With 91,3651 remote job vacancies currently live in the UK, it’s clear the past 12 months have changed the traditional staff set up. But how can businesses ensure their remote staff are engaged with business events and feel part of the team?
Experts from events specialists, AYRE Event Solutions share their top tips and considerations for business leaders who have recently hired or are currently hiring remote staff on how to maintain engagement.
- Understand staff expectations
Since May 2020, there has been a 175%2 increase in searches for ‘remote jobs’ and a staggering 317%3 jump in searches for ‘remote working’. “These stats show just how popular remote working is in the UK. For businesses looking to ride the remote working wave moving forward, it’s really important to understand what remote workers expect from their employers. So during team introductions and inductions, be sure to set clear expectations on both sides,” says AYRE managing director, Chris Ayre.
Insight gathered by AYRE reveals that in the UK currently, IT companies are offering the most remote jobs (30,346)1 followed by sales jobs (9,173)1, accounting and finance (8,695)1, customer service (5,881)1 and PR/advertising/marketing (5,806)1. “Each of these industries will have varying expectations from their remote staff from how often they want to communicate to approval processes and working hours. If you already have team catch ups in the calendar or set meetings, it’s best to review these now with remote staff in mind. Will the current structure work for someone joining remotely or do you need to adjust the time or format or the meeting?”
“Speaking to remote workers as well as in-person staff and accommodating the varying needs is key to maintaining engagement but also productivity,” adds Chris.
- Consider hybrid event formats
Hybrid events, which are able to accommodate both in-person and virtual attendees, bring the best of both worlds, whilst still enabling businesses to adhere to social distancing regulations and advice from the government. “A short quick fire hybrid meeting would be appealing to remote workers, as well as in-person staff. These could be used to give staff updates where required, and then follow up with extended notes or details via email. This structure will keep everyone engaged in the meeting and what’s being said” says Chris.
“The event doesn’t have to be technically complicated or even using a feature package platform. Using something similar to teams or Zoom will allow for remote participants to post comments or questions back to the presenter or other meeting attendees. It’s also a good idea to have someone who is responsible for managing the meeting online who can field the questions and deal with any technical problems – this doesn’t necessarily need to be a technician.
“Basic, non-fuss hybrid events should be achievable for businesses if you have a conference or boardroom in place. The equipment installed should allow you to be able to achieve this. If you do not have the required equipment or support onsite you may wish to find an event production supplier who is able to provide the equipment and support,” Chris adds.
- Monthly team/department meetings
Businesses looking to hold regular monthly team or department meetings should look to use hybrid event formats, says Chris. “Having these regular hybrid meetings may require businesses to install some new equipment into their conference spaces to be able to achieve a hybrid event. Think about a dedicated space within the physical office so in-person staff can break away from their desks and where you can present to all attendees effectively.
“A monthly event is a great way to keep your team up to date with what is happening in the company. Middle and upper management can deliver the company’s performance statistics, year end results, and future plans. By using technology such as voting systems you can encourage attendees to engage with presenters and offer up their own opinions. This has shown to be invaluable in getting teams onboard with future plans and developments.
“No matter what you do, you should ensure that meetings are kept short and snappy so as to not lose engagement with those working remotely. A strong visual presentation which sets out clear objectives and goals at the start of the meeting will help maintain a good level of engagement throughout.”
- Keep socials face to face
Businesses should try to make socials in person for all their team to come together,” adds Chris. “Many companies underestimate the power of a strong engaging event for their teams, but now is the time to seriously consider how beneficial they are to not only your teams, but your business.
“As work culture has changed (possibly forever), it’s important to bring together your team in one place to enable creative conversations, team building and social interactions once enjoyed in an office environment. We are not talking just delivering a boring 4,000 slide presentation for 8 hours here!
“Putting together an active engaging conference agenda with social elements will prove to be invaluable in bringing together your team. Enabling them to network and make them all important connections they would have made in the office.”
- Consider how often you want to communicate with staff
“I think there are two clear distinctions here; businesses who need to communicate with staff on a regular basis, and businesses who want to update staff on an annual basis. Each type of business needs to understand which they fall into then develop their event strategies,” says Chris.
“Businesses that need to communicate with staff regularly need to understand and think about why they are meeting. We’d recommend reviewing previous processes for meetings and gathering feedback from employees. As best practice, we’d recommend keeping regular catch ups short and snappy to keep remote team members engaged.
“Businesses that wish to give updates company wide may opt for a more produced annual conference with social elements. These events are great for bringing teams together on a residential basis. We’d say this is certainly the better option for businesses with a large number of remote workers.”
For more tips and advice for creating events within your business, please visit: https://www.ayre.events/including-events-into-their-business-planning/