There’s a lot of research out there that says remote workers tend to be happier than their peers who are bound to desks in their office. But just because that may be true in the aggregate doesn’t necessarily mean all of your remote workers automatically love their jobs.
There are a number of reasons why certain remote workers may not like their jobs. For starters, as anyone who’s ever done it before will tell you, working from home can feel quite isolating. Beyond that, when remote workers don’t designate specific office spaces in their homes, their work and lives can blend together completely. Relaxation becomes impossible. The list goes on.
So how can you tell whether your remote workers are happy or miserable? Your remote are engaged if they are:
01. Getting a ton of things done
When workers are happy, they’re engaged with their work — which means they’re productive. It’s not uncommon for remote workers to get more things done than their in-office peers. If you notice a remote worker’s output starts to dip, you may have a problem.
02. Responding to messages quickly
Do you have a remote worker who takes forever to respond to your emails and instant messages? If so, you have to wonder whether that person is at their computer as often as they need to be. On the other hand, when employees answer your questions in near real time, odds are they’re engaged with their work.
03. Brainstorming ideas to improve the company
If a remote worker is always coming up with ways to improve processes or ideas for new initiatives, chances are they’re happy. When an employee just does the bare minimum, they’re probably not too thrilled with their current situation.
Do you think your remote workers are unhappy? If so, not all hope is lost. There are a number of ways you can increase their engagement, including:
01. Investing in professional development
Today’s employees are extremely interested in career development. But according to our Engagement Report, only 25% of workers say their companies offer enough learning opportunities. Just because your remote employees aren’t in the office doesn’t mean you can’t invest in their development.
02. Using collaboration platforms
If you’re not using a collaboration platform, you have only yourself to blame for disengaged remote workers. Invest in such a service, and your remote employees will be able to communicate with their coworkers in real time via instant message, voice calls, and video conferences.
03. Scheduling in-person team-building events
If proximity allows it, schedule regular team get-togethers. Plan a dinner. Host a happy hour. Go on a field trip. Make sure your employees are getting together with one another in the flesh as often as is sensible. That’s the ticket to camaraderie.
04. Letting them unplug
Just because your employees are working from home doesn’t mean they have to be available 24 hours a day. Respect each team member’s personal lives. Don’t send after-hours emails and expect immediate responses.
Remote workers who are managed correctly are very likely to be more engaged and, therefore, more productive than employees who are forced to head to the office every day. Equip your remote workers with the tools, resources, and support they need to be successful, and your company will be able to serve its customers that much better.