Having a remote workforce adds both flexibility and complexity to the employee experience, and it’s important to keep remote workers feeling connected. Here are a few ways to help keep remote employees engaged and connected:

1. Hold video meetings in addition to calls.
Video meetings help make interactions more personal and engaging. They help remote employees feel like they know their managers and coworkers better because they can put a face to a name. Make sure to also periodically ask remote employees directly to weigh in so they continue to feel involved throughout every call or meeting.

2. If remote employees are in different time zones, choose meeting times 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 those in-office and their time is valued equally.

3. Provide similar “perks” for remote employees.
For example, if you’ve ordered in catering for the office, offer to send remote employees lunch as well. If the team is celebrating a happy hour together, FaceTime them in for the initial toast.

4. Arrange in-person meetings a few times per year.
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.

5. Make sure your 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 – just as you would with an in-office teammate. Taking a few minutes to get to know each other helps build positive workplace culture, even when remote.

6. Utilize messaging programs like Slack.
Whether it’s to communicate a project update, share a Google Doc, or even just follow up on how their weekend was, Slack (or any messaging software) makes it easier for remote employees to contact their in-office colleagues in real-time, and vice-versa. Even further, encouraging use of Slack’s status feature is an easy way to communicate lunch breaks, meeting times, and days off for all employees.

7. Check in with them.
Without the daily water cooler chats, it’s easy to assume all is well with your remote employees. It’s important to check in with them on how they’re doing working remotely. Are there any areas you can work together on to make sure they feel more included? Having proactive and transparent check-ins is key to building a happy, productive remote employee team.