How To Keep Remote Employees Feeling Connected
As time continues to move forward, the human race as a whole has no choice but to keep up with the changing times and adapt.
Unlike the yesteryear of our ancestors of the last millennium, we have technology that has drastically changed the landscape of our society.
We can communicate with others on the opposite ends of the globe, carry around supercomputers in our pockets, and use the internet to make money and cat memes.
Not only has it changed the way we interact, but it’s also changed the workforce.
Gone are the days where the only way to work was to… show up to work.
With a connection to the internet and a laptop, employees are now able to work from the comfort of their own homes in their favorite pajamas.
Yes, remote work sounds amazing, but like with any other positive, there’s usually a negative that’s on the other side of the coin to balance things out.
Employers are wondering how to keep remote employees from feeling like they’re not a part of the company since they don’t really have to show up and actually be present.
No worries, here are 4 ways to keep remote employees feeling connected.
1: Slack Picks Up The Slack
When one thinks of remote working, it’s easy for it to be the introvert’s dream come true.
There’s no shared office space, no being around Jenn from accounting who tends to overshare a bit too much, no having to hear about Brad’s gloating about his performance reviews at the watercooler, none of the small talk that plagues the office space.
This is great, for the introvert, but for the other half of the employees who thrive on the social interaction one would usually get their fill in the workplace, the remote working gig doesn’t sit too well with them.
How will they develop those relationships if everyone’s at home all the time only interacting to turn in assignments, being corporate entities behind a keyboard and a wi-fi connection?
By using apps like Slack, Google Hangouts, Discord and others, employees can have their own virtual areas to socialize and still interact with each other outside of it being strictly business.
2: Seeing Eye-to-Eye
As previously mentioned, a downside when it comes to working remotely is the lack of face-to-face interaction. Yes, the majority of the workforce is happy and glad to know about Tim and Sarah’s killer performance over the past few weeks.
But… there’s just one thing that feels off.
Nobody knows what anyone looks like!
They’re just names, who are these people?!
What do they even look like?!
It’s a bit impersonal to only know your employees/ coworkers only as faceless usernames and a few funny lines here and there in the company group chat. An easy way to mitigate this issue, and foster more of a sense of connection in the digital landscape is to host daily video conference calls.
Is it time for weekly reviews?
Have everyone on a video call with an app like Skype so that everyone can put faces to these names.
Need to have a direct talk with an employee?
If possible, set up set times of “face-to-face” communication so that it doesn’t feel so cold and lifeless.
Is it time to actually decompress and shift the conversations from work, work, work, to a more casual, friendly banter?
Take out the webcams, look each other in the eyes, and laugh at memes together!
3: Work Hard, Play Hard
Remote workers are, by default, going to be excluded from a lot of those special, spontaneous workplace moments.
Nothing’s going to be more alienating than not really catching references to those jokes due to the digital circumstances a remote worker may find themselves under.
“Oh sorry Dave, it’s just one of those things where you just had to be there, y’ know?”
Instead of leaving Dave, and the other remote employees out of the fun, there is a solution.
Setting up times where everyone is online participating in fun activities that aren’t necessarily work-related are great ways to keep up that sense of bonding found inside the workplace.
Hosting tournaments on game apps on the phone, or taking it a step even further and actually having your employees play video games with an emphasis on teamwork could boost that sense of connectedness.
4: Digital Traditions
When Terry in sales lands a huge sale and gets a big commission at the office, congrats are in order, right?
Terry’s going to walk into the office with suspiciously dimmed lights, get ambushed by a big, fun surprise celebration from everyone, and have fun eating his cake and basking in the praise.
On the other hand in remote land, Jerry’s doing amazing and doing a fantastic job on his end too.
But, how can you ambush a man who’s in his own home, on his computer, who can see the three dots that show that you’re typing up his “surprise?”
Where is the surprise in that?
The old-school office traditions don’t exactly translate over to the digital side of town, so in order to make sure that workers like Jerry feel included, new ways of handling things must be tackled.
And in this case, the tradition doesn’t have to be scrapped, balled up and tossed into the bin while everyone tries to think up a new way.
No, just tweak the same traditions!
If Jerry deserves some praise and recognition for his efforts, then make it fun on the digital side!
Start up a channel in Slack, and bombard him with congrats and funny gifs of internet people dancing.
Make time for a digital group huddle on Skype, then get goofy on camera and have some fun while singing his praises.
The remote worker is a worker that still deserves to be seen and heard. They still need to feel like they’re a part of the team, and luckily there’s plenty of ways to make that happen.
They can keep an open line of communication with their boss, supervisors, and colleagues through various communication apps.They can avoid the faceless entity syndrome by being a part of daily video calls with the rest of the team. And, to make sure that they’re a part of the team in all aspects, even the fun ones, they can participate in fun online activities with their coworkers.
Do you have any other ideas about keeping remote employees feeling connected to the team? Leave them down in the comments below!
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