Is Remote Working Here To Stay?
Global companies are still fighting the issue of whether or not to put an end to working from home. A recent survey conducted by Envoy, shows that 80% of employers regret their initial return to office decisions. This research highlights that employers who force employees to return to office are more likely to experience turnover issues than those who don’t.
According to the Forbes Remote Work Statistics in 2023, 12.7% of full-time employees work from home, while 28.2% work on a hybrid model. This shows a rapid normalization of remote work environments.
Additionally, upwork predicts that by 2025, 22% of the American workforce will be working remotely. This prediction suggests a continuous and gradual shift towards remote work environments.
Given the facts, it is safe to assume that remote work has become the norm for most companies, and it doesn't seem to change any time soon.
Fostering Team Building And Employee Engagement In A Remote Work Environment
This trend of working from home has brought with it the need to foster team building and employee engagement differently from traditional office setups and employee interactions. The workplace culture is evolving, and it is in the hands of employers to ensure that the change does not hurt the productivity of the company or the satisfaction of the employees. To effectively build and maintain your remote team, it's essential to adopt team building techniques and proper communication channels that create a sense of engagement and collaboration among the team members regardless of the distance. Here are some useful tips to implement.
Schedule regular team meetings and check-ins.
Working remotely can sometimes feel isolating, and it's easy for employees to disengage from the rest of the team. Scheduling regular meetings for employees to update on their progress, discuss challenges, or celebrate wins is essential. This way, everyone feels accountable and connected to the team's goals.
However, managing a remote team can tempt you to micro-manage by always checking in and scheduling numerous meetings. All of this communication can either improve employee productivity or lead to frustration all around. Therefore, it is important to keep meetings short and focused. You could also include some icebreaker activities or informal chats to help break the monotony.
Utilize virtual team-building activities and collaborative work.
You can also promote mental health and engagement by incorporating team-building activities that employees can do remotely. Games, virtual challenges, and team quizzes are some activities that can help bring employees together, promote creativity and collaboration, and boost motivation and morale. You can also organize online retreats, happy hours, or product demos to keep employees motivated and engaged. A motivated employee is better than a skilled employee without passion or enthusiasm.
Additionally, it is important to engage employees to work in teams by assigning team projects that require them to work together towards a common goal.
Provide opportunities for employee training and development.
Investing in your remote employees' training and development is one way to show that you care about their progress and professional growth. Encouraging your team to learn new skills, take online courses, or participate in industry experts' webinars will elevate their confidence and boost productivity. You could even create a mentorship program where seasoned employees can guide and coach new hires.
Empowerment and Autonomy
Empower remote employees by giving them ownership of their tasks and projects. Offering autonomy cultivates a sense of responsibility and trust, leading to increased engagement. Regular check-ins and feedback sessions can guide their efforts, ensuring alignment with company goals while allowing them to take ownership of their work.
Transparent Goal Setting
Clear goal setting is crucial in a remote work setup. Objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Transparently communicate these goals, track progress, and celebrate milestones as a team. This shared purpose keeps employees engaged and aligned with the organization's trajectory.
Flexible Work Hours
One of the primary benefits of remote work is the flexibility it offers. Respect the diverse schedules of remote employees, taking into consideration time zone differences and personal commitments. Allowing flexibility in work hours demonstrates empathy and can lead to increased job satisfaction and commitment.
Flexibility in work hours is also backed by the recent initiative taken by the UAE Federal Authority for Government Human Resources [FAHR]. This initiative aims to improve the quality of life of employees, and improve levels of job satisfaction. This policy is called the ‘Back to school’ policy which is targeted mostly at parents who work by giving them flexible work hours allowing them to attend to the needs of their children.
Initiatives as the above fosters employee satisfaction which in turn has a positive impact on employee engagement and productivity.
Regular Feedback and Recognition
Feedback is an essential component of growth and improvement. Regularly provide constructive feedback to remote employees, focusing on both their accomplishments and areas for improvement. Additionally, acknowledge their efforts through public recognition or private appreciation. Feeling valued boosts morale and engagement.
The remote work revolution has reshaped the way we work, introducing new challenges and opportunities. By embracing digital tools, fostering a strong company culture, organizing virtual team-building activities, empowering employees, providing growth opportunities, offering flexible work hours, and consistently giving feedback, organizations can foster team building and maintain high levels of employee engagement, regardless of physical distance. In this era of remote work, adaptability, creativity, and a genuine concern for employees' well-being will be the cornerstones of a successful and engaged remote workforce.