Keeping Virtual Workers Engaged

John Krautzel
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Virtual workers often have lower employee engagement than team members who work together in an office. Now that remote work is becoming more common, employers must find ways to keep their employees engaged and happy.

Create a Connection

One of the best ways employers can keep virtual workers engaged is by fostering a personal connection with each worker. When virtual workers know they matter to their superiors and workmates, they're more motivated and feel like an important part of the team.

Employers can help virtual workers feel connected with their teammates by organizing virtual get-togethers that allow remote employees to socialize. By providing discussion forums, instant messaging or video call technology that virtual workers can use to chat with each other about work or any other issues, employers can help to recreate the "water cooler" environment found in many successful workplaces.

Improve Communication Methods

When it comes to virtual workers, employers should be wary of "one size fits all" communication. Every virtual worker is an individual, which means that different members of a remote team prefer to communicate in different ways. Employers should try to accommodate the communication preferences of all remote workers by providing various ways to get in touch.

One of the greatest benefits of remote work technology is that employees can work from anywhere in the world. However, having a geographically diverse workforce can pose challenges when scheduling meetings. Employers should be sensitive to time zone issues when sending emails, scheduling calls and setting work deadlines. Use email scheduling software to ensure that messages arrive at an appropriate time. Sending messages to virtual workers when they have already finished work for the evening can lead to them feeling stressed and resenting the pressure put on them.

Employers should also ask for feedback to find out whether remote workers feel included in the company. If workers raise issues, it is important to address them right away to improve engagement.

Make Engagement Fun

The term "gamification" means incorporating game-playing elements into the work environment, and many employers use gamification to help improve employee engagement among virtual workers. Some companies use online scoreboards to motivate remote workers through competition, and others offer rewards for virtual workers who meet particular targets.

Game-based strategies should be carefully designed to ensure they are fun for virtual workers. The idea is to provide motivation through friendly competition and rewards, not to penalize virtual workers who are struggling.

Keeping virtual workers engaged is a challenge for many businesses. However, improving engagement is vital to keep performance and productivity levels high. Through a combination of good communication, personal connections, gamification and sensitivity to the needs of virtual workers, businesses can keep their remote teams engaged and working hard.

Photo courtesy of Maggie Verster at


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