Leading Remotely: How to Keep Your Team Engaged

Working with remote teams can be a great way to expand your talent pool and find suitable candidates for various positions. While the pandemic has shown that it is possible for companies to lead remotely, the challenges that it brings aren’t always easy to resolve either.

But with the number of businesses that have managed to build highly-productive teams scattered around the world, it’s evident that there are methods anyone could use to keep teams engaged, happy, and focused on the goals at hand.

So, how can leaders ensure that their remote teams are functioning effectively? Let’s go over some of the best strategies for getting on the right path towards good remote team engagement.

Listen to Their Needs

A good leader isn’t someone who shouts commands from their tower. Instead, it’s someone who rallies people towards a single goal and puts them in a position to succeed. 

But for managers, leading remotely is another challenge. They face a completely different work environment, so anticipating their needs shouldn’t be left to guesswork.

Instead, a good manager should prioritize regularly talking to their remote employees and carefully listening for any feedback, suggestions, or issues they might be facing. Then, the manager will better understand the most pressing issues and start developing plans to make things better.

At the same time, leaders should be willing to ask for feedback when making important decisions that impact the team. This will ensure that the team understands what’s being done and is behind the decision.

Acknowledge Good Work

Many parts of the in-office experience are hard to replicate when working remotely. The small talk with co-workers can sort of be replaced by message apps, but countless little details simply can’t be the same.

However, one area that leaders need when leading remotely is to try provide positive reinforcements and praise for good work. Remote employees work just as hard (if not harder) but rarely get the same recognition for their work because it’s simply not as visible.

So make sure you find ways to show appreciation when someone does a good job or excels in their work.

Even something as seemingly simple as a quick message congratulating and thanking them for their work can provide a significant boost in morale and keep people engaged in their work.

Utilize Virtual Team Building Opportunities

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Another great way to help remote employees feel a part of the team is to organize virtual meet-ups.

This can be used to improve:

  • Intercommunication skills
  • Team chemistry
  • Have fun in a less formal and work-driven environment 

You could even make a tradition out of it, organizing monthly Happy Hour Fridays or a virtual lunch and learn. The latter can help showcase the different skills and knowledge of a remote team, with those who show initiative to prepare a presentation and help others learn something in the process.

Whatever you choose, the key is to ensure that everyone is given a chance to participate. While it’s not advisable to force people to attend, you should get to know what people would like these virtual meetings to look like and build on that feedback when developing ideas.

Talk About Growth Opportunities

A motivated and engaged employee needs to know what they are working towards. However, that doesn’t mean the current project but also the big picture aspects such as where their career is headed.

You want to make sure that your remote employees feel like they can grow with your company.

When you have remote workers you want to keep on for longer, make sure you schedule a time to discuss their future with your company:

  • Career aspirations
  • Potential growth opportunities within the company, and
  • How your company could help them get there.

Sometimes, even a single productive conversation can completely shift the remote employee’s perspective. This will create a stronger bond and dramatically boost employee loyalty.

Bottom Line

Remote teams can be just as productive and effective as in-office employees, but you should know how to engage.

In this article, we’ve covered a few effective strategies that should make the process of putting your remote employees in a position to succeed much easier. 

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