Remote Employee Engagement: 5 Proven Strategies

May 29, 2024 | Retaining Employees

Josh Rust

As Abenity's Marketing Manager, Josh has a keen insight into the latest HR and recruiting trends.

Ever feel like your remote team is drifting further apart despite the convenience of working from anywhere?

The truth is, the shift to remote work has brought a whole new set of challenges for keeping teams engaged and motivated. 

With traditional tactics falling short in the virtual world, leaders are left scratching their heads, wondering how to bridge the gap and reignite that team spirit.

And here’s the kicker: Almost 60% of employees worldwide can be considered “quiet quitters” who are not really engaged in their work and just do the bare minimum. 

This has led to a silent crisis that’s costing the global economy a mind-boggling $8.8 trillion every year.

Are you feeling the gravity of that stat yet?

So, let’s focus on the solution. We’re not against remote work—in fact, we love it. We’re just here to tell you how other great companies are doing it extremely well, so you can do it too.

Let’s discover tools and strategies for reshaping remote employee engagement and how you can build a more engaged and cohesive team.

Understanding Remote Employee Engagement

Remote employee engagement refers to the level of enthusiasm, connection, and commitment employees feel toward their organization and its goals when working from a distance. 

It’s all about feeling included, motivated, and satisfied.

With remote and hybrid work growing rapidly, engaged remote employees are important for businesses to succeed today. 

Companies that fail to adapt their engagement strategies for the remote environment risk declining productivity, poor retention, and a disengaged workforce.

As more businesses switch to remote or hybrid work models, they need to focus on keeping their employees engaged. This is important for maintaining productivity, innovation, and overall success. 

Many organizations have embraced innovative approaches to remote engagement and seen greater collaboration, improved performance, and happier teams. 

For example, GitHub hires a lot of remote workers. More than 40% of its employees are based outside its San Francisco office, and about 20% of them are located internationally. 

Despite the remote work setup, GitHub organizes an annual summit and face-to-face meetings throughout the year. 

This is to ensure that remote teams can connect with each other and feel more involved and engaged with the rest of the team.

In contrast, some companies have struggled and even failed to keep up with it.

Silicon Valley Bank struggled to transition to remote work. 

Leaders said that people weren’t as into their work, had trouble with work-life balance and work-life balance challenges, and weren’t as productive as they used to be. 

Unfortunately, this is one of the factors that led to the bank’s recent downfall.

This just shows the make-or-break importance of remote employee engagement. 

When you do it right, your team thrives. But if you don’t pay attention to keeping your remote team engaged, they might feel disconnected and unmotivated. And it’ll impact your company in the long run.

The Challenges of Keeping Remote Teams Engaged

Leading remote teams can lead to some extremely good work getting done. But it also comes with challenges that you need to know and address. 

Let’s dive into some of the most common pitfalls that leaders need to look out for.


A lot of people find remote work challenging because of isolation, especially when they lack face-to-face interactions with coworkers. 

In fact, a Culture Wizard report on virtual teams said that 53% of remote workers feel isolated and disconnected from their colleagues.  

When you’re working from home, you don’t get the chance to chat with your colleagues the way you do in the office. 

And it can be challenging to build deep, long-lasting connections when you’re only communicating through a screen.

Unless companies make an effort to bring remote employees together, isolation can eventually make them feel less engaged with their work.

Communication Gaps

When communication is limited to tools like email and messaging platforms, important contexts can get lost. 

We can’t see each other’s facial expressions or hear the tone of voice, which can cause misunderstandings or make it difficult to work towards the same goals.

Communication gaps are also more likely to occur when teams are spread out across different time zones and don’t communicate in real time. 

That’s why it’s important for leaders to communicate frequently and to find ways to keep everyone on the same page.


Working remotely has its perks, but it can also blur the boundaries between personal and professional lives. 

When you work from home, it’s easy to feel like you need to be available all the time. Buffer’s 2023 State of Remote Work report found that 44% of remote workers are working more this past year, with 1 in 5 reporting feeling burnt out. 

That’s why managers need to keep an eye on workloads and watch for signs of burnout, so they can help employees avoid fatigue and stay motivated. 

It’s important to lead by example and show that it’s okay to take breaks and have some flexibility in your schedule.

5 Powerful Strategies for Boosting Remote Employee Engagement  

Working remotely can sometimes feel disconnected and dull, if you allow it to be that way. 

You miss out on all the random chats and fun moments that happen in the office, which often lead to brilliant ideas and better teamwork. 

But don’t worry; with the right tools and approach, you can recreate that organic energy in a virtual environment and keep everyone engaged. Here are five tactics that have been proven to increase remote employee engagement:

1. Leverage Collaboration Technology

Collaboration technology can make it easier to have these “in person” moments remotely. 

With virtual meetings, project management tools, and shared documents, you can stay connected and productive with your team no matter where you are. 

These technologies foster real-time communication, boost productivity, and strengthen teamwork among remote employees. 

  • Video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams provide a visual connection between remote coworkers. Set up regular video check-ins and virtual hangouts to stay face-to-face.
  • Digital whiteboards like Miro, Mural, and Stormboard enable real-time brainstorming, design sprints, and workshopping.
  • Chat tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Discord allow quick communication and random chats between distributed team members. Create fun custom emojis and GIFs to bring some personality into daily messages.
  • File sharing and cloud storage systems like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box centralize work so employees have access to the latest documents and projects.

2. Encourage Human Moments 

Working remotely can make us feel like mere virtual entities rather than valued team members. 

Encouraging human moments, whether through virtual coffee chats, team-building exercises, or casual check-ins, helps break down barriers and foster genuine connections. 

When we recognize that there’s a real person behind every screen, it helps us feel more connected and part of a team.

  • Set up virtual co-working spaces, and schedule virtual coffee breaks or digital “water cooler” moments, happy hours, and game nights to recreate those casual social interactions.
  • Send care packages, cards, or treats to employees’ homes as small gestures to brighten their day.
  • Spotlight employees on the company’s social media pages or newsletter to celebrate wins and milestones. Share photos and fun facts to strengthen social bonds.

3. Infuse Fun Through Gamification

Remote work can sometimes make you feel disconnected from your team. 

But if you add some fun elements to your daily work routine, like challenges, rewards, and leaderboards, it can make a huge difference. 

  • Develop personal, digital achievement badges employees can earn for hitting goals, completing training, or participating in culture-building activities.
  • Using tools like Kahoot, QuizBreaker, or Team Building Hub, create friendly competitions, leaderboards, trivia, and virtual scavenger hunts.
  • Reward participation with digital rewards like gift cards, donations to charity, or redeemable points to increase engagement with games and challenges.

4. Personalize Communication 

Personalization plays a crucial role in making employees feel seen, heard, and valued. 

By understanding what each employee likes and needs, organizations can create deeper connections with them. In return, it makes remote workers feel appreciated and more connected to the company.

  • Schedule 1:1 video or phone chats to provide mentoring and discuss career development or personal goals.
  • Send weekly personalized emails or video messages from the leadership team to connect more meaningfully with each employee.
  • Conduct periodic engagement surveys to assess individual needs and challenges. Then use the responses to customize manager check-ins or provide extra resources.

5. Prioritize Clear, Consistent Communication

Communication is the glue that holds remote teams together. 

You need to communicate clearly and consistently so everyone is on the same page. 

That way, you can avoid misunderstandings, make sure everyone knows what’s expected of them, and keep things transparent within your team.

  • Send recap emails after meetings and communicate the next steps clearly to keep everyone aligned. 
  • Establish communication preferences for each employee, whether by email, chat, phone calls, or otherwise.
  • Document processes on wikis and intranets to provide an easily accessible source of truth for how work gets done.
  • Over communicate context around priorities, goals, and deadlines to create clarity for distributed teams.

Measuring and Sustaining Engagement in a Remote Setting

It’s important to check in with your employees regularly to make sure they’re actually engaged with their work. Here are a few tools and metrics that you can use to track engagement for remote employees:

1. Pulse surveys

Regular pulse surveys with employees can help you understand how they are feeling about their work and the company. 

You can ask simple questions about their satisfaction, whether they feel recognized, and whether they feel like they belong. 

There are tools like Culture Amp and Officevibe that offer ready-to-use survey templates for you to get started.

2. 1-on-1s

It’s important to have regular check-ins between managers and their team members. These 1-on-1s can help to get feedback, provide coaching, and build a stronger relationship. 

You should schedule them regularly, like every two weeks or every month.

3. Engagement Analytics

Platforms like Microsoft’s Viva can give you insights into how you and your team use collaboration tools, how much work you do after hours, how effective your meetings are, and how well you connect with your colleagues. 

This can improve productivity, create a collaborative culture, and ultimately help your company grow and succeed.

4. Participation Rates

Keep an eye on how many people join in voluntary activities like employee resource groups, wellness challenges, and virtual events. 

If you see more of your remote team members participating, that’s a good sign that they’re engaged. So, it’s important to encourage them to get involved and take part as much as possible.

Data collection is just the first part of the puzzle. The real power lies in interpreting data to unlock opportunities for growth.

With the right strategies in place, data can guide leaders in enhancing the remote experience.

Future Trends in Remote Employee Engagement

The remote work scene is about to get more exciting with some cool upcoming innovations that can make employees even more engaged. Keep an eye on these emerging trends:

AI-Driven Engagement Platforms

Have you heard about the latest trend in HR technology? Cutting-edge AI is revolutionizing employee engagement. 

By analyzing communication patterns and providing personalized recommendations, these AI-powered platforms can help improve employee satisfaction and boost productivity. 

Not only that, but they can also prompt social connections and act as a virtual coach to help managers keep their teams on track.

It’s time to explore AI-driven engagement platforms that can help transform your workplace and unleash the full potential of your team.

Virtual Reality Team Building  

Have you ever wished that Zoom meetings could be more exciting? 

Virtual reality (VR) is making it possible for remote teams to have more fun and immersive experiences together. 

Companies are now exploring VR spaces where team members can virtually gather for activities like trivia nights, fitness classes, or simulated escape rooms to build stronger relationships. 

Platforms like Teamflow and Virbela offer customizable VR workspaces and experiential environments that work great for remote teams.

Integrating Wellness and Mental Health

With virtual fatigue and isolation taking a toll, many companies have started taking care of their employees’ well-being and mental health. Forward-thinking companies are providing their workforce with access to apps and resources for relaxation, counseling, mentorship, and more. 

They even train managers to identify the signs of exhaustion and stimulate a healthy work-life balance. Incorporating wellness as a key component of the employee experience can be a game-changer for your company.

Key Takeaway

The way we work is changing, and remote work is here to stay. That’s why it’s important to keep remote employees engaged and connected to your company culture. 

From leveraging collaboration technology to prioritizing clear communication and infusing fun through gamification, we’ve explored different strategies to keep remote teams motivated and connected. 

Remember, with the right approach, remote work can lead to a more productive, satisfied, and cohesive workforce. 

And as leaders, let’s embrace the challenges of remote work as opportunities to innovate and strengthen our teams.

Ready to take your remote employee engagement to the next level? 

Check out our Employee Perks and Benefits Report

It’s packed with useful advice and tips to help you boost your team’s engagement and satisfaction while working remotely. Download it here!

Get The Best Employee Perks and Discounts

Abenity offers real savings for the people counting on you. Click below to see how you can supercharge your employee benefits package.

Download Our Perks Report

Related Articles