Retaining employees in a remote work environment can be difficult, due to the lack of physical presence. It can be hard to connect with employees, check in on their work, and ensure morale is healthy. This can often lead to feelings of isolation, frustration, and burnout.
Without in-person interactions, it can be hard to address any issues or misunderstandings. Employees working remotely can often feel disconnected from their peers and the company, leading to negative emotions or apathy.
So how can you help retain your remote workforce? Let’s take a look at seven tips from industry professionals.
1. Maintain Open Communication
“One of the most important aspects of managing remote employees is keeping all lines of communication open, so that employees can ask questions, collaborate and be heard,” mentions Victor Mathieux, Co-Founder and CEO of Miracle Brand. “Employers should ensure that remote workers have access to the same communication tools as their on-site counterparts. Technology like Zoom and Slack can help bridge the gap and build trust between remote employees and their managers. And in the end, trust will always lead to retention.”
Open communication allows employees to share their ideas and concerns openly with management. This helps to ensure that everyone is working together towards a common goal. Additionally, open communication encourages creativity and a willingness to take risks, leading to better results.
2. Offer Flexible Working Hours
“Offering flexibility with working hours is important for maintaining a healthy work-life balance for your remote employees,” notes Lilian Chen, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Bar None Games. “Allowing employees to work the hours that work best for them and their lifestyle can help ensure that their productivity and motivation levels remain high. Plus, they won’t be as tempted to jump ship for another company that does. And after all, as long as employees can be available for meetings and to address client concerns, remote work should always be more flexible than a 9-to-5 job.”
3. Provide Support
“Providing the right tools and resources for remote employees is essential for success,” mentions Andrew Cooper, Owner of Simply E-Liquid. “Remote employees should have the means to stay connected with their colleagues and have access to the same level of support an in-office employee would have. Pay special attention to new technology that is available, and be sure that everyone is trained to be able to implement it to save time and add higher levels of productivity.”
He further added “The ability to create a flexible schedule also allows employees to have more autonomy and freedom over their work. They can choose when to take on tasks, taking breaks when needed, and not feeling rushed to finish their work. This freedom can help employees feel more valued and respected within their work, which can lead to increased job satisfaction.”
4. Establish Goals and Guidelines
“Setting clear goals and guidelines helps ensure that remote employees stay on track with their work,” says Tiffany Payne, Head of Content at PharmacyOnline.co.uk “These goals should be firmly established and tracked to evaluate performance and keep the team on the same page. Be sure to include individual goals, as well as collaborative goals. This way, everyone is working together, but it also adds a level of accountability.”
When you create goals and guidelines for your employees, it helps to increase job satisfaction, performance, and loyalty to the company. When employees can see where their efforts are leading, it helps improve morale and motivates them to work hard to reach their targets. Goals also give employees something to strive for and give them a sense of accomplishment when they reach those goals.
5. Offer Incentives
“Who doesn’t enjoy knowing that their work is appreciated?” asks Alice Rowen Hall from Rowen Homes. “Rewarding remote employees for their hard work and dedication is important for maintaining a positive work environment. Offering incentives can help to motivate and inspire remote workers so that they feel like part of a traditional team.”
These incentives can come in the form of salary increases, bonuses, additional perks and benefits, and other forms of recognition. The primary reasons for staying with a company are often related to job security, the feeling of job satisfaction, a sense of loyalty and recognition, and a feeling of personal growth and development – meaning incentives can go a long way.
6. Facilitate Interaction
“Remote work can be lonely, and it’s important to give employees an opportunity to interact with their colleagues,” says Rene Delgado, Founder & CEO at Shop Indoor Golf. “Facilitating activities such as virtual happy hours, team-building exercises and group video chat can help create bonding experiences. Additionally, if you’re able to coordinate an in-person retreat, you’ll see your remote employees quickly turn into a remote team.”
When companies encourage interaction, there are many benefits for both the employees and the organization. When people are interacting with each other, they are more likely to develop a sense of camaraderie, which leads to increased productivity, better morale, and overall stronger relationships within the company. This feeling of belonging is often one of the most important factors in an employee’s decision to stay with a company.
7. Avoid Micromanagement
“The best remote leaders provide their teams with the opportunity to make independent decisions,” states David Hatfield of Body and Soul Personal Training. “While management teams will always make high-touch decisions, allowing your emote employees to take real ownership of their work will go a long way in retaining them. This also builds a level of mutual trust that can go a long way.”
When it comes to employee satisfaction, one of the key factors is how managers approach their job. Particularly, how they handle micromanagement. Micromanagement is the practice of excessively monitoring, or controlling an employee or subordinate’s work. It can be overwhelming, and create a lack of trust between managers and their employees. When avoided, employees can happily stay with their company for a longer time period.
Retaining remote employees can have a number of positive outcomes. Remote teams can provide businesses with access to talent from all around the world, which can be an invaluable asset. Additionally, teams that work remotely can often be more productive due to their flexibility and freedom, as well as cost savings on office space, utilities and other expenses.