I really like being in my office. I have great coworkers and a fun work environment. (I’m writing this blog on a big comfy chair in a common area while wearing my penguin pajamas for Pajama Day.)

That being said, I am the mom of an 11-year-old boy. Motherhood brings unexpected illnesses, childcare cancellations and daytime parenting commitments. For me, the flexibility to work from home is not just appreciated; I need it to succeed in my role.

I am not alone. Working remotely is no longer a perk for employees; flexibility is an expectation. A recent report by Flexjobs reveals that the remote workforce grew 44% in the last five years. In fact, 80% of U.S. workers say they would turn down a job that didn’t offer flexible working.

Remote working is good for business, too: 85% of companies confirm that productivity increased because of greater flexibility.

While this is a positive trend, remote working does present challenges. Employees can sometimes feel isolated or disconnected. Here’s the good news: communicators are uniquely positioned to help remote employees feel engaged via the channels you manage.

Here are 5 ways to engage your remote workforce in 2020:

1. Host a virtual town hall. Instead of having your CEO stand in a room in front of 75 people while 750 others listen in on the phone, take the whole meeting virtual and give everyone the same experience. Use techniques like video, polling and chat to engage every participant.

2. Showcase remote employees. Demonstrate that remote workers are a valuable part of your company by showcasing their stories. Have a remote employee host a virtual chat or share a video story about something he or she has been working on.

3. Start virtual conversations. Remote employees won’t pass each other in the hallway or meet up in the cafeteria. Dedicate space on your intranet or social collaboration tool (Yammer, Chatter, Workplace, etc.) for employees to catch up with each other. Post interesting conversation starters for everyone to discuss.

4. Send mobile-friendly messages. According to data from PoliteMail, a quarter of all emails are opened on mobile devices, with some companies seeing consistent mobile open rates above 40%. Before hitting send, make sure your emails are designed to be viewed on all mobile devices.

5. Use video. Video is a great way to tell stories and help remote employees see what’s happening around the company. When your entire workforce cannot come together in-person, video messages can create a more compelling experience than text-only emails. Hosting an event on site? Try dedicating someone to live stream from the office.

The remote workforce is just one important trend that will impact employee communication in 2020. Want to learn more? Click here to see Davis & Company’s 20 trends for 2020.

 

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