’re holed up in your office all the time (virtual or otherwise) and don’t make an effort to bond with your team, you can’t expect them to bond with each other, either.
So take the time to connect with your members, both on a professional and personal level. Find out their birthdays and anniversaries and send them something to commemorate the day. Chances are, if your team feels connected with you, they’ll be more willing to connect with each other.
2. Make meaning.
Yes, business is designed to make profits, but all that can become meaningless if there’s no heart behind it. See how your company can tie its efforts to a non-profit organization so that everyone benefits—including your workers who will feel connected to a higher purpose beyond dollars and cents.
3. Empower your workers.
Everyone likes to have a little autonomy at times. After all, who wants a micromanaging boss breathing down their neck, not allowing them to do their work?
Train and nurture your staff to not only do their job well, but to anticipate how to handle a potential problem should it occur and you’re not available. That way, they will be able to make informed decisions on their own, and it will help create team engagement as well as a sense of unity among your workers.
4. Motivate, not castigate.
It can be hard for remote workers to stay motivated when they lack a real connection to their colleagues and the company as a whole. That’s why it’s important to motivate your workers and applaud them when they do well.
If a mistake is made, look for ways to create solutions together, rather than punish, which can only isolate your worker further. Positive interactions with management and fellow team members will help strengthen bonds between workers and help boost employee motivation.
5. Show the connection.
Remote workers might feel like they’re working in a bubble, especially if their interactions with other coworkers is limited. So make sure that you take the time to set your team up for success by implementing a wide variety of communication tools that suit every remote worker’s taste.
You might offer Google Hangouts or HipChat for instant messaging, Sococo for a feeling of being in a real office, or Yammer to provide a fun portal for colleagues to communicate. But beyond fostering communication for remote teams, you need to show each and every member of your team how important their job is—not only to the company, but also to each other.
Once they see how their job connects to other workers (and the team as a whole) they will, in turn, feel more connected, too.
6. Disseminate information.
You can’t expect to create team engagement when workers feel disconnected from top-level management. That’s why it’s critical to share company information as soon as possible, so that workers are always abreast of all the latest goings-on with the company—from mergers and acquisitions to new product launches.
When workers are being informed of new company initiatives, they will feel respected, and in turn, become more productive, show a stronger engagement with each other, and feel a sense of pride working for their organization.
It might seem like a huge undertaking to foster a sense of engagement among remote workers, but managers should be up for the challenge. Being accessible, offering information consistently and quickly, plus empowering your workers are just a few ways to create not only an engaged team, but a happy, productive one as well.
By Jennifer Parris | July 15, 2016 | Categories: Remote Management