Keeping remote workers engaged should be a priority

22 October 2020 3 min. read

Keeping remote workers energised and engaged should be a priority for Australian companies that want to maintain productivity and profitability in the long term, writes Matt Seadon, General Manager Asia Pacific at Achievers, an international employee engagement consultancy and software vendor.

While some Australian businesses, particularly those yet to embrace cloud computing and digital transformation, have struggled with the shift to remote working, scores of others have found having a home-based team no impediment to output. So much so that some of the country’s biggest players, including Atlassian and Twitter, have announced they’ll be allowing their teams to keep working from home forever. 

Riverbed’s Future of Work Global Survey 2020 suggests there’ll be scores of others following suit. A whopping 95% of respondents indicated they were now comfortable with staff working remotely. That’s likely to lead to a 50% increase in the number of individuals doing so in the post-Covid-19 era, the report notes.

Benefits for people and business

Making remote working part of the permanent modus operandi will call for significant spending on tools and technologies, with 55% of survey respondents planning to invest in enhancing remote work performance in 2021. 

Engaging differently

It will also call for a commitment to connecting with employees in new ways, if they’re to remain energised and engaged, once the remote working honeymoon period ends and they settle into permanent life in the home office. 

That means striving to ensure the daily virtual stand-up meeting on Zoom is as inclusive and engaging as its real life equivalent, running check-ins and pulse surveys to see how staff are travelling, when asking the question in person is no longer possible, and finding acceptable substitutes for morning tea in the staff room or after work drinks, if there’s an occasion to celebrate.

Recognising and rewarding remotely

It also means finding impactful ways to recognise and reward team members for their efforts when you’re unable to give them a pat on the back in person and will support productivity, profitability and shareholder value.

Recognising employees doesn’t change just because employees are no longer based in a central location. In fact, acknowledging their efforts, in an authentic and meaningful way, is more important than ever when they’re left largely to their own devices at home. Fail to give them the affirmation and support they’re seeking and you run the risk of their becoming disengaged and demotivated over time.

Benefits for people and business

More concerningly, you may not realise they’ve lost their mojo until an email announcing their resignation arrives in your inbox and it’s too late to do anything about it. You then face the challenge of finding and training a replacement – and crossing your fingers and hoping history doesn’t repeat. 

Investing in engagement

A willing workforce will always be your biggest asset. Fostering a company culture which recognises and rewards hardworking contributors, regardless of whether they’re working at home or in head office, is key to creating a positive and engaged team – one that’s more likely to soldier on and stick around.

In these uncertain times, it’s an investment in individuals and in your organisation’s future you can ill afford not to take.