The days of being glued to your work desk from 9-5 are over. With more companies embracing remote work options, employees are reaping the benefits that come from a flexible, “work from anywhere” approach. Employees find that remote work allows them to be healthier and spend more time with family, without compromising productivity. In fact, according to Workforce Futures: The Role of People in the Future of Work, 83% of employees believe they don't need to be in the office to be productive.
Despite all the benefits, it can be feel isolating to work on a team spanning countries and time zones. Here are some tips to foster a sense of community and camaraderie across your remote workforce.
Enforce video calls
Let’s be honest, there’s nothing quite like working from home in your PJs and cozy slippers. Being as comfortable as possible is one of the true joys that working in a home office brings. However, when it comes to remote team meetings, this mentality has prompted many employees to turn their video function off and dial-in instead. Enforcing video conference calls is an easy way to create a connection between teammates by keeping meetings face-to-face, even at a distance.
Remember the small stuff
Without having a physical “break room” to chat about weekend plans and life updates, it can sometimes be difficult for remote workers to bond on a personal level. Make an effort to remember birthdays and congratulate colleagues on a work or life accomplishment during the next team call. When you learn about upcoming vacations or weekend plans, make it a point to ask them how their trip to the Bahamas was or how their son did in the school play. Remembering the small things will make everyone feel appreciated and more connected.
Schedule weekly update meetings
Time zones are difficult to maneuver around when you have staff working from all over the world. Determine a time that’s convenient across your team and schedule a weekly video meeting where everyone is given a few minutes to share personal and work updates. This provides an opportunity for employees to interact with team members they may not usually work with and is an effective way to quickly learn about your staff’s workload.
Get together in-person
With constant chats, emails, and phone calls, sometimes it feels like we connect more with our colleagues than our family or friends during the workweek! While sending animated GIFs is great, having an occasional chance to meet in-person adds a level of connectivity that can’t be beat. Make it a point to get your entire staff together when you can, whether it’s an annual work retreat or quarterly team dinners.
As more companies provide a flexible “work from anywhere” option for employees, fostering a culture of inclusion is important regardless of location. With these tips, your remote workers will feel included, connected and not so remote after all.