4 essential steps to boosting remote employee engagement

After weeks of working from their bedrooms, kitchens and lounges – all the while doing their best to maintain their productivity – employees are now gradually returning to the office. But remote working is here to stay, and many have now learned that working from home isn’t as simple as picking up your technology and logging on from home. There are a number of barriers that can impede your employee’s remote working experience, both technological and psychological. To achieve effective remote employee engagement during this time, it’s important to think carefully about how you’re going to navigate them.

Companies still need to produce good, effective and efficient work during the lockdown, so it’s vital to acknowledge what these barriers are and work to tackle them head on. In this blog, we discuss how to do just that.

Enable collaboration

Being awash with high quality video conferencing tools is one of the benefits of the modern workplace. Whether it’s Slack, Zoom or Microsoft Teams – we can now get in touch with our colleagues at the click of a button. Using these tools effectively is key to getting through the difficult lockdown period.

One of the biggest challenges in working remotely is maintaining the same habits and routines that enable productive work when you’re in the office. That includes replicating those quick meetings and five-minute chats over coffee that bring people together and help align priorities. Creating opportunities for video chats is a vital way of achieving remote employee engagement even when we’re all working from our bedrooms and kitchens.

But it’s not just about having meetings to discuss priorities. It’s also important to have some fun with virtual drinks and quizzes, as well as sharing stories, ideas and even funny memes. Catching up isn’t just about having meetings, keeping your company culture alive is equally important during this time.

Measure the experience

If you want to improve remote working productivity in your business, you need to first understand it. That requires an understanding of how satisfied and productive your employees are, as well as how they’re navigating the technical challenges of working remotely.

One of our partners, Nexthink has published a list of helpful content to help get you started with this, including how to open a communication channel with your employees, creating a remote employee experience score and managing technological challenges. The key is to be proactive in understanding the challenges and opportunities your employees face so that you can effectively work to resolve them.

For instance, many workers are finding it difficult to focus and stay productive during this time. Being honest and open about these challenges means that you can work to mitigate them, perhaps implementing companywide ‘focus time’ to give people a break from messages, emails and meetings.

Choosing the right technology

It won’t be a controversial statement to say that some businesses are better suited to remote working than others. The larger and older the business, generally, the more difficult it is to adapt. The challenge for companies is to enable secure remote working that doesn’t infringe on the user experience. The last thing employees need is unnecessary friction in their daily tasks during a time where remote working productivity is already difficult to achieve.

Traditionally, companies have used VPNs to enable secure remote working. But there are a lot of problems with this approach; VPNs aren’t particularly scalable, reliable or easy to use.

As well as this, people often report difficulty connecting to corporate VPNs via their personal devices.

But there are alternatives, including Microsoft DirectAccess, Clientless VPNs, Microsoft Modern Management, and virtual desktops, which we discussed in a recent blog. Zero Trust Architectures are effective in creating an environment that’s secure by design. Whatever the solution, it’s important to take into account the needs of your users whose productivity relies on the technology you enable.

Monitoring adoption

If your company is new to remote working, there’s a good chance you’re using new technology to enable it. And just like with any new type of technology, managing adoption is a key challenge – even when you’re at home. It’s important to make sure you’re proactively encouraging adoption, to ensure everyone has the tools they need to work effectively and productively. So, how do we do this?

A good place to start would be canvassing opinions on how people feel about the new technology, so you can address the concerns. It can also be helpful to appoint a ‘change committee’ or ‘change champions’ to help advocate the benefits of new technology and encourage take up around the company. Many companies also find that it’s helpful to supplement this with training material and helpful tips so that people can feel comfortable using new technology.

The best adoption strategies focus on people, and understanding your people requires communication. Ultimately, the effectiveness of your adoption strategy will depend on how well you can understand their needs and concerns, and how effectively you cater to that through technology.

A proactive approach to remote employee engagement

In the current pandemic, there are plenty of excuses for reducing productivity. But it’s important to try and see the positives, to work hard towards creating a sustainable and productive remote employee engagement strategy that works for everybody. There’s no denying that effective remote work is a challenge, but with positivity, trust and effective communication, we can all make a success of it.

If you want to find out more about transitioning to your new normal of work, get in touch with the team at Deptive today.

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We also have a virtual office in Wellington.

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