Keeping a Remote Team Engaged Is the Key to Long-term Success

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Businesses rarely adopt new technologies quickly. The internet had been around for years before it became standard practice to have a company website. Now, companies are embracing the digital frontier. They have a social media presence and list themselves on a business directory app. Many even pay to have their own apps developed.

Remote work has encountered the same resistance over the years. Owing to the pandemic, many businesses are only now figuring out how to make it work for their employees.

Some people find it a perfect fit for what they do and how they work. Others feel isolated or have difficulties in communication, collaboration, and overall productivity.

If remote work is the future, even after the coronavirus has been contained, how do we work around the potential drawbacks? The key to solving this problem might lie in keeping your remote workforce engaged.

Engagement from the employee’s perspective

The term ‘employee engagement’ is often bandied about among companies and between leaders. ; People know it’s good to have engaged employees. But no one seems to agree on a clear definition of what it is or how to achieve it.

Being engaged makes people care about what they are doing and the organization they work for. They will exert discretionary effort because they are invested in the success of the collective.

The problem stems from the fact that organizations tend to view engagement in terms of outcomes. They think only of how it benefits them. From the point of view of the employees themselves, however, engagement is a psychological state of mind.

This discrepancy in perception threatens to make employee engagement lose its meaning and become a buzzword. If you want to drive engagement, you have to make an effort to connect with your employees and exert a positive influence on their mentality.

Only by doing this will a leader manage to bring about the outcomes associated with employee engagement. Thinking about engagement without considering its psychological aspect is like putting the cart before the horse.

working on laptop

The pandemic’s effect on engagement

It might seem counter-intuitive, but the pandemic can actually have a positive effect on employee engagement. Times of crisis and uncertainty can bring out the best in everyone. People are more inclined to genuinely care about one another’s well-being.

There is a sense that we’re all in this together, and it can have a bonding effect on teams even when everyone is working from home. People feel that exerting more effort makes a tangible difference. It makes their jobs matter and their work more meaningful. Those are some key drivers of engagement.

Effective leaders will seize the moment to build trust with their employees. They can reassure them and provide transparent communication, empathy, and support in a time of need. Such meaningful actions will go a long way towards strengthening relationships and driving long-term engagement.

But organizations need to be wary of how much they are relying on the effects of a crisis. Once the novelty fades, what remains is the stress and monotonous nature of going through the daily grind without in-person social interactions.

Even when the pandemic fades, teams that continue to operate remotely will have to deal with this challenge. New workers will come on board who haven’t gone through the shared bonding experience of helping the team survive amid crisis.

Empowering people to be agents

Remote work isn’t going away, although most companies are likely to settle on a midpoint between fully-remote and office-bound teams. Technology will certainly evolve and improve in response to these changes.

Yet, we can’t predict how these improvements will roll out or anticipate their effects. We can only control our mindset. And for leaders, that also means working with people to provide a psychological boost continuously.

The sense of crisis can fade, and the pandemic’s effects on team unity can drop off. But we have to maintain genuine empathy and be attentive in our interactions while maintaining clear and open communications about any changes in company policy or direction.

Doing so will enable workers to perceive how their efforts can make a difference for the company and the community it serves. The events of recent times have made many of us feel helpless about effecting change. Giving remote workers that sort of autonomy and purpose will help restore their sense of agency.

If remote work will be the future for an increasing number of businesses and employees, you have to find ways to sustain engagement for a remote workforce. Short of foreseeing the future, it’s the only way to ensure that people you never meet will continue to contribute to the best of their ability.Businesses rarely adopt new technologies quickly. The internet had been around for years before it became standard practice to have a company website. Now, companies are embracing the digital frontier. They have a social media presence and list themselves on a business directory app. Many even pay to have their own apps developed.

Remote work has encountered the same resistance over the years. Owing to the pandemic, many businesses are only now figuring out how to make it work for their employees.

Some people find it a perfect fit for what they do and how they work. Others feel isolated or have difficulties in communication, collaboration, and overall productivity.

If remote work is the future, even after the coronavirus has been contained, how do we work around the potential drawbacks? The key to solving this problem might lie in keeping your remote workforce engaged.

Engagement from the employee’s perspective

The term ‘employee engagement’ is often bandied about among companies and between leaders. ; People know it’s good to have engaged employees. But no one seems to agree on a clear definition of what it is or how to achieve it.

Being engaged makes people care about what they are doing and the organization they work for. They will exert discretionary effort because they are invested in the success of the collective.

The problem stems from the fact that organizations tend to view engagement in terms of outcomes. They think only of how it benefits them. From the point of view of the employees themselves, however, engagement is a psychological state of mind.

This discrepancy in perception threatens to make employee engagement lose its meaning and become a buzzword. If you want to drive engagement, you have to make an effort to connect with your employees and exert a positive influence on their mentality.

Only by doing this will a leader manage to bring about the outcomes associated with employee engagement. Thinking about engagement without considering its psychological aspect is like putting the cart before the horse.

working on laptop

The pandemic’s effect on engagement

It might seem counter-intuitive, but the pandemic can actually have a positive effect on employee engagement. Times of crisis and uncertainty can bring out the best in everyone. People are more inclined to genuinely care about one another’s well-being.

There is a sense that we’re all in this together, and it can have a bonding effect on teams even when everyone is working from home. People feel that exerting more effort makes a tangible difference. It makes their jobs matter and their work more meaningful. Those are some key drivers of engagement.

Effective leaders will seize the moment to build trust with their employees. They can reassure them and provide transparent communication, empathy, and support in a time of need. Such meaningful actions will go a long way towards strengthening relationships and driving long-term engagement.

But organizations need to be wary of how much they are relying on the effects of a crisis. Once the novelty fades, what remains is the stress and monotonous nature of going through the daily grind without in-person social interactions.

Even when the pandemic fades, teams that continue to operate remotely will have to deal with this challenge. New workers will come on board who haven’t gone through the shared bonding experience of helping the team survive amid crisis.

Empowering people to be agents

Remote work isn’t going away, although most companies are likely to settle on a midpoint between fully-remote and office-bound teams. Technology will certainly evolve and improve in response to these changes.

Yet, we can’t predict how these improvements will roll out or anticipate their effects. We can only control our mindset. And for leaders, that also means working with people to provide a psychological boost continuously.

The sense of crisis can fade, and the pandemic’s effects on team unity can drop off. But we have to maintain genuine empathy and be attentive in our interactions while maintaining clear and open communications about any changes in company policy or direction.

Doing so will enable workers to perceive how their efforts can make a difference for the company and the community it serves. The events of recent times have made many of us feel helpless about effecting change. Giving remote workers that sort of autonomy and purpose will help restore their sense of agency.

If remote work will be the future for an increasing number of businesses and employees, you have to find ways to sustain engagement for a remote workforce. Short of foreseeing the future, it’s the only way to ensure that people you never meet will continue to contribute to the best of their ability.

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