Looking for ACTIONABLE ideas to engage your employees who are (suddenly) working from home? Discover great remote employee engagement ideas! All of them are very easy and completely free to implement.
Remote work playbook
Setting clear expectations is the first thing you need to do if you want to ensure high engagement among your employees who are working from home. Do your employees know exactly what is expected of them while they work from home?
To make that clear for all your employees, you should institute a remote work policy or so-called “remote work playbook”. This is a document that explains how your company implements remote work.
Remote work playbook should provide clear guidelines for:
1- Working hours
Do you have strict working hours or you allow your employees to work whenever they want? At what time of the day should your employees be available online and through which channels?
2- Regular (online) meetings
Do you have some regular daily, weekly or monthly meetings your employees should attend?
3- Communication channels
What communication channels and tools do you use? Do you use different communication channels and tools for different purposes?
4- Troubleshooting: you must have someone for your employees to turn back to him if they face any problems
Regular check-ins with your employees are a must when you’re working remotely. Regular check-ins will ensure that your remote teams are on the same page regarding their work duties. However, these meetings have additional value – they will create a sense of togetherness.
The best practice is to have a daily team or department check-ins, weekly coordination meetings and monthly all-hands meetings. Make sure your team leaders also keep their regular one-on-one meetings as well.
You can choose to have these meetings via messenger, chat or speaking face-to-face on a video call – whatever works best for your team.
However, make sure that you have at least some of your check-in meetings via video conferencing tools, with your cameras ON. Nothing can replace the human connection that is formed by looking someone in the eye – even if it is only via video conferencing!
Online knowledge sharing sessions
According to scientific research, knowledge sharing significantly and positively affects employee engagement. Knowledge sharing among employees enables them to grow at both person and group level, thus driving productivity and innovation.
Knowledge sharing in the workplace is the process of sharing expertise, information and skills among employees in a company. This process happens relatively spontaneously when employees are working side by side, but when employees are working remotely, you need to put in some effort to structure it.
Here are a few good practices that will help you start online knowledge sharing sessions:
- Mentoring program
- Webinar watching
- Book club
- Problem-solving workshops
- Discussion group
- Monthly presentation or a talk.
Building and maintaining strong employee engagement can be challenging when you have remote employees – especially if they’re not used to remote work. Your remote employees might be facing different challenges, but you won’t know about them unless you ask.
It is not likely your remote employees will feel your daily stand up meetings are an appropriate place to address their concerns. Since face to face time is relatively rare and valuable in the remote working setting, you won’t have the opportunity to see if your remote employees are dealing with some work-related issues.
This is why you should conduct periodic engagement surveys regularly! Try sending out these surveys at least once a month. That way, you’ll be able to compare results and see if there are any changes or issues that need to be tackled.
Here a few engagement questions for remote employees you should definitely include in your survey:
- What do you think could help us to improve daily communication?
- Do you feel like you can easily reach your colleagues when you need them?
- How can we help you improve your work from home experience?
- Are you happy with your productivity level?
- What is the biggest challenge you are currently facing while working remotely?
The most important part of conducting employee engagement surveys is to act on them! Check in with your remote employee who is experiencing challenges and make a plan to successfully tackle those challenging issues.