If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that engagement is a fundamental human need. With people being encouraged to stay at home to curb the spread of the virus, individuals and businesses alike had to find novel ways to keep in touch. We’re sure you’ve experienced some frustrations in trying to communicate with your remote teams during this time.
Editing is a lonely and isolating vocation – for the most part, it’s just the editor and their computer – and this is even more true of remote editing. You don’t want to lose great editors because they feel disconnected. Increasing editor engagement is one of the best decisions you can make for your employees and business. But how do you do it? Read on to see our top tips for increasing editor engagement on your remote team.
Why Is Engagement Important?
Before we take you through our tips, let’s talk about why editor engagement is so important and how it impacts your business. As we said above, working as part of a remote editorial team, whether you’re a writer or a manager, can be a lonely and frustrating experience. Sometimes, we just want to speak to an actual human being.
When people feel isolated, they lose concentration and motivation – sometimes to the extent that even discipline becomes ineffective. People in this situation may start to resent their work. Increasing engagement in your editorial team can help you break this downward spiral, retain your best talent, and increase productivity.
But these aren’t the only benefits increasing engagement can have for your business. If your editors feel engaged and have access to the resources they need, they will become more consistent in the quantity and quality of their work, and consistency is vital for your business. Engagement can also affect your bottom line. Producing content is expensive, but producing inefficient content is even more so. Therefore, encouraging your editors to produce top-quality content and doing everything you can to support them is a must.
How Do You Increase Editor Engagement?
Now that you understand just how important engagement is, let’s look at how you can increase engagement across your editorial team.
1. Prioritize Open Communication
Since you probably don’t get much face-to-face time with your remote team, it’s vital that you provide ways for your editors to ask questions and raise concerns. Editors simply cannot produce high-quality content if they’re confused.
There are many ways you can improve communication within your remote team, and you’ll probably need to experiment to see what works best for you. The most important thing, though, is giving your team some way to communicate. We understand that you probably can’t drop everything every time an editor has a question, so you’ll need to find a compromise. Try holding a weekly video meeting to address editors’ questions and concerns, or an online office hour where editors can drop in as needed. Anything you can do to help your editors feel more connected will benefit your business.
You might find the same issues cropping up regularly on your team. If that’s the case, you can create guides that address these issues before they even arise. For instance, if your editors are asking you about stylistic issues, such as whether they should be using serial commas, you could create a style guide that outlines your preferred stylistic conventions. If your editors are having issues with formatting, you could create a template for them to use. Just make sure you involve your team in these decisions.
2. Use Technology to Your Advantage
When working with remote teams, technology can be both your best friend and your worst enemy. Technology is great when it works, but when it doesn’t, it can create delays and cause massive frustration. But when your team is remote, the only (reasonable) way you can communicate is by using technology. That being said, you might need to have several ways to communicate with your team.
Email is an option, but you might not always get to your emails as quickly as you’d like. We’ve already suggested holding video calls with your team, but too many meetings can be time-consuming. For everyday communications, try using one of the many instant messaging apps, such as Slack, Google Chat, or Microsoft Teams. If you set up a group chat for your editors in one of these apps, they can support each other if they run into an issue or need clarification, which will increase engagement while taking some of the strain off you.
3. Work to Your Strengths
If you’ve managed to build a successful editorial team (you can read our article here on how to do this), you’ll already know what each of your editors’ strengths are. Some editors prefer or are better at creating certain types of content; some are particularly good at proofreading or editing. Ask your editors what types of work they enjoy or feel confident doing, and try to give them that type of work more often.
Working to each of your editors’ strengths won’t always be possible, especially if you need a certain type of content, but when you can do it, it’s a great idea. Not only will this show your editors that you care about them, but it will also help them produce great content.
4. Celebrate Your Successes
We’ve talked a lot about how to troubleshoot issues and concerns with your remote team, but it’s equally important to acknowledge and celebrate your successes. Employees don’t just want to hear about the issues – they want to feel appreciated, too. In fact, Forbes reports that employees’ desire for recognition increases by approximately 30% during challenging times. Perhaps you could hold a monthly meeting with your team to discuss their wins and what has worked well for them (this second point is particularly important if you’re reorganizing your workflows). This will make your team feel more appreciated and significantly increase editor engagement.
5. Be Flexible
We mean two things when we say this. First, try allowing your employees to choose when they work. While you may need to set times for important meetings, giving your editors some freedom will allow them to be more productive. For instance, some people might prefer to get started early in the morning, while other people don’t function well before midday.
Second, consider allowing your editors to choose where they work. Some people excel at remote working, while others struggle with it. Offering hybrid working options to your employees will help them find what works best. Gallup found that having employees spend 60% to 80% of their time working remotely and 10% to 20% of their time in the office creates optimal engagement. Therefore, offering flexible working arrangements can help increase engagement within your team.
6. Find Time for Fun
We understand that you have responsibilities and deadlines, but it’s important that you find time to have fun. There are many advantages to remote working, but one drawback is that it reduces your opportunities to socialize. When you’re conducting meetings, try leaving some time aside for general conversation that’s not work-related.
You can even go further and organize events for your team. We’re not talking about corporate team-building events – let’s be honest, very few people actually enjoy those – but you could do something more casual, like Friday night drinks. If your editors live too far away to meet in-person, perhaps you could find a way to socialize online through quizzes or games. Whatever you decide, just make sure your editors have some balance in their lives.
Remote (or hybrid) working has become the norm for many businesses, but it’s especially prevalent in the editing world. Keeping a remote team of editors engaged is challenging, but it’s vital if you want to retain your editors and consistently create high-quality content. But how do you do it?
- Prioritize communicating openly with your team.
- Use technology to keep in touch.
- Work to your team’s strengths.
- Celebrate your successes as well as deal with your issues.
- Be flexible about when and where your employees work.
- Find time to have fun.
Need More Help?
Free your editorial team to do the work they love most by allowing Proofed to take on the burden of correcting grammar, syntax, punctuation, and spelling. Proofed has worked with more than 1,000 companies to refine their content and help streamline their workflows. When you’re ready to scale up, schedule a call with us to see how we can help your business.