Having a remote workforce adds both flexibility and complexity to the employee experience. Many organizations work hard to keep remote workers connected without in-office engagement. Here are a few ideas on ways to help keep remote employees engaged and connected.
- Make sure to hold frequent video meetings, in addition to calls. Video meetings help make interactions more personal, and help remote employees feel like they know their managers and coworkers because they can put a face to a name, even during non-video calls. Make sure to also periodically ask remote employees directly to weigh in so they continue to feel involved throughout every call or meeting.
- If remote employees are in different time zones, choose meeting times that will be during their business hours. If this isn’t always possible, try to alternate between time zones for scheduling purposes. Employees will feel more connected when they feel their schedules are as important as in-office employees’ and their time is valued equally.
- Try to provide a similar experience for remote employees. For example, if you’ve ordered in catering for the office, offer to send them lunch as well.
- Arrange for in-person meetings a few times per year. There is no replacement for old-fashioned face time, and spending a few hours or days working together in the same place goes a long way towards creating and maintaining rapport that can improve your working relationship even after a visit.
- Make sure your phone and video calls and meetings include some social conversation, just as an in-person meeting might. Ask remote employees questions about their personal lives, remember their answers, and follow up. For example, ask about your employees’ plans for the weekend. If they are going to see a movie that weekend or attend their child’s basketball game, ask how the movie was or how the game went when you speak on Monday, whether you have a call scheduled or are just shooting them an email to follow up on a project.
- Utilize instant messaging programs like Cisco Jabber, Slack or Skype for Business daily. This makes it easier for remote employees to contact their in-office colleagues in real-time and vice-versa, allowing employees to ask each other quick questions without having to pick up the phone or draft an email each time. Many of these clients also allow for seamless file and screen sharing, which are also helpful for employees working together in different locations.