How to Engage Remote Employees: 15 Effective Strategies

Katie Liston


Employee Engagement

Has your organization switched to remote or hybrid work in the past few years? Consider these remote employee engagement ideas and activities to keep your team motivated, productive, and inspired while working from home.

The corporate workplace has seen some tumultuous years since the COVID-19 pandemic. While some organizations are slowly beginning to encourage employees to return to the office, many more have come to value the benefits of remote and flexible work.

To attract and retain top talent, today’s leading organizations will continue to offer remote work options well into the future. But they’ll also need to consider how to engage remote employees and connect them to in-person teams.

We’ve compiled 15 remote employee engagement ideas to serve up some inspiration and give internal communicators a helping hand.

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15 Remote Employee Engagement Activities and Ideas

ContactMonkey is no stranger to remote and hybrid work. We’ve tried out both workplace models and have also found ourselves wondering how to engage remote employees in meaningful ways to overcome common remote working communication challenges. After several years of successfully operating as a dispersed team, we can confidently say that we’ve learned a thing or two about remote employee engagement.

Below, we’ve broken down 15 ways to engage remote employees, maintain a strong remote company culture, and ensure employee participation from anywhere. Let’s dive in!

1. Establish guidelines for remote work

Remote teams are more likely to succeed if you set clear expectations. The goal is to provide them with structure and the remote team communication tools to help them succeed.

Establish guidelines for remote work and create boundaries so work doesn’t creep into personal time. Build your employees’ confidence by demonstrating the organization’s trust in them. Empowering employees will also boost productivity.

So what should these guidelines look like? We recommend focusing on the following:

  • Work hours: Let your employees know when you expect them to be working. If you’re offering flexible scheduling, specify the window of time that employees must be available.
  • Communication: Specify the type of communication that needs documentation versus what’s acceptable for phone calls, meetings, and IM.
  • Results: Explain how you will evaluate productivity. Is it by meeting deadlines, quality of the project, or responsiveness?

The list above is a starting point. Expand your company’s remote-work guidelines to include any and all information that clarifies employees’ expectations.

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2. Prioritize remote employee engagement in your internal communications strategy

A strong internal communications strategy is the cornerstone to effective remote employee engagement. Consider employees’ communication preferences, and make it easier for them to collaborate with different employee engagement apps: email, video, instant messaging, or voice calls.

Put guidelines in place to explain which method of communication is appropriate, depending on the content. We recommend using our internal communication strategy checklist to ensure you’re doing all you can to improve communication at your organization.

With an internal communications tool like ContactMonkey, you can also measure engagement and pivot your communications accordingly.

One way to increase employee engagement and retention in an email is to personalize your subject lines. These types of subject lines are 37% more likely to be opened.

With ContactMonkey’s “Merge Tags” feature, you can create personalized subject lines (and body copy) for every employee on your contact list, all through Outlook or Gmail.

For more tips, check out our corporate communications playbook for a remote work-first world.

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3. Bolster employee engagement with a communications tool

Internal communications digital transformation is making it easier to connect remote teams. Implementing an all-in-one in employee engagement tool is a simple way to make engaging remote teams more simple and efficient.

Today’s tools let you easily communicate, obtain feedback, and analyze remote employee engagement through a single interface.

Armed with workforce analytics, you can gain insights into your employees’ communication—such as who’s reading your emails—and improve processes across the board.

ContactMonkey takes employee analytics one step further with segmented email stats, which let you filter campaign statistics by job title, office location, and department.

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Compare performances for different campaigns side by side to identify what works and what doesn’t. Then, adjust your communications accordingly.

You can maximize your email engagement by analyzing the best times to send internal newsletters. Then, evaluate and improve employee engagement with deep insight into the behavior of your remote workers.

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4. Have regular check-ins with your employees

This is one of the most crucial, but often overlooked remote employee engagement ideas. But for a company to keep its team members invested, employee input is critical.

Use employee feedback to measure your internal communications, set benchmarks, and find areas for improvement.

Without the opportunity to meet face-to-face or gauge nonverbal cues, surveys are an ideal way to measure remote employee engagement.

With team members’ responses, you can refine your company’s employee engagement best practices and take the organization in the right direction.

ContactMonkey allows you to gather real-time employee feedback with pulse surveys, emoji reactions, and employee Net Promoter Scores (eNPS):

With ContactMonkey you can quickly and easily send employee engagement surveys via Outlook or Gmail. Learn how your remote employees are feeling and gather great ideas to help them get along better.

5. Recognize employee wins

Across remote teams, it’s easier for employees’ hard work to be overlooked (out of sight, out of mind).

That’s why an important remote employee engagement idea is to find opportunities to appreciate your dispersed workers at a time when they need it most.

After all, employing creative and fun employee recognition ideas is a driving force behind employee engagement.

To motivate your team while everyone is working from home, consider sending out appreciation emails to your team recognizing outstanding work and highlight wins. Send these celebratory messages regularly as a part of your design thinking and internal communications strategy.

Encourage employees to express appreciation by nominating a team member. With ContactMonkey’s embedded surveys, you can easily and quickly collect these nominations to choose your next employee of the month (or week).

6. Schedule face time (as needed)

Effective communication depends on nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice. In remote settings, virtual meetings can help clarify messages and avoid misunderstandings.

But with Zoom fatigue on the rise, one of the most critical employee engagement best practices for remote workers is to avoid unnecessary meetings. Instead, find the middle ground:

  • Consider the importance of the meeting. If the communication is something that requires a simple response, other modes of communication may work just as well, if not better.
  • Set a meeting agenda so everyone’s prepared and the meeting doesn’t run past the scheduled end time.

If a meeting is necessary, it needs to be easy to schedule and confirm. ContactMonkey’s event management feature lets you seamlessly include invites in emails, manage RSVPs, and more.

Continue to engage with your remote workers as you would in the office. Schedule and manage registrations for your company’s all-hands meetings or webinars efficiently with ContactMonkey. Book a free demo to learn why employee engagement is so important.

7. Accommodate different employee working styles

For many people, working from home is a brand new experience that needs some getting used to. People will invariably work differently at home than they do at work, and the best companies help employees find the perfect remote work groove.

A key remote employee engagement idea is to survey employees about their preferences for meetings and deadlines. Based on the feedback, managers can adjust schedules to help employees avoid feeling overwhelmed.

With ContactMonkey, all of your feedback results are viewable from your analytics dashboard. After reviewing your survey responses, you’ll have a much better idea of how to schedule work for your employees and boost remote employee engagement.

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8. Feature remote workers in your employee communications

Think about it. We all love being the stars of our own show, don’t we? It’s the same with all your employees, whether they’re in-office workers or remote workers.

You need to make employees feel like they’re an integral part of your company and convince them the work they do matters.

Featuring remote employees in your internal communications and recognizing their achievements is an important remote employee engagement idea.

Here are some ways of incorporating remote workers into your company communications and helping them feel included:

  • Highlight one of your remote workers in your employee newsletter
  • Feature a Q&A section in an employee spotlight area
  • Personalize the subject line and body of your email with the name of each individual employee using awesome internal email tools, such as ContactMonkey
  • Start an internal communications podcast so remote workers can listen from wherever they’re working
  • Ensure your internal newsletter is responsive for the end user

If you decide to start an internal podcast or even a video series, a great remote employee engagement activity is to feature different teams within the organization and have them talk about projects that they’re working on, or what their day typically looks like.

9. Create a great remote onboarding experience

Remote work can be stressful for everyone, but especially for people starting out a new job. Internal communicators can help new remote workers feel like they’re a part of the team in a number of ways.

An easy remote employee onboarding activity is to take your introductions beyond small talk and set up 1 on 1 meetings between different team members.

Just a 30 minute conversation can help two people get to know one another, and can help break the ice for new employees.

Another fun remote employee engagement activity to help newbies feel included is to have them host your company’s end-of-day stand-up meeting.

Though they may be apprehensive at first, new employees can get creative introducing people they’ve never met before. It’s a great way to mix things up for your remote workforce and to help new employees feel welcome.

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10. Introduce team communication tools

Remote workers have limited opportunities for meeting face-to-face with their colleagues (if any). Luckily, platforms such as Yammer and Slack are a nice alternative to regular emails, and they make the work much more manageable.

Encouraging teams to participate in video calls will make internal communication feel more immediate and natural.

We’re fortunate to live in a world that presents an arsenal of tools for us to utilize. However, we must be mindful that we don’t subject employees to an overload of technology.

If they have too many tools that they have to use simultaneously, this will affect company productivity and remote employee engagement. Do your research, survey employees, and find the best employee engagement software for the job.

11. Keep teams close with collaboration software

An easy remote employee engagement idea is to introduce quality collaboration tools.

Communicating with your team on a project is crucial, but remote work can slow the process down considerably.

Even with apps like Slack you often have to wait on your peers before continuing with tasks. Whenever you can set up your team to work on a project simultaneously you can greatly improve your remote employee engagement.

With ContactMonkey your team can create and edit internal communications simultaneously. When you’re working on an email template, you can view who else is working on the email and see their changes in real-time:

You can leave comments for your team as well—just like in Google Docs. Simply tag those you want to mention and they’ll be automatically alerted of your comment via email. Spend less time creating your internal communications and more time reaping their benefits.

12. Start an employee of the month contest

Remote employee engagement activities, like games and virtual paint nights can be a lot of fun. But after a while, they too can get monotonous.

Incentivizing employee engagement activities is a fun way to give employees real motivation to participate. Easily gauge how to motivate your employees by conducting an employee motivation survey.

Employee of the month contests are a popular (and easy) way to get employees to participate in engagement activities. A simple prize, like an Amazon or Uber Eats gift certificate, can get employees thinking about how to put in extra effort in their jobs.

Have multiple candidates? You can use ContactMonkey to set up an employee of the month voting for your employees.

Let your employees choose which of their peers are most deserving of your monthly award!

13. Use gamification tactics to keep boost remote employee engagement

Gamification is an increasingly hot topic in the business world. Not only is it successful as a marketing strategy, but it also works well within internal communications.

Gamification can be described as, the use of game design elements, such as scoring, rewards or competition with others, in non-game contexts.

For business, gamification focuses on engaging people and creating behavioral change.

Some fun gamification ideas for remote employee engagement can involve:

  • Starting Trivia Tuesdays for an hour every week via a group Skype conference call
  • Announcing a photo competition for at-home offices and workstations to be featured in an upcoming employee newsletter
  • Matching remote workers up randomly with in-office workers for virtual coffee chats

14. Let your employees breathe

Implementing employee wellness initiatives is important for any team. But it’s an especially significant remote employee engagement idea.

Remote workers don’t commute to their workplace, which means they don’t get a chance to get outside during their workday.

Encourage your remote employees to take time each day to get some fresh air outside. Let employees know they’re free to take 30 minutes for a walk or quick meditation.

The break in the day will be welcome and help your employees stay refreshed while working.

You can take this strategy one step further by organizing walking meetings with your team. As long as everyone is able, schedule meetings for times when employees can go for walks. The change of scenery will be welcome and can spur conversation within your team.

15. Offer ongoing training and development opportunities

Employees crave learning and development opportunities, so make sure your internal communications are catering to that need.

For remote workers, you may consider recording employee coaching or training sessions on video to facilitate employee onboarding.

Remote workers coming into the company will feel less alienated. The training sessions will help them feel equipped to handle any new tasks and understand company policies and procedures.

You could also consider starting monthly webinars where you talk about diverse workplace topics such as mental health, or update remote workers on upcoming company events or initiatives.

The great thing about webinars is that if hosted live, they can provide workers with an opportunity to ask you questions on the spot. If they’re also on-demand, employees can choose to access the recording on their own time. Both of these methods are a surefire way to increase remote workforce engagement.

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Increase Remote Employee Engagement With ContactMonkey

With employees working remotely, communicators are having to work hard to overcome internal communication barriers, which is why it’s more essential than ever to use an all-in-one internal communications tool. Create visually attractive emails with ContactMonkey’s easy-to-use newsletter builder. Assess and boost employee engagement through ContactMonkey’s features: survey builder, event management, email analytics, and more.

Schedule a ContactMonkey demo and learn how our software can help you engage with your remote teams and improve internal communications.