How To Keep Your Remote Employees Engaged

Are you giving your off-site employees the opportunities and tools necessary to stay engaged?


Remote employees are a portion of the workforce that tends to get left out of the important conversation about employee retention.  The number of U.S. workers currently telecommuting is at 37%; with continued projected growth, it is imperative to include these employees in the conversation. It is apparent how important this section of the workforce is and additional consideration needs to come into play when discussing retention for all employees

Let’s start by dispelling some of the most common misconceptions surrounding remote workers:

  • Remote workers have a higher productivity rate than their in-person counterparts
  • Allowing employees to work remotely can reduce employee turnover rates by over 50%
  • Telecommuters have a lower stress rate and higher morale
  • When allowed to work from home, absenteeism went down


Here are the 5 best ways to set up remote employees for success and keep them engaged:


  1. Treat remote employees like your in-house employees:
    This may seem like a no-brainer but because remote employees are not physically in front of you every day, it is easy to let these standards slip. There seems to be a stigma around how exactly you should treat and interact with your remote employees. A great baseline is to do the same for your remote employees as you would in-house staff. Are you setting up an in-person training on new software? Have your remote employees join via video conference. Do you have weekly meetings with your in-house employees? Schedule weekly meetings with your remote employees too.
  2. They should feel like part of your company culture:
    Whether someone is remote or not, they need to be included in the cultural parts of the company. As we know, company culture can be a large reason someone takes a job so having remote workers contribute to the culture can make a big difference for their engagement levels. Have your remote worker plan the next company volunteer opportunity. A great choice is tutoring children – something remote workers and in-house workers can do together for a good cause. Or, if there are office Birthday celebrations have your remote workers video in so they can send their Birthday wishes too. Don’t forget to send them a cupcake if it is their Birthday!
  3. Start them in the office, then transition to off-site:
    Whenever possible, start your remote employee on-site for training or on a part time on-site schedule for their first 30-60 days. This helps builds the personal connections and trust with supervisors and staff team members that helps to create a positive dynamic. Having a structured first experience where they can learn the culture of your company will set expectations around workflow, deadlines, and your general processes and procedures. After their first 60 days on-site, off-site employees should have the expectation of coming into headquarters 5-10% of the time. Team building events, the company holiday party, a new campaign launch, or Client visits are especially great times for them to work in-office.
  4. Keep it casual:
    Remote workers receive less coaching and mentoring than in-house staff. A main culprit is the fact that in-house employees can easily stop by their manager’s office for guidance or simply turn their chair around to ask a quick question. Set up your remote employees on instant chat platforms such as Slack, Google Hangouts, or Yammer. This allows them to directly connect to managers to ask quick questions and receive feedback in a less formal setting. This is a great way to connect remote employees with their managers to receive the engagement and attention that can be missing when not communicating in-person.
  5. Make it personal:
    At the end of the day, we are really talking about individual employees, not just segments of the workforce. Take a step back and have the manager talk to each remote employee about what support they need in order to perform at their best within their unique situation. The benefit for many remote workers is the ability to have flexible schedules outside of the original 9am-5pm working hours. Make sure managers are familiar with their remote employee’s schedules; they need to be aware of their employee’s time zone, productive hours, and to reach a mutual understanding surrounding personal family time. Their answers may shift over time so it is important to keep this an on-going conversation included in your monthly check-ins.


Working with remote employees has been an eye opener for me. I now have the possibility of working with the best team, regardless of their location, time zone or lifestyle. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is to let go of questioning such as “Are they really working as much as they say they are?” Instead, I track success based on their deliverables, which not only creates a productive and engaging environment but also a positive, trusting, relationship for both myself and my remote team. Remember that remote employees are fundamental components of your team and should be treated as such.






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