How to improve employee engagement of remote workers

Published on: February 8, 2022


With the increase of remote work, the connection between managers and employees has changed. For managers, it’s more difficult to keep close contact with their employees and know how they are doing. Meanwhile, for employees, it’s more difficult to keep track of everything that is happening in their organisation. Chances are high that this affected the engagement quality of remote workers. Though, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are many things you can do to improve employee engagement. In this blog, we’ll share some tips. 

What is employee engagement?

Markos and Sridevi traced the construct of employee engagement, arguing that it depends on job satisfaction, employee commitment, and organisational citizenship behaviour. But it is more than that, the definition of employee engagement is: being emotionally attached to the organisation and highly involved in the job. Employees seek with enthusiasm the success of their employer. Most of the time, going the extra mile beyond what their contract actually demands. Engaged employees are more than just devoted employees. They are also emotionally and rationally involved in achieving the mission, and vision of the organisation. (source).

Improve autonomy to improve employee engagement

A scientific study performed during a lockdown in the COVID-pandemic reached interesting conclusions. People experiencing autonomy, while working remotely, have a significant impact on work engagement. Still, the same scientific study also showed that some employees value autonomy more than others. Previous in-office research also showed a strong relationship between autonomy and employee engagement. In this blog, we talk more about the need for autonomy in remote working.

Foster psychological safety to improve engagement

Employees must feel safe when communicating with their managers, especially when working remotely. Studies showed that having a psychosocial safe environment can improve engagement. Reducing emotional exhaustion and fatigue. This was also found for remote workers during the pandemic. Being able to communicate openly with managers to share issues. About their work or even personal issues will contribute to solving or taking these issues into consideration. Ultimately, improving employee engagement. 

Make work meaningful

If employees feel they are contributing to something meaningful, their engagement increases. Being engaged is about being emotionally involved with the work you’re doing. Strong and inspirational leadership will contribute to their motivation. This makes employees go that extra mile, doing the right thing that aligns with their values. However, being too emotionally engaged can also be a cause for burn-outs. We think that making work meaningful will make employees thrive

Actively involve employees 

Work can feel exhaustive and straining if it feels like executing tasks for someone else. Making employees actively involved in the organisation can improve their engagement. This happens when, for example, you encourage creativity for innovative solutions. When sharing interesting information with them (for example higher management issues, and asking their thoughts about it). Or actively involving them in educational programs (source). 

Focus on well-being

It’s difficult to improve the engagement of people who generally don’t feel well. Engagement is a side effect of an overall sense of well-being. Our latest whitepaper “The bright side of the pandemic” shows that many organisations are pivoting since the pandemic, towards a focus on the well-being and experience of their employees. Which has been scientifically shown to improve employee engagement. For example, we mention one study from the Global Wellness Institute finding that when U.S. workers feel physically or mentally unwell, it affects many aspects of their work performance. Including getting their work done (62%), work engagement (63%), and motivation (62%).

How to reach your remote workers?

We showed there are many paths to improve employee engagement. Still, the moment of communication is often rare and in meetings, there’s often much to discuss. Plus, there are also employees who will hide their level of engagement (during a meeting). To avoid the risk of being fired (remember creating psychological safety). As well, there might be many employees in your organisation to reach, which might be a challenge. So how do you approach this? 

First, it is important to understand what your employees are missing. Increasing employee engagement can be challenging due to the many paths available. So, launching an organisation-wide sampling app, like Habital could be a solution. The specific quick questions about engagement, well-being, and fitting solutions can bring (anonymous) insights about your employees. With insightful and comprehensive dashboards, you can use filters to determine the right solutions for the right people at the right time. Then, you know what to do for everyone when creating a safe, meaningful, and engaging workplace with autonomous, involved, healthy, and productive people.

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