In these times of uncertainty, change and distance, maintaining a high level of employee engagement is important. So what drives engagement while working remotely? How can you positively influence the remote employee experience?

The internet is full of random tips. But we, as Strategic Happiness Experts, always like to merge reliable science with easy practical advice. That is why we backed up the 15 tips below, using our proven Employee Happiness Model (with 15 factors of engagement), as well as complementary recent research. This will increase your chances of creating a successful remote working culture!

Introducing a content series: #2DAYSTIP while #WorkingRemotely

Over the next few weeks, we will advise you in a visual way on how you can improve employee engagement and the employee experience of your remote workforce. We’ll add more content each week in this live blog and on our social media channels (Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn).

P.S. If you get inspired by the science, you can check out the original research papers.

Tip 1: Relationship with Colleagues

How can you foster employee relationships remotely? 

Relationships with colleagues are important to maintain while working remotely. Having personal relationships with colleagues have been shown to increase employee well-being, and increase productivity.

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Research shows…  

Studies have found that there is a causal relationship between non-work-related communication and team effectiveness. Additionally, higher degrees of personal communication have been shown to increase trust and cooperation in teams.

Want to know more about virtual walks? Check out this blog post by our partner, Delivering Happiness, here.

Additionally, you can create a virtual water cooler in your communication platform. This could be a specific chatroom where employees can discuss non-work-related events or personal experiences.

Want to find out more? Check out the research

Tip 2: Workplace Conditions 

How do workplace conditions impact engagement?

The importance of workplace conditions cannot be understated. A nice, pleasant working environment can make all the difference for both individual well-being and organizational success! An ideal workplace is one that fits the needs of the employees while maintaining a high standard of safety and comfort.

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Research shows…  

Research shows that there is a positive interaction between listening to music and time spent on a task. Further, there is a positive interaction between listening to music and quality of work.  The presence of music contributes to positive change in mood, and enhanced perceptions of ability.

Want to find out more? Check out the research

Tip 3: Vitality

How does vitality impact engagement?

Vitality is an important aspect to work engagement and productivity. When working remotely it can be a challenge to stay focused and motivated. Staying active increases vitality. Going for a short walk, or doing a few minutes of stretching can increase ones vitality and overall well-being.

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Research shows…  

Research shows physically active remote workers get more sleep and heal faster when sick. Encouraging employees to engage in healthy behaviors increases productivity and happiness too!

Hosting team workouts 1-3 times a week for 15 minutes, or sending weekly fitness challenges will help encourage remote workers to stay active, and to take a small break during the work day.

Want to find out more? Check out the research

Tip 4: Learning and Development

How does learning and development impact engagement?

While working remotely it is important as a manager to encourage team members to take responsibility for their own personal development. Learning new skills, and developing confidence in new areas is an effective way to increase motivation and productivity. Providing resources or ideas like an online class is a fun and effective way to increase employee engagement.

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Research shows…  

Research shows that e-learning increases employee efficiency and productivity. Additionally, employees who use e-learning materials have more personal growth opportunities and are seen as more responsible.

Learning and development is not only good for work situations, but also for employees daily lives. Follow this link to check out online courses can increase learning and development in your team members work and everyday lives!

Want to find out more? Check out the research

Tip 5: Appreciation

How does appreciation impact engagement?

Showing appreciation in every aspect of life is important, but when it comes to employees, it is critical. There are many different ways to show your appreciation, and each way contributes to an increase of well-being in employees. Being an empathetic employer and showing appreciation while working remotely formed to a particular employees needs encourages employees to be more productive.

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Research shows…  

Research shows that appreciation helps form and maintain social connections, increases quality of sleep, and encourages trust and helping behaviors. Appreciation also helps foster organizational commitment and increase the likelihood of helping others within the organization.

If sending a physical care package to employees is not the most sustainable option for your company, do it virtually. Offer a 1 month subscription to audio-books, e-learning courses, or a voucher to donate a specific amount to a charity of the employee’s choice! #payitforward

Want to find out more? Check out the research

Tip 6: Intrinsic Motivation

How does intrinsic motivation impact engagement?

Intrinsic motivation is not influenced by external factors such as rewards or gifts. Internal motivation often comes from the sense of accomplishment, the sense of contributing to something bigger than oneself, or the willingness to learn. It drives employees to do their best, and to contribute to the organization in a positive way.

How can a manager increase employees internal motivation?

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Research shows…  

Research shows that remote workers who perceive themselves as a integral part of the organization are more likely to be highly motivated and confident. By recognizing the contributions of each team member, employees will be more dedicated and motivated to continue with their projects.

Managers have the ability influence how employees perceive themselves. Therefore, showing employees how their contributions within a project facilitate in the success of the organization is also a positive step towards increasing intrinsic motivation.

Check out this blog post by Vantage Circle for more inspiration!

Want to find out more? Check out the research

Tip 7: Work-Life Balance

How does work-life balance impact engagement?

Remote workers are more susceptible to burnout because they tend to work an extra 2 – 3 hours a week. When working remotely, burnout is not something that is easily monitored. As a manager, you want to know how your employees are monitoring their work, and how they are feeling throughout the week to avoid burnout.

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Research shows…  

Research shows that remote workers tend to work an extra 2 – 3 hours a week. By setting goals outside of work and boundaries around the potential causes of remote working stress, remote workers can maintain a healthy work-life balance, and increase their productivity.

Encourage team members to set outside of work goals towards their hobbies. Create a weekly or bi-weekly meeting to talk about you’re your goals outside of work. Regardless of what the goal is, setting boundaries to maintain a balance between home and work while working remotely is critical. These out of work activities help create psychological distance from the work itself. Psychological distance aids in recovery, which in-turn helps increase productivity, and reduce the chance of burnout!

Want to find out more? Check out the research

Tip 8: Relationship with Direct Manager

How does relationships with direct manager impact engagement?

While working remotely, it is important for a leader to know their employees well, and for them to know their leader. Treating employees like individuals that need different care, will help to establish better relationships with employees, and foster a greater amount of trust. This will give employees the feeling of safety and be more willing to share ideas, give feedback, and communicate more effectively. Try inviting employees for virtual lunch during the week and invest time to get to know your team.

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Research shows…  

Research shows that distant leaders who to take extra time to communicate with team members on both work and non-work related topics, help increase employee well-being.  By showing an interest in your teams’ personal life, you can establish a better relationship and bond with employees. Distance is not a barrier to effective leadership or effective communication.

Want to find out more? Check out the research

Tip 9: Internal Communication

How does internal communication impact engagement?

When you’re in the office, it is easy to talk with colleagues about their weekends, evening plans, and projects they are working on. Unfortunately, working remotely doesn’t give much opportunity for that interaction. By establishing a good internal communication system like a live blog or vlog, teams are able to share their personal experiences and support each other in their accomplishments.

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Research shows…  

Research shows that internal communication programs help define and distinguish between personal and team goals. They can also increase team performance, improve information sharing, and facilitate effective problem solving. Creating one or two channels for employees to share knowledge, and also personal information helps create a cohesive communicative system while staying out of the office. As a manager, is it a great gesture to create a blog or a vlog as well. Be a role model and inspire others to follow your lead

Want to find out more? Check out the research

Tip 10: Salary & Benefits

How does salary & benefits impact engagement?

In this transformative time, some teams may have a much higher workload than others. So also think about how you can reward people for “helping out” or “contributing to the success of others” – and in the end, the organization!

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Research shows…  

Research shows that the more benefits an organization offers, will increase organizational commitment in employees and show that the organization is supportive of employee goals increasing employee motivation.

Discuss with your team what is most important to them in terms of work benefits such as pay, free time, opportunities for professional development, or technology upgrades. This will boost employees motivation to perform well, and continuously.

Want to find out more? Check out the research

Tip 11: Leadership

How does leadership impact engagement?

Traditional leadership and management is task orientated. That means managers are overseeing projects and are giving tasks to employees as the day proceeds. With remote management, leaders need to transition into a supportive and delegative manager. That means being available to support team members with projects, or questions surrounding other topics.

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Research shows…  

Research shows that managing a virtual team is about supporting and delegating tasks. Create some ground rules about communication and how it can be used to in order to be productive. Having an open communication culture positively impacts employee well-being, and increases productivity. For example, chat rooms can be used to discuss projects, and e-mail can be used to send reports. Video calls are critical to team cohesion as it increases collaboration, and it is important that all team members attend the meetings.

By actively communicating with team members, leaders are able to be an example of proper remote working behavior and processes.

Want to find out more? Check out the research

Tip 12: Reputation & Brand

How does reputation & brand impact engagement?

Speak often about what the company does and how team members are an integral part of the organizational brand. When employees work from home, they are not able to be surrounded by the organization, therefore, creating a sense of ownership among employees is a great way to maintain a strong organizational brand and reputation.

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Research shows…  

Research shows that when “sensegiving” is established, uncertainties about organizational identity is diminished and organizational identity is maintained. It also shows that the relationship between employee attitudes towards the organization increases organizational performance and effectiveness

Emphasizing team members roles as representatives of the organization will help establish meaning and attachments to events, actions, issues and critical happenings within the organization.

Want to find out more? Check out the research

Tip 13: Vision & Values

How do vision & values impact engagement?

In times of global uncertainty and change, your company vision and core values are subjected change. But how do you make these changes? Changing the vision and values of a company is not an easy task. If the changes are not communicated properly, how will the new goals be met, and how can everyone be excited about the new vision and values?

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Research shows…  

Research shows, when employees are motivated by the vision of the organization, they are likely to work more efficiently and feel happier. This is because working with the vision of the organization in mind gives employees a clear understanding of the long-term goals of the organization, and how they, as employees specifically contribute towards the attainment of those goals.

When employees are positively connected to the vision of the organization their motivation and productivity increases.

Want to find out more? Check out the research

Tip 14: Strategy & Goals

 

How do strategy & goals impact engagement?

Big projects can be overwhelming when working remotely. This is because there are no colleagues directly around to help support team members while working. A lot of collaboration and support happens inside the office. Employees may also feel like they are not being listened to or don’t matter during their transitionary period. So how can you as a manager help?

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Research shows…  

Research shows that by co-creating goals, team members have more commitment to the goals and identify more with the future work projects. As a manager, try asking some of these questions to help clarify performance and responsibility goals: What is our objective? Does each team member have more than one role? What are we collectively responsible for? How will we make decisions?

Want to find out more? Check out the research

Tip 15: Social Values

 

How do social values impact engagement?

Understanding that your team various home environments is an important element to group collaboration. Recognize the issues that may arise and plan to tackle them responsibly. Teams should clarify communication procedures, to help develop smooth functioning, and less misunderstanding.

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Research shows…  

Research shows that team members who are willing to adjust their working habits to accommodate other people are more calm and understanding. It is important to know other team member’s situations and to offer help where possible. Try having a communication session with team members so everybody is aware of the different work environments each other are in. Conflict and misunderstandings usually arise from miscommunication.

Want to find out more? Check out the research

Do you want to know more about how you can increase happiness in your organization with the 15 second survey of 2DAYSMOOD? Request a free demo or brochure.

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