How to Make Remote Work Engaging and Fun for Everyone
A myriad of real-world development and technological advancements have converged to create the remote work culture of today.
Over the last decade or so, remote working has become just as commonplace—if not more so—as classic office-based jobs.
More call centres and customer support companies than ever before are allowing their staff to work remotely rather than in on-site offices.
This is partly because of lockdowns and restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s also due to the considerable boost this approach can provide to team productivity and ethos.
Why Remote Work is on the Rise
It’s not surprising that remote work has gained such popularity among the global workforce.
The movement allows people to work from just about anywhere, with only a laptop and internet access.
It gives workers autonomy over their work-life balances and allows them to access different work locations without having to miss out on professional opportunities.
Considering this, remote work already has the potential to make work more engaging and enjoyable for many team members.
However, there are countless ways to make working remotely even more immersive while fostering trust and communication between companies and their staff.
Engaging your customer service, customer experience, or contact centre employees will help keep them productive and satisfied.
This will benefit them in numerous ways and will benefit your company’s growth and ensure its overall success in the immediate and long term.
Challenges with Remote Teams
Statistically, remote employment rates have risen by 140% since 2005.
This means that around 4.3 million employees now work from home—and the growth of this trend will not slow anytime soon.
As popular as remote work is, there are a few common challenges that remote workers face as a collective. They include:
● Communication problems. This is one of the most prominent challenges for remote teams, and understandably so. After all, even face-to-face environments experience plenty of mistakes and miscommunications! This tendency for miscommunication is compounded by the potential ambiguity of email and instant messenger correspondence.
● Waning involvement. Many remote employees feel ‘left out’ of company life when working at home. A feeling of being adrift and lacking momentum can set in, as they miss being connected and involved with their team. This is a trend that can, unfortunately, lead to high staff turnover rates, as employees seek a more closely involved team situation.
● Varying productivity. Some experts insist that remote work improves staff productivity levels due to the lack of distractions, such as chatty office mates, commutes, tight schedules, and background noise. However, others believe that working from home actually makes it harder to concentrate and that a lack of immediate accountability can disrupt workers’ everyday routines.
● Onboarding challenges. Having no physical office environment makes it challenging for new employees to join teams and complete training.
Even the best, most comprehensive training documents cannot compare to personal supervision during the first days on the job. Many new workers miss the social aspect of joining a new team, which would usually enable easier integration into the workgroup.
● A lack of direction. You may associate remote work with a high level of autonomy and organisation. With that said, remote employees who don’t have the benefit of leaders with a strong sense of direction may find themselves lacking direction, big-picture thinking, and motivation.
The Benefits of Remote Work
Naturally, there are many benefits to remote work too. These include improved productivity, fewer distractions and interruptions, and less background noise.
Not to mention the ability for staff to work from a familiar and comfortable environment.
Working from home allows staff members to harmonise their personal schedules and their work routines without having to worry about commuting or its associated costs.
Remote employees have more freedom to attend their kids’ soccer or ballet practices, go to the grocery store, or visit family in another state or province without having to take time off.
Not only that, they can still clock in and work remotely from those locations, which benefits their employers simultaneously.
The Importance of Employee Engagement
Engaging your employees should be a crucial part of your company’s culture.
It provides lasting benefits for all involved, particularly for those staff members who choose to make an effort in response to your engagement tactics.
Engagement also helps companies avoid high workforce turnover rates and retain dedicated workers.
It’s based on trust and communication between employees and their company.
Your company needs to clearly state and understand its commitments and promises to your team, and all parties involved should fulfil the agreements made.
For employees, feeling that they’re a valued part of a team with strong goals and genuine values will ensure they know they’re supported.
Plus, they’ll recognise that their work will have a positive impact on the business too.
Companies need to support their staff members in learning new skills, providing honest feedback, and empower their continuous growth to engage them effectively.
5 Tips to Make Remote Work More Engaging
1. Connect Staff to Your Company’s Purpose
You can create a solid foundation for a holistic company culture and retain talented workers by cultivating shared values within your remote team.
When everyone works together towards a common goal, your staff will feel involved, united, and integral to the process of growth.
2. Foster Loyalty and Trust
Trust is the key to creating lasting, authentic workplace relationships between employees and company leaders.
Engaged staff members tend to care more about their employer’s goals.
This helps slow workforce turnover rates and ensures that all parties expectations are met.
3. Focus on Holistic Productivity
Employee engagement and productivity are intimately linked.
Remote staff who actively involve themselves in a company that has a healthy corporate culture will likely perform better and more diligently than those feeling excluded or forgotten.
4. Include Everyone Socially
Feeling excluded socially is one of the prevailing challenges faced by remote employees.
It can make them feel less satisfied in their positions and less productive as a result. Remote workplaces often lack that classic office socialising element that keeps team members united.
It’s essential that you try to foster both professional and social communication digitally.
You should focus on building lasting social capital—this refers to a team’s ability to work together harmoniously towards a united goal.
Social activity within the remote place can be just as supportive of a business’ success as direct work responsibilities are!
Hosting regular ice breakers, team-building activities, and even online games can go a long way towards improving the social aspect of your remote department.
Even if your company cannot fly out all of your remote workers for an in-person gathering, you can gather on a digital meeting platform like Zoom and share answers to questions like “would you rather…?” to get to know one another.
5. Create an Inviting Company Culture
Company culture isn’t just a set of basic values that governs your business’ operations.
Your company’s culture should apply to its mindset, communications, emphasis on ethics and diversity, and virtually every other facet of its being.
Every company has different methods of aligning with its values, but there are a few shared traits among firms with renowned cultures.
A healthy company culture gives employees ample opportunity to grow and develop their skills—all while respecting them, and facilitating openness and honesty.
Prioritising company culture entails focusing on the people in your remote team and their needs first and foremost.
Make them feel welcome and at ease in their workplace, treat them with trust and respect, and grant them a certain level of professional autonomy.
Digital Engagement Demystified
It may be tricky to get remote employees actively engaged in company culture, but it’s crucial to create an enjoyable work environment.
Here are a few ideas that could help engage them remotely.
● Grant them real responsibilities. There are few better ways to show your trust in your employees than by delegating important responsibilities to them. Giving them important responsibilities to shoulder will reaffirm that they are a valued and integral part of the company.
You should also give their suggestions real consideration, grant them lead in meetings, and involve them in activities that lie beyond the scope of their current responsibilities. This will remind them of their role and their importance within the greater team.
● Be flexible and open to new ideas. Remote teams are so much more than groups of co-workers based in different parts of the world. They consist of like-minded, skilled professionals that share ethics and values, and could facilitate each other’s growth.
If you treat the work of your remote team from a purely pragmatic viewpoint, you’re missing a golden opportunity.
You’ll miss out on creating a workplace where people are eager to share ideas, passions, and willingness to commit themselves.
Whether it’s investing in home-office tools such as portable printers to enhance productivity, or thinking up a concept for a new product or service, give them the platform to express their ideas.
● Consider hosting real-life meetups. Face-to-face meetings and professional retreats are excellent ways for remote workers to meet, socialise, and brainstorm. If you have an office, you can welcome new employees and host onboarding sessions there before allowing them to shoulder remote responsibilities.
● Make tasks collaborative and fun. Your ultimate priority may be maintaining workplace productivity, but allowing fun and informal banter helps your company keep a humane and worker-centric approach to its daily operations.
Promote and encourage creative collaborations between team members. Allow them to escape their monotonous daily routines from time to time with ice breakers, team outings, and casual brainstorming sessions.
● Encourage healthy competition. Spirited competition between colleagues can motivate every member of a team to keep up with their peers and collaborate regularly. Promoting healthy competitiveness can also help remote workers feel more included in team activities.
● Develop an inclusive environment. We’ve already mentioned that remote workers are prone to feeling excluded. You will find that this effect only gets worse in a non-inclusive setting. Modern employment approaches focus on human-centric environments that encourage constant growth and personal development.
Companies that recognise the value of talent and skill know that paying their employees is not enough to keep them around. Employees need to feel valued, welcomed, and respected at work—not excluded due to factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, religion, or socio-economic class.
● Show your appreciation. There are so many ways to show your appreciation for your remote team. Offer them positive, honest feedback and regular reminders of their value. Acknowledge their suggestions and ideas, and respect their freedom of personal expression. Of course, an annual performance bonus goes a long way in making staff members feel valued too.
Focusing on the People
At the end of the day, you need to understand how to best interact with remote customer service, customer experience, or contact centre employees if you want to make work engaging and fun for them.
Behind every professional is a person who has their own personality, likes and dislikes, ambitions, fears, and personal life.
These factors can have a direct impact on their workplace performance.
Productivity is always a priority during working hours, but it pays to dig deeper and discover what drives your remote workers on an individual level.
Once you understand and respect the people behind the screens, you will be more than ready to support them and provide engagement that truly resonates.
It’s that personal touch that will motivate them to go the extra mile and integrate willingly and actively with not just their team, but with your company as a whole.