Remote workforces: the new employee engagement challenges
June 17, 2019
The face of the modern workplace has changed dramatically over the years, primarily where the pursuit of work-life balance is considered. A healthy quality of life is dependent on balancing career, family, health, and wellness. Flexible schedules and the ability to work remotely are 2 ways in which companies are providing these opportunities for their employees.
Recently Gallup published an article that stated, the results of a study they conducted on "benefits and perks" they found that 37% of employees would switch to a job that allows them to work off-site at least part-time.
Now before you get the idea that working from home is just a perk that benefits the employee, consider that studies have found financial benefits to the company as well. Global Workplace Analytics released their State of Telecommunicating in the US Employee Workforce findings in 2017 and found that employers saved over $11,000 annually, per employee, who worked remotely part of the time. Savings were found mostly in the areas of real estate, absenteeism, and turnover.
Advances in technology have made much of what an employee can do at the office available for them to do anywhere they like; whether it’s at home, at the cottage, or at a local coffee shop. Things like cell phone plans, high-speed availability and cloud-based software have led this revolution, but it's still the desire of the employee that is driving this trend upwards.
Telecommuting amongst full-time employees has increased 140% in a little over a decade! Though this has mostly been the case for companies with more than 500 employees, many small and medium-sized companies are starting to offer this as an option.
As if engaging our workforce wasn't difficult enough, engaging a remote, or dispersed, workforce poses its own set of challenges. What we’ve discovered in conversation with business leaders is that they can struggle with employees that may not be as strongly driven by the company's vision, and are more difficult to motivate than others.
If you currently have employees who sometimes work off-site, or are considering offering remote and/or flexi-hours to your workforce, it is critical to think more strategically on how to involve your workforce in engaging activities that make them still feel connected to the organization.
How do we engage our remote workforces? Here are a few suggestions:
Set up a medium for regular communication
Providing tools in which managers and team members can regularly communicate with each other is key to cultivating a culture of collaboration. We know that a collaborative environment supports employee engagement, and engaged employees provide their best work, no matter where they are located.
Let them create their own schedule
Giving control back to employees to manage their own work schedules lets them fit in the things that matter the most to them. Employees with children, for example, may struggle with pick-up and drop-off schedules for school and sports. Flexible schedules give them the opportunity to balance family and work so they can continue to provide meaningful contributions to the organization.
Recognize their efforts… Publicly!
It's been previously stated that a genuine THANK YOU can go a long way to showing an employee that they are a valued part of the team, but a common problem with employees who aren’t in the office, either regularly, or at all, is their feeling of not “being connected” to their colleagues. This can make recognition difficult or seemingly less effective since there is nobody there to witness it. A modern rewards and recognition program, like Qarrot, can provide the ability to engage and interact with an employee, publicly recognize their efforts, and offer peer-to-peer recognition that is visible in a social feed. This can foster a sense of belonging and create a greater feeling of working together.
Continue to provide learning opportunities
Quite often, simply offering professional training and development can increase an employee’s feeling of importance to a company. When an organization is willing to build the skills and qualifications of their workforce it shows the employee that you truly value their contributions. Modern learning initiatives give management the ability to track what learning content their employees are engaging in, and keeps track of what they accomplish when they are not in the office.
Simplify the process
Qarrot is the all-in-one software solution that makes employee engagement easy, fun and effective with peer-to-peer, milestone, and goal-based recognition. When you use a rewards and recognition program that is visible, transparent, and inclusive, you’ll simplify the process of motivating and engaging your employees, no matter where they are.If you have an established team of telecommuting employees, or are considering offering flexi-schedules, or even if you have a full team of dispersed, remote employees, Qarrot can help eliminate some of the employee engagement challenges.