What Is Remote Employee Engagement? Plus 8 Strategies to Enhance It

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Remote employee engagement refers to offsite workers' involvement and commitment to their organization's success. Discover how focused and dedicated employees benefit your company and eight ways you can help your remote staff become more engaged.

[Featured image] Remote worker at a laptop computer during a meeting

As remote work becomes more popular, businesses and organizations must adapt their strategies to enhance remote workers' employee success, retention, and productivity. One avenue through which you can do this is building remote employee engagement. In this article, we’ll explore what remote employee engagement is, the importance of it, and tips to boost it in your workplace.

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What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is a commitment that encompasses employee satisfaction, motivation, and effectiveness. It’s not just about employee contentment or happiness; engagement is a more profound concept that includes the willingness of an employee to invest effort and help the organization reach its goals. Engaged employees typically feel aligned with your company’s goals and values, take pride in their work, and want to contribute to your organization’s success. They are often more productive and likely to stay with your company long-term.

Read more: Employee Engagement: What It Is and Why It Matters

What is remote employee engagement?

Remote employee engagement takes the principles of employee engagement and applies them to remote or virtual work contexts. Maintaining engagement in a remote work environment can be more challenging due to physical distance, lack of face-to-face interaction, and communication challenges. Therefore, if you have an online workforce, it's important to find ways to engage your remote employees to increase the chances of your business's success.

Why is remote employee engagement important?

Engaged employees, including remote workers, benefit their employers in several ways. With engaged employees, some of the organizational benefits you may experience include:

Increased productivity

Engaged employees often display a higher level of dedication to their tasks and a greater willingness to put in extra effort to help their organization succeed. Remote employees who feel recognized for their work and efforts tend to be more engaged. This leads to higher retention rates, significantly affecting your company’s long-term success.

Employee retention

When your company prioritizes employee retention, it can reap significant benefits, including maximizing its profits, staff morale, productivity, company culture, and customer satisfaction. Engaged employees typically feel more enthusiastic about their work and committed to their organization, reducing the turnover rate. The cost to replace employees is high, not only monetarily but also in relation to productivity. With a higher potential for remote employees to feel isolated and disengaged, employee retention is a crucial benefit of remote employee engagement.

Employee job satisfaction

Remote workers might find more job satisfaction than their in-person counterparts, and job satisfaction heavily influences employee engagement. According to a survey by Owl Labs in 2022, 86 percent of workers said they would find better job satisfaction levels from working at home, leading to better overall retention [1].

However, the importance of remote employee engagement goes beyond individual performance. It aligns with broader business objectives and helps create a positive corporate culture. A lack of engagement among remote workers can lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection, which may, in turn, affect overall team cohesion and collaboration. This is why engaging remote employees is not a "nice-to-have" but a "must-have" in virtual company environments.

Read more: 2024 Guide to Managing Remote Teams

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8 strategies to enhance remote employee engagement

To enhance employee engagement, take a multifaceted approach designed specifically for those in remote environments. Some ways in which you can engage employees include:

1. Prioritize clear communication.

Foster open and transparent communication channels. Check-ins, group meetings, and individual conversations can keep remote employees in the loop and feeling connected. Utilize various tools like video conferencing, chat applications, and emails to ensure effective and inclusive communication.

2. Foster a sense of community.

Create opportunities for social interaction and team bonding. Virtual coffee breaks, team-building activities, and online happy hours provide a sense of community and alleviate feelings of isolation.

3. Set clear expectations.

Clearly outline roles, responsibilities, and expectations for remote workers. You can streamline this process by providing several remote or hybrid work options, clearly outlining each type of position, the expectations, and when it applies.

4. Provide the right tools.

Equip remote employees with the technology and resources needed to succeed. This includes access to collaboration platforms and secure network connections. Access to instant messaging, video conferencing, cloud storage, and ways to manage group projects remotely can be game-changing in creating a more pleasant and engaging remote environment. You should also ensure your workers have appropriate hardware, including laptops and phones, that support a high-quality remote environment.

5. Recognize and reward efforts.

Acknowledge achievements and efforts regularly. You can show recognition of varying levels, such as a shout-out during a team meeting or as bonuses and promotions. Recognition fosters motivation and shows employees that you value their hard work.

6. Encourage company-wide remote policies.

By implementing supportive remote working practices and policies, you can help build employee engagement by establishing consistent procedures and increasing happiness levels for remote workers. For example, you can start a virtual company newsletter, create a standardized remote work handbook, or implement workflow changes such as a collaborative to-do list or workspace where employees can find their tasks. You can also train managers to manage remote teams effectively, increasing overall inclusivity.

7. Recognize what makes remote work special.

Employers find that many employees prefer remote workplaces to in-person workplaces and have higher happiness levels. A survey by Owl Labs found that remote work allows flexibility, work-life balance, and stress reduction for employees, which are highly valued—often even above compensation amounts [1]. Employers who take the time to listen to what their employees value and make real changes to support them can develop the most effective business environments.

8. Measure and assess engagement.

Regularly assess remote employee engagement through surveys, feedback sessions, and performance metrics. Understanding where engagement is strong or where it may be lagging can help you tailor specific interventions. Depending on each employee's stage in their lifecycle, different strategies may be more effective for their engagement.

Build business skills with Coursera.

Remote employee engagement is one piece of building an effective team. Consider the Corporate Strategy or Financial Markets courses on Coursera to learn additional in-demand business skills, such as corporate strategy, financial management, risk management, and more. 

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Article sources

  1. Owl Labs. “State of remote work, 2022.” Accessed November 27, 2023.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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