Remote workers are disengaged – but there is a solution

by Brett Henebery08 May 2017
A recent Gallup study shows that employees who work remotely 100% of the time are the least likely to be engaged.

Since 2013, the percentage of employees who work remotely full time has increased from 15 to 20% - a figure that is expected to increase further.

According to Gallup, the most successful work-from-home programs are those that are disciplined in creating structured processes and plans to equip their remote workers with the tools and support they need to get their jobs done.

However, not all organisations might be equipped to do this.

Below, author, speaker and consultant, Chip Espinoza, told Training Zone that one of the best ways to keep employees who are working remotely engaged is to establish peer-to-peer informal learning.

“One of the best ways to learn is by example. Informal learning through fellow employees will help your training along by giving participants real life examples to model after and more resources to turn to for help,” said Espinoza.

“Avoid keeping your remote employees separate; connect them and encourage them to communicate amongst themselves, or set up some sort of employee social media network that will let them easily communicate and keep track of what other employees are doing.”

Another way to ensure these learners don’t disengage is to have at least one face-to-face meeting – even if most remote learners prefer not to communicate in person.

A survey conducted by West Unified Communications, who gained responses from 300 remote workers, found that 75% of respondents rely on both phone and email.

“Although this isn’t an option for everyone, there is still something absolutely invaluable and irreplaceable about face-to-face meetings,” said Espinoza.

“The best way to prepare an employee for training and bring them into the company fold is to begin with face-to-face meetings and training sessions before remote work can start.”

Finally, Espinoza said allowing remote workers flexibility is crucial to ensuring they’re engaged and performing highly.

“Employees look to remote work because they want more flexibility, both in where and when they work,” he said.

“Your remote employees are almost certainly going to be mostly left to complete work on their own, which means their training styles should follow a similar method.”

Although it’s critical to check in, Espinoza said it’s important to talk to your employees.

“Make yourself available to clarify when needed and follow up to see if they’re learning what they need to. It’s best to give your employees the information they need and let them travel through it at their own pace,” he said.

Related stories:
The pros and cons of hiring remote workers
Is L&D adapting to the times?
Why e-learning is better than face-to-face learning