As technology changes the way the world works, remote workforce engagement is growing in importance. The world of traditional, 9-to-5 work is slipping away, according to Global Workplace Analytics and numerous other studies. Here are four simple yet often overlooked methods that can be used for motivating and engaging your remote employees:

Communication. Communication is a critical part of employee engagement, which in turn promotes better performance, employee retention and well-being. Employees are more likely to engage and contribute when there’s an open communication culture.
Use chat programs. Our picks for the best team chat apps currently on the market are below:

– Slack for a chat-powered workplace
– Microsoft Teams for large organizations broken down into teams
– Google Chat for G Suite users
– Discord for always-on voice chat
– Mattermost for self-hosted team chat

Increase participation. The onboarding period can be considered a critical period to improve participation. During the first few days/weeks of the remote employee’s tenure, take advantage of the employee being present.

Come up with remote onboarding activities that are memorable. Virtual team building activities are group activities that you conduct online or remotely. Examples of activity types include icebreaker questions, virtual campfires, and group fitness classes.

Show appreciation. While communicating appreciation in long distance work relationships takes time and forethought, it can be done and it is important to do so. Without ongoing appreciation and support for the work they are doing, employees who work remotely are more at risk of becoming discouraged, not producing to their capabilities and eventually quitting.

Take the time and effort to communicate how much you value your staff who work in a different physical location than you do and the return on your investment will be well worth the cost. Here are a few suggestions that are sure to keep your remote workers happy without blowing up your bottom line:

– Get-to-know you surveys
– Budget for spiffing up home office
– Tailor benefits to remote employees

Measure employee engagement. Measuring employee engagement will enable your team to develop a robust strategy that’s thoughtfully tailored to your unique staff. Here are two steps that will put you on the road to measuring and improving engagement at your organization.

– eNPS. eNPS is short for Employee Net Promoter Score. It is a method for measuring how willing the employees are to recommend their workplace to friends and acquaintances. Another way to put it is that eNPS is the in-house counterpart to the popular NPS method.

– Pulse surveys. Short, frequent surveys are a great way to maintain a consistent pulse on the vibe in your office.