5 Tips to Help Remote Employees Feel Connected
The world is becoming a more and more connected place every day. With people in other cities and countries just an email, text, video chat, or instant message away, there’s no doubt why we’ve seen a rise in the popularity of remote work. But, is this actually a healthy trend for a company’s culture?
Studies have shown that working remotely can lead to higher employee satisfaction, increased productivity, and a decrease in overhead office expenses. However, being physically present in the office has obvious perks as well — networking will happen organically, decisions get made faster, and employees can benefit from a sense of camaraderie that is unique to in-person connection.
Whether your company is beginning to manage remote workers or has a remote work culture already in place, here are a few tips to balance the pros and cons of remote work and office culture:
1. Video conference everything
Even the smallest office gathering can make remote workers feel like they are missing out by not being there. It may take a bit of prep before each meeting, but providing an option for remote employees to video conference can go a long way towards helping them feel included and informed. Video conferencing platforms like Highfive and Zoom can help you stream your meetings to the masses.
2. Plan company-wide retreats
Company retreats are a great way to boost team morale and give remote employees the chance to get to know everyone. Flying employees to the office may be a large expense, but you can offset that by getting creative with the retreat that doesn’t cost the company an arm and a leg.
3. Avoid “hallway meetings”
Hallway meetings occur when decisions are made while walking past someone in the hallway or discussing the next steps outside of the meeting. This can lead to remote employees feeling out of the loop, or worse, unaware of decisions that are made. If there are any hallway meetings, make them digital, occurring in an asynchronous communication platform like Slack. That way, spontaneous conversations can occur, but they'll be inclusive.
4. Be time-zone conscious
This is a simple but necessary consideration for employees who live in different time zones. Encourage meeting times — especially important ones like all-hands meetings or quarterly kick-offs — that take place during normal business hours for your remote teams.
5. Put the right tools in place
Adopting the right tools is a key ingredient in making sure your remote employees can effectively communicate. Messaging and file sharing apps like Slack are one way to increase collaboration. Project management tools like Trello and Asana can help managers and employees stay organized even when they aren’t in the same office.