Secrets to Keeping a Geographically Distributed Workforce Engaged

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Secrets to Keeping a Geographically Distributed Workforce Engaged

June 28, 2022  |  Tamlyn Wood Categories: BlogRemote Working

In both the small and large business world, distributed workforce models are becoming increasingly popular. Before the pandemic, there were distributed teams already in existence, but after the pandemic, the number of people working remotely expanded exponentially.

As these teams continue to grow remotely, there is a pressing issue of trying to keep everyone happy and engaged. So how do you keep your distributed workforce engaged? Continue reading below to learn more about keeping distributed teams engaged and who you can contact for more information!

What Is a Distributed Workforce?

A distributed workforces are when you have multiple employees working from different locations. They may work at a satellite office, head office, co-working spaces, or in the comfort of their own homes.

Some distributed workforces embrace hybrid models where employees can work at different locations. For example, an employee may spend two days working at home and the other three in an office environment.

How to Keep Geographically Dispersed Teams Engaged

A common issue that many distributed teams faced was their engagement level. Because these teams work in different locations at different times, it can be hard to keep the team engaged with one another. A great way to keep them engaged is to create opportunities that bring them together.

Anticipate Challenges

Part of your role as a manager is to anticipate possible challenges that can come with managing distributed teams. It is much better to be proactive than it is to be reactive.

For example, many of your employees probably have children they must care for while they work. There are times when they may need to take additional breaks to tend to their kids or a better schedule that allows them to work around their children’s activities.

Creating a flexible schedule not only provides them with the option to create their own schedule but also makes them feel valued, making them want to comply and be engaged with the company.

Create Opportunities to Bring the Team Together

It can be challenging for teams to build the trust they need to perform at their best when teams aren’t working in the same place. So to make sure everyone is familiar with one another and to build that trust, you can reschedule team-building events to help your employees connect with one another.

For example, you can host weekly or bi-weekly lunch meetings that allow your employees to share important topics or catch up. You can have an option for your remote employees to tune in to engage them. For in-person employees, you can cater lunch, and for remote employees, you can give them a gift card to purchase a meal.

Ask For Feedback

What’s the best way to find out how to better manage your distributed workforce? Gathering feedback from your team. The last thing your team wants to feel is alone, especially when working remotely.

Consistently checking in with your team to see what is working and what is not working is an excellent way to spot any issues before they turn into serious problems. You can gather feedback through one-on-one meetings or employee feedback tools. If your employees prefer to give their feedback anonymously, give them that option as well.

Create Equal Opportunities

As a leader, you always want to make sure that you treat each of your members equally and fairly. When you’re managing remote teams, this can pose to be a challenge. For example, the pandemic proved that wellness initiatives were necessary to ensure a healthy balance between work and life.

If you plan on rolling out a wellness initiative for your in-office employees, make sure you create an opportunity for your remote employees to participate. If you plan on hosting weekly yoga sessions at the office with some healthy snacks, find a way to include your distributed workforce. This could mean sending them a snack box or providing a way to live stream the yoga session.

Create Clear Communication Paths

Communication across geographically dispersed teams is a common challenge many teams face. This is mainly because there are team members who are in your same time zone and others who operate in time zones opposite from yours. There is also the issue of internet troubles and the lack of nonverbal cues.

Creating a clear guideline for communicating with one another is crucial, so everyone knows who to reach out to when they need something specific. For example, if you have a remote employee who needs to reach out to someone in office, what is the best way for them to reach out? Is it better for them to send an email or message through Microsoft Teams or Slack?

Expectations on Response Times

Because there are varying time zones that your teams operate in, it would also be best if you set the ground rules for expectations on response times. For example, if you have someone who works on the east coast but they need to reach someone on the west coast, what is the appropriate amount of time they have to expect a response? Same day? Next day?

It is also best to set rules for urgent communication in situations like these. If you need to reach someone remotely urgently, how do you push that request, so they receive it within a timely manner?

Manage Your Distributed Workforce with Ease

As the workforce continues to change into environments where more and more employees work from home, you will want to ensure you have a good handle on keeping your team engaged. A distributed workforce can prove to be beneficial for both the employee and the employer, but it can be hard to keep everyone engaged.

Managing a global team can take a lot of work. Instead of struggling with that on your own, partner with a company that understands how to best manage distributed teams. If you are looking for the best solutions to keep your team engaged and well managed, contact us now!