Is personal effectiveness better for employees dressed in a bathrobe and fuzzy slippers on the couch? Believe it or not, recent studies show that the most actively engaged workers are those not located in the office. That’s right. Remote workers – whether they are working from home in pajamas or are simply located further afield from their managers – are often more committed than their in-office counterparts. What is behind this seemingly counterintuitive realization? According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, the secret lies in the effectiveness of communication.
3 Secrets of Actively Engaged Workers
1. Proximity Increases Laziness
One of the problems with managers and those they manage all working together in the same place is that it is all too easy to take each other and the available resources for granted. Indeed, this is true simply “because the possibility of communicating is so easy.” In many situations, proximity can actually bring distance between employees rather than closeness.
Take-away tip: Make an effort to have frequent face-to-face contact with all employees, whether they are working from home, working remotely, or simply working down the hall.
2. Absence Boosts Effective Communication
When a team member is located just down the hall, it is all too easy to become complacent about keeping the lines of communication open. Edinger says, “Most leaders I work with make an extra effort to stay connected to those they don’t ordinarily run into.” Just think of what a difference it would make if you made the same communication efforts with in-office and remote workers.
Take-away tip: Being more intentional about keeping in touch with in-office employees as well as those working remotely will create more actively engaged workers.
3. Far Flung Teams Work Smarter
When employees and managers are all located under the same roof or even in the same city, they are likely to be more focused and less distracted to make the most of the limited amount of time that they do have together. They are also more likely to take advantage of a wider range of technology and a wider variety of innovative methods to keep in touch with each other.
Take-away tip: You can have actively engaged workers in any location if you bring more focus and intentionality to the time you spend together.