How to Keep Your Remote Workforce Engaged (and Secure) in the New Year

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Dec 17, 2020

It’s safe to say everyone has pandemic fatigue. People are frustrated with wearing masks everywhere they go and the lack of social interaction, and in some cases, that fatigue is spilling over into remote work life. In September, we published a blog post about strategies for working from home to help remote workers and businesses with building a routine that encourages employee engagement and team collaboration in our new virtual environment.

Remote work is not going anywhere in 2021. Although we are starting to hear about Covid-19 vaccines, and it would appear that there is a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, many experts predict that it won’t be until spring of 2021 that most of America is vaccinated. Regardless of the pandemic, many organizations have found remote work to be a good fit, and the number of employees that are permanently working remote is set to double in 2021.

As we head into the new year, it’s important for employers to come up with strategies to keep their remote workforce both engaged and secure, for everyone's personal and technological well-being. Here are a few tips that may help.

1. Encourage your remote employees to think of their workspace in a new way

Remote employees should take time to plan out and personalize a dedicated workspace. This could mean rearranging their furniture in a home office, or simply doing their work tasks at the dining room table instead of on the couch. It could mean adding “office elements” to a home workspace or getting an entirely new desk or device. As the world returns to “normal” and the pandemic subsides, co-working spaces may become more and more popular. Consider setting up a co-working space on-site so that it will be available to your team to help build a sense of community. Finding a way to make a workspace feel fresh may encourage your once-virtual team to be engaged with their work in a new way, increase motivation and productivity levels, and build a strong remote work culture that will endure for your company.

2. Establish clear and measurable goals for remote workers

Goals are a lot more helpful when they can be measured with clear metrics. A specific goal or behavior that can be quantified (“make five calls an hour”) is going to be a lot more effective than a vague goal or behavior (“make a lot of sales calls”), for example. It’s also a good idea to break larger goals up into smaller tasks, and to regularly go over achievements and adjust goals/processes as needed.

3. Communicate regularly with your team

There are a ton of collaboration tools that will help you and your remote team to be able to communicate with each other regularly. Whether you are using a chat tool, video conferencing software, a file-sharing service, or all of the above, it’s important that you find a system that works for you and your virtual team. Read reviews of different tools and software to learn more about how they work for other teams. Create a virtual “water cooler” space and/or "happy hour" where your team members can socialize with each other just as they would in an actual office.

4. Encourage good security practices

There are a lot of different ways to encourage good cybersecurity, whether it’s requiring regular software updates or purchasing anti-virus software for everyone on your remote team. Don’t forget to have a look at our IT security checklist for remote workers for more innovative ideas on how to keep your virtual workers and businesses secure in the new year.

As we enter into 2021, it’s understandable that some members of your team may be sick of working remotely. Use the above suggestions to focus on how you can make your team more engaged with their work throughout the year.