As easy as it might be to get distracted at work, it can be even easier to be such when you’re a remote worker. Thanks to new online tools, remote workers are able to stay more engaged when they are physically present elsewhere. With the right strategy in place, a workplace environment can be replicated online to make remote workers feel more connected to the rest of their team.
Trello, Asana, and Slack are only three of the many project management tool options out there to choose from. The most important aspect of project management tools in any business is to select one comprehensive tool to give employees working remotely a strong, effective link to the main office.
Most of these tools allow for real-time chat communication and document sharing capabilities, so progress can be discussed and uploaded all in one place. For tasks and projects that include multiple workers, group chats can be set up to keep everyone in the loop.
To maintain engagement, remote workers can assign themselves to tasks that are uploaded to the project management tool, so supervisors know who is handling specific tasks and deadlines. This also gives employees an opportunity to take on tasks that utilize their strengths to feel more fulfilled with their work.
Having consistent one-on-one meetings with remote workers should be a priority. A weekly check-in meeting can increase their feeling of belonging to their work and that their needs as employees can be met. Ideally, remote workers could travel to attend weekly meetings in person, but that would take away from time spent working on other tasks.
Phone calls are useful, but video conferencing is more valuable because it best simulates an in-person meeting. Being able to see each other allows for non-verbal cues to be seen and provides accountability to be in a proper workplace.
It’s crucial these meetings be meaningful for both parties. It’s as important to discuss accomplishments as it is to go over areas of improvements. If an employee is missing deadlines, it needs to be addressed. For remote workers who are showing stellar performance, they should be praised.
There’s a good chance your chosen project management tool has a mobile app version. This is great for remote workers who travel to stay connected with the main office when they’re not in their home office. However, for those who are workaholics, it may create additional urgency if they are contacted outside their scheduled work hours.
Encourage your remote workers to practice work/life balance and respect their off-the-clock time. Your employees will be more engaged during work hours knowing they can enjoy their off time free of work-related interruption. If they need to work additional hours to meet any deadlines, it should be a discussion to show their time is appreciated.
If you require daily or weekly reports from remote workers, have a section where they can freely express their personal wellness. This section can allow them to let their supervisor know if they are feeling stressed with their workload, have reflected on ways to communicate more effectively, and other ideas that can make them the best employee possible.
To keep remote employees feeling connected to their counterparts in the main office, simulating the office culture is essential. Be sure to include remote workers in any extracurricular activities taking place in the office. Send them links to fundraisers taking place and add time for physical activity to their calendar if you allow in-office employees to do this.