Boosting Employee Engagement In A Remote-Working World
As the peak threat of COVID to our economies and livelihoods fades, we’ll begin to see life returning to normal. Shops, bars and places of worship will open, enabling people to congregate and allowing many people to return to work. However, for many organizations whose employees turned to home working, there will be no return to the office. Businesses all over the world are embracing a “new normal” which allows for a distributed workforce to interact digitally, leading to reduced infrastructure costs and equal, or better, productivity.
Whilst the novelty of this climate enabled many businesses to maintain their professional standards, as remote work is increasingly normalized employee engagement becomes a prominent concern. How can organizations without direct oversight of their employees keep the workforce engaged and productive? This article will explore the new landscape of a distributed workforce, revealing how businesses can leverage this new corporate culture for an engaged workforce.
Here To Stay
Although governments around the world are encouraging workers to return to the office, attempting to rejuvenate city centres, there are many industries where workers and executives are in agreement – remote work works. In the United States, around three quarters of remote workers report wanting to maintain a practice of working from home even after the global pandemic declines. A Garnter survey of CFOs revealed enthusiasm for remote work at the upper levels of organizations too – 74% of CFOs surveyed intend to integrate remote working practices into their long term business model
Remote working is here to stay. “The upshot of this is an increased recruitment pool and reduced infrastructure costs,” says Emily Bates, a business writer at Writemyx.com and 1day2write.com, “but many businesses are rightly concerned about employee engagement in a post-office world.” Here are the new rules of engagement, letting you leverage remote work without losing your employee’s proficient touch.
Embracing Video Technology
When it comes to employee engagement, creativity and collaboration are hugely important values. A bustling office is abuzz with ideas and communication creates a constant ebb and flow of collaboration amongst employees. In the absence of these watercooler moments of creation, organizations need to embrace new technology, especially video, which enables these values to thrive in a remote working world.
When organizations first transitioned to remote working a year ago, video conferencing was often an afterthought. Employees felt more comfortable chatting, with screens off. With this in mind, work-from-home often became work-from-bed. Building a video-first culture encourages employee engagement on multiple levels – first, it requires a minimum level of professionality that forms the foundation for inspiring meetings. Secondly, by speaking face to face and experiencing the fullness of human interaction, we communicate better. Body language and facial expressions are key to understanding, so across the company it’s vital that cameras are on in meetings.
Building On Diversity And Inclusivity
Diversity and inclusivity aren’t just buzzwords. Whilst some organizations are only just catching up with these values, often led by government initiatives and legal mandates, the impact of a diverse workforce that includes multiple voices can often be seen on the bottom line.
Diversity has a great impact on employee engagement. By welcoming a broad range of voices, organizations can incentivize workers to listen to each other thanks to the variety of opinions and ideas in the mix. Organizations that make diversity and inclusivity centralized values also find it possible to grow empathy across their workforce, something that leads to boosted morale and greater understanding between hierarchies. “As work and home-life become conflated, managing schedules, childcare and even technological connections become complicated and interwoven,” says Melanie J. Bennett, a recruiter at Originwritings.com and Britstudent.com. “In this new climate, the growth of empathy as a business value will be essential to ensuring employees remain committed and engaged to their professional roles.”
The shift to remote work allows businesses and employees to perceive a quid pro quo that can promote productivity and engagement without cost. As employees feel valued and respected in their own choices about work-life balance, they’ll become increasingly committed to their work. Organizations can further leverage this by encouraging employees to work together in collaborative ways. Keeping employees engaged in a digital working world can be improved by creating dynamic teams, working together to solve problems. Remote working can be isolating, so combatting this effect will keep employees engaged.
Whether it’s Teams or Zoom, we have quickly built up a new vocabulary for how organizations bring people together. By embracing digital technology, organizations can ensure their workforce remains passionately engaged. Further, the potential for leveraging values such as diversity and inclusivity grows when your recruitment pool becomes global. Cross-cultural innovations, minority voices and a melting pot of ideas can create a vibrant working environment even through computer screens. Remote work doesn’t have to be disengaged – embrace the new normal and you can see productivity grow.