Evans Incorporated

Engaging Remote Employees

Thrive in Five
As the world gets smaller and smaller, our work force spreads wider and wider. Remote work is becoming increasingly popular with new technology with the trend towards more flexible working environments, but this begs the question, “What’s the best way to engage with remote employees?”

This Thrive in Five lays out the top tips for helping your distant employees feel like part of the team.

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Expand your Community!

We read as many articles as we could, and we pulled out the themes from all the tips and strategies for engaging employees. We’ve ordered from most prevalent to least!

  • Build Relationships! No matter who you are – introvert or extrovert – people like to be cared about. Ask how they’re doing and genuinely mean it. Remote employees often don’t have the luxury of the water cooler chat, so build in time in your meetings to have some lighter conversation.
  • Communicate! It’s no surprise that this is a top theme we uncovered. Communication is key to engagement, remote employees or not. Employees need a platform to speak and be heard, and need to be given the appropriate amount of information and resources – not too little and not too much.
  • Focus on the work instead of the when. One of the big advantages of being a remote employee is having more autonomy in how and when you do your work. If you’re a manager of someone remote, promote this instead of micromanaging. If employees can work how they want and when they want, they are usually happier and more engaged.
  • Check in frequently. While you want to allow for autonomy and flexibility, you don’t want to leave remote employees on an island, either! Regular check-ins to see how things are going, answer questions, and address concerns are critical for staying engaged with any employee.
  • Use technology. “Face-to-Face” time doesn’t have to be in person. A video chat (yes, where you actually see the other person) is a good substitute for making that connection. You can also use technology to create a platform for project plans, communication, time management and more. Check out the options and see what works best for everyone on the team.
  • Reward good work. All good work should be rewarded. This could be as simple as saying, “Great job!” Or you could give a little extra with a spot bonus, “Employee of the Month” award, or some Paid Time Off to let them catch their breath after working so hard.
  • Keep a connection with the company. Remote employees, just like local employees, are usually more engaged if they see their impact in the big picture. Provide resources and have frequent discussions about how work is connected to the overall organizational goals. Employees who understand the impact of their work and buy in to their role in the company’s success are going to be your most engaged employees.
  • Eyes on the prize! Set goals, set milestones to those goals, and don’t lose sight! Of course, you should re-adjust as needed, but having something to work towards and hitting milestones along the way is motivating to most! Celebrate the smaller successes to boost engagement and continue the drive towards the bigger goal.

You might notice something interesting about all these tips… They work for any employee, not just the remote ones! Be active about touching base and about getting and giving feedback about what’s working and what isn’t.

Apply the Five!

Depending on your role in the remote, working relationship, we have two different “Apply the Five’s” for you:

Do you manage a remote employee?

Set a time to chat with your employee about what’s working and what’s not.

    1. Do they feel like part of the team/company?
    2. What do they like about remote work?
    3. What don’t they like?
    4. Which remote practices do they want to keep doing?
    5. What do they want to change?
Are you a remote employee?

Make a list of three things.

    1. Which remote practices do you want to continue doing?
    2. Which do you want to stop?
    3. What do you want to start doing?

Get some time with your manager to talk about your list, and see how you can both improve the remote work environment.

We’d like to take a moment to acknowledge that remote work is a two-way street. It is the manager’s responsibility to make an effort to connect with their remote employees and check in, and it is the employee’s responsibility to speak up if something isn’t working or they feel disengaged. If both parties take responsibility for their roles, the remote work environment can be a very successful one!

Learn How Evans Thrives!

What better way to inspire you to thrive than to hear about real people making it happen? And what better way to learn about Evans than to make those real people Evans employees and partners?

Meet Joe Kovack!

Joe and his wife Diane catching the sunset at the lake.

I began my professional career as an Air Traffic Control Specialist in Colorado and after my retirement, joined the remote workforce supporting a client in New Jersey. Before my career change, my experience telecommuting was sparse – a week or two working on a project that required remote work was about it. After my job change, I was a little worried about being able to connect with the company community and culture, but in the past couple of years, I’ve learned a lot about how to stay engaged and inspired as a full-time, remote worker.

In my situation, I try to make the most of the time difference by enjoying the two hours of silence in the morning since I’m on Mountain time and my client is on the East Coast. Getting off early and spending some time outside is an amazing reward for waking up at 5 am to do the virtual commute in the morning darkness. I believe that remote employees can be a contributor to the culture in office. Although there are some things that will be out of your reach, there are many other ways to help out virtually.

Here are some tips for staying engaged while working remotely:

  • Stay connected – Technology is your friend, remember to use the tools, such as Skype, IM, etc.
  • Set up a dedicated workspace – Try to keep it functional and FUN.
  • Make the time zone work for you – “The early bird catches the worm.”
  • Set up regular meetings with leadership – it keeps you sharp and engaged.
  • Respond quickly – To the extent possible, be “virtually onsite”.

Until Next Time…
Evans’ Talent Engagement Team
(Kaitlin Hurley and Nicole Anderson)

Employees thrive when they are involved, mentored, challenged, promoted, paid well, appreciated, valued, on a mission, empowered, and trusted.
(This image was adapted from a commonly shared internet image.)

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