If you're a business owner or manager who has a team of employees working in the field, remotely or at different job sites, you're probably familiar with the everyday challenges that come along with it. While this is a normal part of the remote or offsite workforce, it's important to provide incentives that will keep everyone engaged, motivated and informed. If you're feeling like you could use a little inspiration, keep reading. Here are six attractive incentives to try implementing with your employees.
When employees are working away from the office, you know that keeping track of hours worked and the duties fulfilled is important. It can also be difficult to juggle, especially if you're managing a larger group or if your employees are located in many different locations (or even different time zones!). If you're finding yourself chasing down information at the last minute or if you're constantly finding discrepancies, you're probably beyond frustrated and ready for something more streamlined.
Chances are any employees you have working offsite are those you can trust to hold themselves accountable and fulfill their tasks. However, have you considered the benefits of allowing your employees to manage logging their time independently, from their personal cell phones? There are apps available that can help you accomplish just that and more, such as a time clock app with GPS. This approach would be especially rewarding to your employees if
your current method of time tracking requires extra time or effort on their part.
If your employees require use of technology in any way to perform their duties, offering an allowance to put towards various devices would be a great incentive. This is important considering not everyone upgrades their devices regularly, whether it's due to financial reasons or lack of interest. Alternatively, offering reimbursements in full or up to a certain amount would also be a great perk.
The benefits of your employees staying current with technology are many, especially in today's digital era. Not only will upgraded devices ensure improved connectivity and clearer communication, it can also lead to a more consistent workflow with less interruptions and better compatibility.
When you have employees working outside of the office, taking steps to connect personally is essential. Whether it's done over email, a handwritten note, video chat or phone call, putting forth the effort to interact is important. What’s great about these personal connections is that even the simplest gesture will make a big impact. Remembering to acknowledge birthdays, work anniversaries and other personal milestones (welcome, baby!) should be a must for all employees. Investing in some personalized stationery or note cards will go a long way in fostering this type of relationship.
Don't save the personal touches for non business-related items only. Making yourself available and approachable throughout all correspondence will help bridge any gap existing between you and your employees. Not only will this effort be noticed and appreciated, it will also help your employees feel valued and respected. Since employees who feel this way tend to perform their job duties better than those who don't, it's a win-win situation.
What's one thing that everyone needs, but doesn't always take? A break. While it may seem that employees who don't commute to an office each day don't need a break as much as those who do, that's simply not the case. Providing your employees with ample time off and requiring them to use it will make all the difference when it comes to morale, stress levels and overall contentedness with work.
What's important to note here is that even though a good percentage of employees do return to work feeling rested and rejuvenated, there are still some who don't. There are many reasons why that have nothing to do with work, but a common one does — they actually end up working while they're supposed to be off. Since this negates the purpose of vacation time, it's vital to provide resources (such as coverage in their absence) to help protect their time away.
Take the time to check in with employees before their time off to see if there are any concerns leading up to their absence. Is there something they're anxious about completing before signing off? Have they noticed a trend (such as being called with questions) during their time off in the past? What can be done to protect their break to ensure it remains a work-free zone?
While taking time away from work is essential for the overall well-being of your employees, you can't necessarily rely on that alone to be their only time for stress relief, change of pace or rest. Since many employees report returning to their previous stress levels shortly after returning to work from some time off, providing ways to decompress each day will serve everyone well.
Are you wondering how to go about this when your employees are all in different locations? Consider starting a weekly wellness email blast, including links to workouts, healthy recipes or various breathing techniques. Invite your employees to participate and share their own personal tips for staying fit, balanced and feeling well. Organizing local meetups for weekly walks, runs, yoga sessions or bike rides would be a way to get those who are interested together to enjoy some fresh air and face-to-face connections.
Take it to the next level by providing those who are interested with fitness tracking devices. These are great not only for accountability, but for motivation as well.
Since mental health is incredibly important, promoting mental health resources to your employees is another way to show your support for their well-being.
All employees want to know that they're heard. Inviting them to share their honest feedback is important, but making sure you put their feedback to use is the key to making positive changes to your company.
What's tricky about connecting with offsite employees is that you're missing the face-to-face connection, where body language and expressions can be helpful in better understanding feedback. To effectively reach your employees and give them an opportunity to truly be heard, asking questions specifically tailored for their remote situation is a must. By doing this, you will be letting them know that their opinions, suggestions and general feedback are of value and appreciated.
Don't rely on video chats for just business meetings. Setting up small groups or one-on-ones is an effective way to gather feedback and communicate, simply by adding in that more personalized connection. While nothing can replace in-person meetings, video chats come pretty close.
Finally, once you have gathered the requested feedback, sharing the data with everyone will be a great way to show that what they had to say really does matter.
While having off site employees might be tricky at times, there are ways to make it a really rewarding experience. As with anything you can expect some trial and error, but over time you'll hit your stride with which incentives seem to work well. Pay close attention to your employees and make adjustments as necessary. Your efforts will not go unnoticed.
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