These days, people love to work remotely and choose their own hours. The problem is that, when employees telecommute, it can be harder to keep them engaged, accounted for, and mentally present in their roles. But, using workforce management and employee engagement tools, you have a way of keeping remote employees “nearby.”
According to Gallup, 37% of today’s workers telecommute, a number four times higher than it was in 1995. Today’s communication technology has “shrunk” the world, in a sense, making 24/7 availability possible and allowing more jobs to be done outside of an office building. The potential for challenges come along with this phenomenon when you’re a company who employs or does business with remote workers, such as:
- It’s harder to make sure employees are on task.
- It’s harder to make sure employees aren’t working too much.
- It’s harder to keep employees engaged.
The flipside of communication technology, however, is that you have more ways to connect with employees than ever before. We’re no longer stuck with the cliché time punch card system or dull employee rewards like tenure plaques and “Employee of the Month” mugs. Here are few things you can do so that remote and on-site employees can collaborate and operate efficiently, while keeping employee motivation and engagement levels high.
Implement a time and attendance system.
One of the biggest challenges with managing remote employees is helping them balance and prioritize their workloads. Certainly you don’t want people to be slacking off at work, but on the flip side if employees are working too much, they run the risk of burning out and becoming much less effective in their roles. As a 2014 Stanford University study reported, working over 50 hours a week actually decreases employee productivity and output, while increasing employee absenteeism and turnover.
So, first things first: make sure you are supporting your remote employees by implementing a time and attendance tool such as Replicon’s TimeAttend system. Thanks to the advancements made in cloud and mobile technologies, the process can be simple and easy. You can also pair time and attendance systems with incentives and reward technologies to motivate and engage employees to accurately enter their hours.
Use an online rewards program.
Rewards are an easy and meaningful way to show remote employees you value their skills and appreciate when they go the extra mile. With online rewards programs, such as those provided by Loyaltyworks, you can implement a reward system based on “cyber currency” reward points. Those points can then redeemed through a Loyaltyworks online rewards catalog containing millions of merchandise items, as well as travel rewards and event tickets. The combination of online rewards and an immense reward catalog is specifically designed to have maximum personal value, since online rewards are easy to accumulate and can be redeemed for the exact items recipients want most. When your company rewards employees with the things they desire most of all—that trip to Bora Bora they’ve always dreamed about, for instance—it leads to long-term company loyalty and soaring employee engagement levels.
On top of all that, the digital and mobile nature of an online rewards program makes it an incredibly flexible employee motivation tool. You have a variety of options when it comes to rewarding and engaging remote employees. Maybe you want to combine your online rewards with Replicon’s time and attendance tool to reward them bonus points for a certain number of overtime hours, for instance. Or maybe you’d like to reward them for attending seminars and completing online training courses. With all the features and speed of online rewards programs, your options are virtually limitless.
Encourage better performances with a leaderboard.
Why do people go wild for video game high score rankings and “Top 10” lists? Because it’s fun to find out who’s beating who, who’s neck-and-neck, and who the underdogs are. Being number one is a great feeling, and leaderboards are an easy way to reinforce and expand on that feeling by making it visual. Use employee engagement tools such as a Loyaltyworks Leaderboard to display top performers and continually push remote employees to challenge themselves, break their own “personal best” performances, and stay ahead of the pack.
Spread positivity with an employee recognition tool.
Those who interact with their colleagues on a regular basis have the advantage of receiving praise and encouragement, which is a vital part of boosting employee motivation. A culture of employee recognition is often difficult to maintain with remote employees. Using online employee recognition software like Loyaltyworks’ Total Recognition Suite makes day-to-day employee recognition possible for those who work remotely, ensuring telecommuting employees still feel like they’re part of a team. When recognition is as easy as posting on a social media wall, all employees will be engaged and active on the fun, familiar platform.
Engage employees with gamification.
With over half the U.S. population playing mobile games and 700 million people worldwide playing online games, it’s no wonder that the gamification of online reward programs and employee engagement tools is so effective. Thanks to gamification incentives, Hewlett-Packard made a billion dollars and Cisco increased sales by 10%.
Bring gamification into rewards by turning performances into a competition (through leaderboards, graphic trophies and badges, and ranking statuses) or by turning reward distribution into an irresistible game that increases engagement and keeps remote employees continuously checking in with your website, time management system or online reward program.
When it comes to employees who work remotely, many companies still haven’t figured out how to cultivate an inclusive work environment for its remote workers. Despite the rising numbers of telecommuting and remote employees, turnover remains high: today’s average workers only stick with their employers for about four years. Luckily, cloud and mobile-based technologies make it easy for businesses to change their policies and culture to better manage and engage employees. By implementing the right blend of workforce management and employee engagement tools, you can make your business distinct among others, so that remote employees feel connected and loyal to your organization.