3 keys to engaging remote employees

In today's connected business world, more people than ever are getting their work done remotely. Last year, more than one-third of U.S. employees said they logged into work from somewhere other than the office, according to a Gallup poll. For enterprises, this flexibility allows access to more qualified candidates, as they can recruit without being restricted by locale. Plus, offering a work-from-home perk makes companies more competitive when courting highly sought-after talent. For employees, too, working remotely is an attractive option, reducing commuting costs, improving work-life balance and even boosting productivity.  It comes as no surprise, then, that as recent improvements in enterprise and communication technology have given employees and organizations the tools to support such programs, remote work continues to become more popular. 

 Connecting to meetings via video can help remote employees feel more engaged.

Connecting to meetings via video can help remote employees feel more engaged.

For all of its potential advantages, however, a poorly managed remote work program can leave workers feeling disengaged from the company and its mission. So, before you grant your employees the green light to log in from home, keep these key factors in mind:

Prioritize communication
While working alone can sometimes help employees stay focused, remote workers' relative isolation can also work against them. To make sure morale and accountability don't drop in the absence of regular physical meetings, over-communication is essential to successful work-from-home programs, online career resource The Muse reported. While instant messaging and email may be enough to touch base with your in-office employees, engaging remote employees likely requires a more dynamic approach. Easy-to-use video conferencing and social-style messaging apps can go a long way toward making satellite employees feel connected to the office, even if they're hundreds of miles away. 

Redefine success
In many offices, managers rely on a few key physical markers to measure success, whether they realize it or not. From the amount of time employees spend at their desk and the way they dress to the demeanor with which they speak to clients and peers, these behaviors shape the way bosses see their employees' performance, according to an article published in Forbes. With these indicators of efficacy unavailable, managers may have a tough time evaluating remote employees. Rather than tracking work hours or trying to get a sense for personality over the phone, employers should stick to performance metrics, rewarding remote employees for exemplary deliverables and productivity no matter their schedule. 

Offer tech support
Before a company can extend telecommuting privileges to its employees, it must be prepared to make their tech experience as seamless as it would be for an on-premises employee. If workers conduct business on their own devices, managers should make sure they will have access to the necessary files and networks before their first day of work. Depending on the size of the company and the nature of their IT environment, this can take some time, so its critical to start the set-up process well before an employee's expected start date. Similarly, organizations should make sure their remote employees aren't left on their own when it comes to repairs and support. 

At ARG, we are experts in helping enterprises identify the best IT products for their needs. From cloud networks to video conferencing and collaboration, our team of experienced IT consultants can recommend the tools you need to empower a remote workforce.