Got Milk? Maybe, Maybe Not. But You’ve Got Remote Employees. Here’s How to Manage Them by Jill Christensen

All of the data tells us that remote workers are more productive than office employees and the savings can be big.  According to a Global Workplace Analytics study, a typical business saves $11,000 USD per person annually by leveraging remote work policies.  And remote workers can save $7,000 USD a year on average, according to figures from TECLA, a global recruiting company. The bulk of those savings comes from reducing or eliminating the cost of commuting, food, clothing, and child care.

However, on the flip-side of the coin, remote workers also tend to feel more neglected and disengaged.

In a day and age where more and more countries and states are ordering people to ‘shelter in place,’ and where technology enables remote work to be more common overall, companies must create a strategy to effectively manage remote workers – and keep them engaged.  My tips?  Your organization will be off to a good start if your managers focus their efforts in three key areas: Connection, Communication, and Collaboration.

Connection

  • Pair people up – create a buddy system for every remote employee.
  • Conduct virtual team building activities to strengthen the bond of the team.
  • Host virtual coffee for colleagues and choose a topic of the day to share/discuss.
  • Create a team goal that everyone is responsible for achieving together.
  • Send physical gift cards for lunch or swag packages via the mail if non-remote employees receive free lunch or swag items.
  • Create a mini-book of team bios – include professional and personal information – and share it with all team members.

Communication

  • Use video (cameras on) and phone calls vs. texts and email.
  • Lead a daily team huddle in the a.m. and p.m. for available employees.
  • Lead quarterly live team events/meetings.
  • Hold Q&A sessions with executive leadership just for remote workers.
  • Begin meetings with an ice-breaker question and have everyone share their answer.
  • Set up a dedicated email address for remote workers to provide feedback/recommend ideas as to how to make them feel more engaged

Collaboration

  • Allow remote workers to own/lead major projects.
  • Assign a problem that needs solving to several remote workers.
  • Invest in state-of-the-art collaboration tools and create a Team Collaboration Portal.
  • Mind the time zone for distributed teams to ensure 100 percent participation in meetings.
  • Ask team members to create a team charter that outlines the team’s purpose, goals, and roles members are expected to play in order to achieve the goals.
  • Host a monthly Team Innovations Meeting where each team member presents an idea.  Team members then collaborate on how to put the idea into action.

JILL, WHAT CAN I DO?  Forward this newsletter/blog to your managers and encourage them to manage remote workers differently.  Also, encourage them to become a free VIP Member of #CultureNation, so they receive valuable content directly, without you having to intervene.  (In the U.S., text JILL to 44144. Outside the U.S., click on Join Now.)  As remote work becomes more common, your managers must embrace the new normal.  The good news is this new normal is not difficult or expensive.  Managers simply need to be educated and then put in a little extra effort.  In return, they will get a team that runs on all cylinders and helps take your company to new heights.  Priceless.

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Jill Christensen is an Employee Engagement Expert, Best-Selling Author, International Keynote Speaker and Top 101 Global Employee Engagement Influencer.

She is one of the most in-demand and top-rated female speakers in the world today.  Named a Top 101 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, she takes audiences on a journey that educates and inspires people to act.  In three short years, Jill has been booked to present her proven strategy to re-engage employees to more than 150,000 people in 21 industries, 38 U.S. states, and seven countries.

A former Fortune 500 business executive with a Six Sigma Green Belt, Jill understands how organizations operate, and what they need to do differently to attract, retain, and engage employees.  This makes her a valuable asset to any organization that wants to increase productivity, retention, customer satisfaction, and profitable revenue growth.

Her book, If Not You, Who? How to Crack the Code of Employee Disengagement, is a global best-seller, and her popular weekly blog was named a Top 100 Corporate Blog alongside of Apple and Microsoft.