How can I keep my remote employees engaged and feel like they are part of the team?
When an employee is remote, whether regularly working there or just working from home temporarily, inclusion in team meetings and emails are critical. When emails go to the whole team, include them, even if you know they can't participate at that time, so they feel part of the team. Also, make sure to teleconference (better with video) all of your team meetings so that they can participate. Hold the meeting as though they are physically in the room with you.
Engaging employees hinges on effective communication. Be mindful of how information flows through the organization, ensuring crucial details or changes affecting remote workers are disseminated regularly and promptly. Discuss ideas together as needed to build cohesion in the team and ensure remote workers are aware of shifting priorities at the same time as on-site employees. Also, set expectations for how remote worker’s contributions are to be monitored and evaluated, to prevent them from feeling separate from the project.
Keeping remote employees engaged and including them in the team takes a little thought and few resources. Here are a few suggestions to help:
Support and adopt technology developments: Invest in and improve the reliability of your web conference tools to minimize noise and interruptions. This allows for more effective and continuous communication. Employees, especially remote, will find it easier and more productive to interact in multiple ways with people outside and inside their team.
Be flexible with your scheduling: If you have a remote team that is in a different time zone, consider creating a rotating schedule so they can contact one or more employees at your main location during their working hours as well for support.
Monitor Engagement: Without technological support and regularly-scheduled meetings with your remote employees, it will be difficult for you to measure their contributions to the team. This circles back to keeping in constant contact to understand the needs and concerns of your remote employees.