Remote work is great – but it also comes with a stiff price tag.
I’m not talking about financial costs either. Only that remote work can be isolating for some people. And left unchecked, this can lead to them feeling disengaged from work and ultimately, disgruntled.
Inevitably, this is bad for business. It leads to slower skill development, constant errors and mistakes at work, and a disconnect between team members.
So, let’s address it head-on.
Engagement Begins at the Top
Remote workers who make themselves scarce during Zoom meetings or important conversations aren’t likely to stay for the long haul. Thus, they’re more likely to slack off and underperform.
However, according to a survey, some corporate executives admitted that their organisations weren’t exactly exerting their best efforts to engage their virtual workers.
Forty-six (46) percent of the respondents failed to provide the right software and tools necessary for a productive and engaging virtual workplace. Furthermore, 49 percent of these C-level officials took responsibility for facilitating employee engagement in a virtual work environment.
In sum, data shows that personal inclinations aren’t solely to blame for the lack of engagement. Chances are, companies contribute to the problem by failing to provide the necessary support from their end too.
Understanding the Root of Disengagement
Fortunately, it’s still possible to remedy a clear lack of engagement.
When you encounter disengaged employees, try to understand where they’re coming from.
Do they understand why they need to participate during virtual meetings and Zoom calls? Do they have proper access, not just to the actual meeting but to the materials pertaining to the subject being discussed?
Most importantly, have you created an environment where they feel free and empowered to provide feedback and suggestions freely?
If the answer to one or more of the questions is no, start there.
And speaking of….
Where to Begin
No one really enjoys terminating employees, no matter how disengaged, apathetic, or unproductive they might have become.
And part of avoiding unnecessary remote employee terminations involves taking proactive steps to ensure that your remote workers remain engaged, motivated, and productive. These can include:
Rather than terminating a disengaged remote worker immediately, conduct a one-on-one interview first. This way, you can determine if they’re truly disinterested – or if they’re just having trouble participating with the current setup.
Providing Flexible Leaves
Sometimes, your remote employee just needs to take a breather. When you observe that your once-active employee suddenly underperforms, check on them. Better yet, provide a flexible leave policy which allows time-off during emergencies to give them some peace of mind.
Many remote workers feel disconnected from their colleagues since there’s really no substitute for face-to-face interactions.
If possible, organise virtual team building events or something equally fun that can encourage camaraderie among your distributed team.
Mentors are important in all aspects of life, even in a remote workplace. If many of your new remote workers feel lost, help them seek out a mentor within the company. Partnering senior staff with juniors or vice versa can help both grow professionally and personally.
Sometimes, the lack of engagement can simply reveal a deficiency within the company that we need to work on. Or it could simply mean that it’s time to look for a new set of people.
Not sure where to look? Well, you’re in luck!
Remote Staff has been helping AU SMEs and entrepreneurs build strong teams with skilled remote workers from the Philippines. Since 2007, we have provided thousands of remote workers who are not just skilled, but also highly engaged and motivated.