Woman working remotely at her desk

How to engage remote employees

Discover the 7 strategies used by real companies to keep employees connected.

7 min read
Table of Contents

The future of work has arrived. Here’s how to make it work for you.

Download The Four-Way Fit Guide

We already know that flexible work arrangements are attractive to employees, but now we have data to demonstrate its value to employers. When done right, flexible work improves productivity, motivation, and output—71% of teams report a boost in innovation with flexible work arrangements, while only 14% of employees report feelings of burnout, compared to 36% with no flexibility on the job.


Of course, the key words here are “when done right.” Despite employees’ desire to work from home and the benefits of doing so, many struggle to focus on their work and feel seen by their peers. And according to Gallup research, remote employees’ connection to the organization’s purpose is declining. Knowing how to engage remote employees matters more than ever, especially as nearly 62% of companies are planning more remote work now and in the coming years.


Let’s explore some creative ways companies are engaging employees across time zones, prioritizing work-life balance, and boosting company culture for their distributed employees.


Why Remote Employee Engagement Matters


Remote work has created a shift in how employees collaborate and how they view their purpose and role in the organization. For employees to engage at work, they need to feel a sense of belonging and be motivated to perform their best.


However, these criteria are harder to come by in a remote work environment. Here’s some food for thought:


  • 37% of employees feel disconnected from their peers
  • 50% of remote Gen Z employees struggle with inter-employee communication
  • 60% of employees feel there’s been a significant shift in workplace culture after going remote
  • 59% say that distractions at home are the top challenge of working remotely, followed by difficulties in staying motivated
  • A lack of connection to peers and feelings of loneliness can decrease productivity by 21%


Employee engagement matters in any workplace setting, but there are unique challenges companies must address in a work-from-home approach.


What Keeps Remote Employees Engaged?


Harvard Business Review shares several common denominators of leaders that excel in employee engagement:

  • They have a shared commitment and mutual expectations
  • They check in often
  • They show appreciation frequently in small and large ways
  • They find ways to be together while apart

Other research shows that employees who feel empowered and heard are more likely to feel motivated to do their best work. They feel excited about their work and are heavily involved in it. Or, to put it another way, their work becomes an extension of themselves. When employees feel a sense of purpose in their work, they’re more likely to give their work the attention it deserves.


How to Engage Remote Employees: 7 Efficient, Effective Strategies


Let’s look at some helpful strategies to engage remote employees and make ongoing engagement a top priority.


1. Don’t Ditch Team-Building Events


While teams may not be physically present in the same space, team building still holds weight in employee engagement. Workers crave social interactions, especially if they’re working in isolation. By organizing team-building events, either in-person or virtually, teams have time to connect on a more casual level. Some ideas for remote team building include: Virtual happy hours Online team-building games Workshops and trainings Group lunches In-person team gathering Ask each remote employee for feedback about how they’d like to connect with their peers. Learning about their preferences will help you plan impactful team-building events that work.


2. Trade Email for Messaging


Apps When working remotely, employees don’t have the benefit of getting immediate answers from their peers, but messaging tools like Slack, Teams, and Asana, offer much faster back-and-forth communication than email. Messaging apps have become an integral part of daily life outside of work, so it’s no surprise that employees feel comfortable using them for work, too. They’re better for “live chat,” plus they help foster connections between peers that the email inbox simply can’t replicate. Also, you can share documents, attachments, photos, and more without the typical hassles of email attachments. Create group threads, have private one-on-ones, or share interactive content like animated emojis or GIFs. It’s a more personal look and feel, plus it keeps all conversations in one easy-to-find location.


3. Use Flex Workspace for In-Person


Meetings While the majority of remote employees want to continue working remotely, the value of face-to-face time cannot be overstated. On days when working from home is too distracting or otherwise not feasible, or for when tasks are just better done together, having a flex office space for in-person meetings can close the gaps in engagement.


Companies can offer coworking spaces in different ways:

  • A monthly stipend that lets employees choose their space
  • A business subscription for on-demand access

Offering hybrid options allows remote teams to hold in-person meetings when needed, in a location that works for all parties, even if they’re not near the corporate office. They can find office space on demand based on working hours that make sense to them. Or, individual workers can use a hybrid space when they need to buckle down and focus or when they’re traveling for work.


4. Reduce the Duration and Frequency of Meetings


Zoom fatigue is real. While video meetings are a necessary part of remote work, studies have long shown that too much screen time isn’t good for health. Coupled with prolonged video meetings, employees are burning out at a faster rate.


When employees are spending precious time in video meetings, they’re left with less time to do their focused work. The remedy: keep meetings shorter and only call meetings when absolutely necessary.


One report prior to the pandemic noted that remote employees were giving time to 10 or more meetings every week. Today, half of employees spend 1-3 hours or more in remote meetings each week, and about the same amount of time preparing for each meeting.


Meetings are costly, totaling about 300,000 work hours and $37 billion in losses each year. It not only helps employee engagement to reduce meetings to the bare minimum, but doing so can also make companies more productive and profitable.


5. Create a Self-Service Resource Library


Remote employees need access to certain resources to do their best work. But when those resources or knowledge aren’t available, they can waste precious time waiting for answers—and become disengaged in the process.


Research shows that nearly half of employees struggle to find documents and other work-related resources. This brings work to a grinding halt and wastes an average of five hours every week while waiting for the right people to respond.


The solution: Create a shared resource library so employees can help themselves. From policies and process manuals to images and documents, every remote employee should have the ability to access and contribute to a centralized information hub. This not only keeps work moving but also engages employees in contributing to a collaborative work environment.


6. Invest in Remote Employee Recognition


Rewards and recognition are mainstays in physical offices, but they should be used to engage remote employees, too. Employee recognition allows them to become known among their remote peers, especially those who came on board after the transition to remote work.


It also serves as a reminder that the company takes notice of a job well done and that their work still delivers purpose and value to the organization.


Some ways you might invest in remote employee recognition include:

  • Announcements via internal email newsletter
  • Calling out employees during video meetings
  • Sending personalized care packages
  • Recognizing employees on the company’s social media channels
  • Implementing peer-to-peer recognition programs

Celebrating accomplishments publicly not only makes remote employees feel appreciated but also encourages them to continue excelling in their roles.


7. Simplify Your Remote Technology Stack


Technology should simplify the way you work. But when you have too many apps and tools to get the job done, it can have the opposite effect. On average, employees toggle between 13 to 30 different tools each day, resulting in a loss of 5 hours per week.


Each switch is considered an interruption to their day, and we lose about 20% of our cognitive power each time we shift tasks.


To lessen the effects of context switching, try simplifying your remote tech stack. It not only gives employees fewer tools to manage, but it can also be beneficial for their mental health when their focus isn’t being pulled in multiple directions.


Engaging Remote Employees Today for Long-Term Benefits


Learning how to engage remote employees is just as critical to your operations as maintaining financial records or marketing your services. Simply having employees isn’t enough—they also need to feel empowered to do their best work and see how they’re making a difference.


LiquidSpace is here to help you navigate the future of work with on-demand and dedicated flex workspaces. Contact us today for a free demo or check out the spaces near you to make a booking.

Ready to continue your journey?

There are two great ways to do it.