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How can you keep remote workers engaged?

Does your firm employ telecommuters? 

There are a number of reasons why offering the option to work remotely could be beneficial for your business, but how can you keep these workers as connected and engaged as those who spend most of their time on-site? 

The advantages of remote working 

Why should you consider making telecommuting an option at your enterprise? For a number of industries, the digital age has made it significantly easier for employees to fulfil their obligations from virtually anywhere. 

Employees increasingly seek the flexibility and convenience that work-from-home opportunities offer. According to a 2013 survey from McCrindle Research*, Australians are particularly eager to attain this kind of working arrangement. Specifically, 80 per cent said they would be more inclined to remain with their current employer if they could have the option of working from home or remotely. 

Furthermore, 28 per cent of Australians said they'd rather have the flexibility of working from home, even if they had to take a 5 per cent pay cut. That may be in part because they believe they perform better remotely, with over half (55 per cent) responding that they are 'slightly or significantly more productive' when they're at home instead of in the office.

How to keep telecommuters engaged 

If your organisation decides to extend remote working privileges to some or all employees – whether on an occasional or consistent basis – how can you ensure they don't fall out of the loop with the company as a whole? 

Shanyn Payne, Swinburne Online general manager of human resources, explained in an article for HC Online** how her enterprise makes certain remote workers are just as engaged as their in-office counterparts. To support the 75 per cent of Swinburne Online's employee who work remotely, the company focuses on cultural fit during recruitment.  

From there, it's all about a strong onboarding program that communicates key values and offers the information they need to excel. Ongoing communication and a resource-rich online portal works to strengthen the company's philosophy while providing necessary support. 

With this foundation, the enterprise has been able to keep an impressive 84 per cent of employees engaged.  

For practical information about managing remote workers – including with regards to health and safety obligations – check out WorkPro's telework resources.

 *McCrindle Research, "Teleworking in Australia: Latest trends and perceptions". 

**HC Online, "Opinion: Remote workforces – how to keep your team engaged".

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