Engaging remote employees has become critical in today’s increasingly remote and hybrid work environments.

Unfortunately, this can be challenging since these employees aren’t present in the workplace — which could lead to miscommunication or a disconnect between workers.

Luckily, there are several things you can do to help remote employees feel valued and remain satisfied at your company. In this article, we’ll explain how remote, flex, and hybrid work affects employee engagement and discuss the top 12 strategies for keeping your remote workforce engaged.


Quick Summary: Use the 12 strategies we cover in this article to help you create an engaging workplace experience, retain top talent, and enhance company culture:

  1. Incorporate Technology and Tools Into Processes
  2. Incorporate Social Interaction
  3. Prioritize Mental and Physical Wellness
  4. Trust Your Employees
  5. Create Career Growth Opportunities
  6. Incorporate an Effective Communication Strategy
  7. Give Recognition
  8. Ask for Feedback
  9. Be Flexible
  10. Encourage In-Person Meetups
  11. Assign Accountability Partners
  12. Be Transparent

What Is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement refers to keeping employees involved and actively contributing to business processes through their roles and the projects they work on. It ensures that employees remain efficient and productive — whether they’re working in the office or from home.

It also refers to keeping employees socially engaged and happy in their workplace so they’re more likely to stay with the company for the long term.

There are four elements to employee engagement: commitment, loyalty, motivation, and trust. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

elements of employee engagement

Commitment

  • This is the level of commitment an employee has to their job and the company they work for.
  • Engaged employees are often fascinated by their job and committed to facing all difficulties head-on to attain their goals.
  • Employers can count on these workers to get work done since they’re highly dependable and productive.

Loyalty

  • Employees who are engaged in their work and have good relationships with their co-workers tend to be more loyal.
  • That’s why these employees feel accountable for getting their work done and want to make the company proud.
  • This leads to less micro-management.
  • However, these employees can quickly become disengaged if the company doesn’t show them appreciation.

employees talking

Motivation

  • Employees who are motivated typically achieve better results for the company.
  • They become even more motivated when they help the company reach new milestones and advance to new heights.
  • Proper reward and recognition systems can encourage employees to go the extra mile and remain motivated to continue performing.

Trust

  • When an employee shares a strong emotional bond with the company and their co-workers, this creates a sense of trust.
  • The employee should trust that the company has their best interests at heart, and the employer should trust in the employee’s abilities.
  • This is why autonomy is often necessary — it allows employees to take the initiative and innovatively do their work.

How Does Remote Work Affect Employee Engagement?

Many remote employees work from home and are located in different cities — or even countries — from their employer. Most work from some beautiful remote working spaces around the world.

Hybrid work combines remote work and on-site work. These employees often have the flexibility to choose where and when they work — as long as they meet the company’s guidelines.

For example, the employer may want employees to come into the office two days per week while they’re free to work from their homes the remaining three days.

In 2022, 29% of workers worldwide worked remotely permanently, while another 36% worked on a hybrid schedule.

percentage of remote workers worldwide

Remote and hybrid work models come with unique benefits and challenges — especially when it comes to employee engagement and dealing with virtual teams.

How Remote and Hybrid Workers Can Benefit a Company

Here are some of the main advantages of having remote and hybrid workers:

  • Increased flexibility and productivity: Remote and hybrid workers spend less time commuting than in-office workers. This means they don’t have to spend time traveling to and from the office and can instead use that time to get work done.
  • Smaller office footprint: Having hybrid and remote employees means companies won’t need as much office space, equipment, or parking spots. This reduces the company’s overall spending. Learn more about flex office spaces and how companies save money with remote employees.
  • Larger talent pool: Companies have more candidates to choose from since they’re not limited to a specific city or country. Thus, they can choose employees based on their skills and the value they’d bring to the company instead of focusing on their location.
  • Better work-life balance: Employees who work from their homes often establish a better balance between their personal and professional lives. This means they get to spend more time with their families — making them more satisfied.

Challenges of Remote and Hybrid Work Engagement

While having hybrid and remote employees offers many benefits, it also comes with several challenges. Here are just a few of them:

zoom call

  • Miscommunication: A lack of in-person communication can result in miscommunication and make workers feel disconnected from their teams.
  • Loneliness: Working remotely can become very lonely and isolated at times. This could cause a disconnect and make remote workers feel like they aren’t part of the team.
  • Difference in time zones: Working with a remote team could be challenging since the difference in time zones can lead to delayed responses and feedback — especially if the time difference is significant.
  • Lack of organization: Balancing work and home responsibilities can be difficult. This can lead to chaos and make workers feel less engaged or even overwhelmed.
  • Lack of social interaction: A lack of social interaction, especially for prolonged periods, can result in lower productivity and poor mental health.
  • Cultural differences: Remote teams often come from different backgrounds. Thus, getting to know other team members’ cultures and how those cultures affect their work can be difficult. In addition, often there are generational differences that you need to overcome.

challenges of remote engagement

Last but not least, often there are tax complications related to remote workers.

Luckily, there are several ways to overcome these challenges and engage remote employees so you can truly reap the benefits that hybrid and remote work bring to your company.

12 Best Strategies for Engaging Remote Employees

Here are some of the top tips for engaging remote employees in your business:

1. Incorporate Technology and Tools into Processes

According to a survey conducted by PwC, 53% of businesses believe that technological breakthroughs will transform how people work over the next 5–10 years.

These technologies will help employees stay connected. The right remote and hybrid work software can help companies improve their workflow and overcome miscommunication.

Incorporating technologies into different business processes could help your teams stay on the same page. Everyone will know what’s expected of them and will work together toward the bigger goals.

Employees will also have a far easier time communicating with each other through video conferencing technologies. For example, with OfficeRnd Hybrid, you can give your remote teams easy-to-use, embeddable tools for coordinating their schedules and making in-person collaboration so much simpler (whenever that’s applicable).

This is a viable strategy for engaging hybrid employees too.

2. Incorporate Social Interaction

Despite all the benefits of working remotely, some employees may find the experience lonely.

You can help combat the feeling of loneliness by creating environments in which team members can connect, such as social hours and virtual team-building activities.

While you and your team need to act professionally toward one another, you need to keep in mind that your employees are still human. They crave social interactions and want to build meaningful connections with their fellow team members.

social interaction graph

By incorporating social interaction activities, you’ll give your employees a space to get to know each other as people (and not just co-workers). This will help them build strong relationships and make them more likely to stay loyal to your company and their team.

3. Prioritize Mental and Physical Wellness

Looking after your employees’ mental and physical wellness will directly impact those individuals’ quality of work and level of engagement. It’s no secret that when people feel good and well-rested, they can concentrate better and produce higher-quality work.

Interestingly, while employees know the importance of mental and physical wellness, many could improve the ways in which they’re trying to incorporate it into their businesses.

According to Deloitte’s 2020 Global Human Capital Trends Report, 80% of employers viewed employees’ well-being as important. Yet only 12% were ready to implement it in their companies.

employees laughing

However, employers should prioritize wellness since mental health issues can cause low energy, a lack of concentration, and withdrawal from friends and co-workers. In other words – devastating burnout.

4. Trust Your Employees

You need to trust your managers and employees to do their jobs.

  • Trust your managers to manage the company’s on-site, remote, and hybrid teams the way they believe is best.
  • Trust your employees to do the work you pay them to do (they have the necessary skills, after all).

This means you need to avoid micromanaging, instead allowing your employees and managers to embrace creativity and innovation.

Give managers room to act however they see fit without constantly having to look over their shoulders. Not doing this will only make them feel like you don’t trust them — which, in turn, will limit their trust in you.

5. Create Career Growth Opportunities

Employees who can move internally through either promotion or lateral change have a 64% chance of being retained. On the other hand, employees who don’t make internal moves only have a 45% retention rate.

employee retention graph

Creating growth opportunities in your business will inspire your employees to work harder to grow within their careers. And it will reduce absenteeism.

The chance to climb the corporate ladder within your organization will help give them the motivation to reach business goals and prove their worth. This will increase their loyalty to your company and help ensure they remain with you for years to come.

6. Incorporate an Effective Communication Strategy

Communication is vital in any business — whether the work is done on-site or by using remote or hybrid models.

In traditional work environments, a team’s operation is based on easy actions, such as being able to go to a co-worker’s cubicle and ask questions or discuss urgent matters right then and there.

However, this isn’t possible with remote or hybrid work models. Employees need to utilize tools and an effective communication strategy to collaborate and get work done.

That’s why it’s vital for you, as the employer, to provide your workers with a solid communication strategy. The clearer, the better.

Your employees need to know exactly what tools to use and when to communicate with their co-workers.

7. Give Recognition

While giving raises is definitely a great way to keep your employees happy and feeling valued, it’s not the only way to show them your appreciation.

Giving them positive feedback after a project, offering them a “shout out” for exceptional work, and establishing an employee recognition program can improve your employees’ level of motivation, keeping them loyal to your company.

emlpoyee recognition

While your recognition program doesn’t have to be as fancy as the Grammy Awards, it does need a clear structure. Your employees need to know the following:

  • When they will be recognized — The date and frequency of the reward systems.
  • The types of behaviors that are recognized — What work should they do, or what should they achieve to be eligible for these awards?

You can even choose to digitize your rewards program to make it more accessible to your hybrid and remote employees.

8. Ask for Feedback

Feedback goes two ways:

  • You need to give your employees feedback on the work they complete.
  • You also need to ask them for their feedback on business processes, their co-workers, and more.

Doing this can help you improve your company processes, culture, and overall efficiency.

You can ask for feedback by using surveys. While many of your questions will be custom to your company and situation, there are also some general questions you can ask.

employee survey questions

These surveys could include questions regarding your employees’ happiness at the company and whether they find it hard to communicate. If possible, try to keep the questions open-ended so you can get a good overview of how your employees truly feel.

These surveys can help you identify common threads that could indicate changes you need to make in particular areas of your business. It’s one of the tasks of the employee experience manager.

9. Be Flexible

You need to offer your employees as much flexibility as possible.

While having a set amount of working hours or times around meetings is important, you should give your employees autonomy regarding how and when they work the rest of the day.

Doing this shows your employees that you trust them to get the work done — increasing their engagement and job satisfaction.

It also allows them to work around their schedules and needs to attain a better work-life balance.

10. Encourage In-Person Meetups

Whether you’re able to set up in-person meetings with your teams will depend on where your workers are located. If your employees work remotely but are located in the same city, state, or country, this could be arranged.

employees chatting

However, if your remote employees live in different countries, in-person meetings could be challenging. You could fly them in once a year to meet up with their team in person. Alternatively, you could host virtual meetings and give them cool names.

Either way, meetups will help your employees get to know each other outside of work.

A reliable tool that can significantly help boost in-person collaboration is OfficeRnD Hybrid and its set of collaborative scheduling features.

11. Assign Accountability Partners

Regardless of how motivated your employees are, they’re still human and will sometimes get off track. But you can help them stay on track by assigning them an accountability partner. Accountability partners are there to:

  • Cheer their colleagues on
  • Celebrate each other’s successes
  • Motivate one another
  • Discuss one another’s progress
  • Help their colleagues overcome challenges

accountability partners

Whether you encourage your employees to message, email, or have 1:1 video calls with their accountability partners is up to you. But giving them someone who’s always there to help them stick to their goals will help them be more productive and stay loyal to your company.

12. Be Transparent

Employees like working for a company that’s open about their current state and plans. Being transparent with your employees will help them trust you more and limit panic, speculation, and hysteria during times of crisis.

For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a lot of uncertainty in businesses worldwide. This, in turn, has caused many workers to stress and burn out.

Communicating the company’s plans with employees and explaining how workers will be affected by changes will help ease lingering tensions.

Make Remote Work Work For Your Employees

Remote and hybrid work is here to stay. Implementing the strategies discussed in this article will help you create a positive work environment with high retention rates for both your in-office and virtual workers.

One of the best ways to keep remote employees engaged is by providing them with the right tools that not only can ease their work but also entice them to collaborate in person.

OfficeRnD Hybrid is an easy-to-use and embeddable hybrid work management solution that your employees will love.

Fancy checking it out?

Click here to start for free or book a live demo with one of our workplace experts.

FAQ

Why is Engaging Remote Employees Important?

Employee engagement is doubly important in hybrid and remote work contexts. Since remote staff aren’t fully present in the office to work with their teams, there could be a chance for miscommunication and a disconnect in team cohesion.

Companies need to implement multiple strategies to maintain optimal levels of productivity and employee satisfaction — and, as a result, remote and hybrid employee engagement.

What Is the Most Important Part of Employee Engagement?

While there are many essential components to effective employee engagement, communication is the most important. Without an effective communication strategy and tools, teams won’t be able to collaborate — resulting in lower-quality work and missed deadlines.

What is the Best Way to Engage Remote Employees?

The best way to engage remote employees is through effective communication channels and strategic use of digital tools. This can include apps like Zoom, Asana, GoToMeeting, and Slack to streamline communication and project management between team members so everyone is on the same page. In addition, check out the following digital transformation examples. Other strategies for engaging remote employees include offering opportunities for professional development, recognizing and rewarding good work, and fostering a sense of community through virtual team-building activities.

How do you Keep Remote Employees Productive?

You can keep remote employees productive by setting clear expectations and goals, providing the necessary tools and resources to complete tasks, encouraging regular breaks and exercise, offering flexibility in work schedules, providing regular feedback and support, and promoting a healthy work-life balance. Additionally, it is important to foster a sense of community and teamwork through regular communication and virtual team-building activities.

Miro Miroslavov
CEO and Co-founder of OfficeRnD
Miro Miroslavov is a software engineer turned into a tech entrepreneur. In 2015 he co-founded OfficeRnD - a leading flex space and hybrid work management platform. As a CEO at OfficeRnD, he grew the company from inception to a leading software vendor that serves thousands of customers worldwide. He is a big fan of flexible working and is on a mission to "Making Flexible Working the Way of Working".