If you want to boost employee engagement, one group of people you can talk to is remote workers. They’re more engaged than their on-site colleagues, according to the 350,000 respondents from Gallup’s State of the American Workplace survey.
Telecommuting definitely has some unique advantages that contribute to this advantage. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s time to buy a laptop and a headset for each of your employees. If remote work doesn’t fit your company, or if your workers aren’t interested in it, that’s okay. Here are five ways you can get the benefits even if you don’t use the actual practice.
1. Give them time: One thing remote workers don’t have to do is spend hours of their day in meetings. It can be easy to call a meeting for every single discussion that comes up when you’re in the office, but if your employees are in different locations, you have to think more carefully before you call them in. Use that same level of thoughtfulness for your on-site workers. Ask yourself if the meeting you’re about to schedule is really necessary, or if the issue can be tackled another way. And if you do need the meeting, keep them quick and painless.
2. Give them the tools: Telecommuting requires technology, whether it’s a smartphone or software for long-distance collaboration. While employees in the office might not need the exact same tools, they’ll appreciate a commitment from you to get them what they need for their job.
3. Give them autonomy: Remote workers have the ability to decide where to do their work (and, if they have flexible schedules, when to do it). All of your employees should be able to manage their own work. Let them determine the best way to take care of their responsibilities. If they have control over their work, they’ll feel more personal ownership.
4. Give them trust: When your employee isn’t in the same office as you, then you can’t watch over their shoulder—you have to trust them to get their work done. On-site employees will appreciate getting the same trust. There’s no need to micromanage, regardless of where your employees are.
5. Give them respect: Working off-site (especially with a flexible schedule) makes it easier to handle personal needs, such as picking up the kids, going to the doctor, or taking classes for additional training. Acknowledging the whole person like this is respectful and will make your employees feel more valued.
When it comes to employee engagement, it helps to think outside the box. Engaging remote workers might look different from engaging people in the office, but you can still capture the same benefits.