Managing remote employees requires a different strategy than an in-person environment in order to facilitate productivity and collaboration, while also cultivating a positive culture. Although remote work can be advantageous for employees due to having autonomy over their work environment and being able to focus without common workplace distractions, there is a common obstacle managers need to take steps to prevent: employees feeling isolated and not connected to the team. Check out these useful ways to get remote employees to work together as a team:
Create a Space for Interaction
The quintessential office “water cooler” conversations during which employees make personal conversation is actually a vital part of building a sense of belonging. Remote employees often do not have an opportunity to have this time for informal talk unrelated to work topics. Create a space for interaction, such as a group Slack channel that is strictly for fun, and encourage your remote employees to chat. You can also intentionally build in time for chit-chat into your team meeting agendas so your employees can connect on a more personal level.
Establish a Standard Communication Protocol
There are a variety of technology platforms that can be used for communication for remote work, so it’s important to get everyone on the same page to make it easier for them to work together. Establish a standard communication protocol to give your remote employees guidelines on how to collaborate. For example, let everyone know that email is the preferred method for regular outreach, while instant messages are best for urgent, time-sensitive manners. If a significant portion of your employees’ work is project-based, consider investing in project management software or other collaboration tools that allow them to interact with and store information on specific projects in one space.
Host Remote Social Activities
Often the most effective way to help employees work together as a team is to get them to engage with one another in situations that are completely unrelated to work. Since popping out for a quick team lunch isn’t as feasible for remote work, be intentional about hosting remote social activities. For example, a virtual coffee break in which everyone videoconferences and enjoys their beverage of choice, playing team games together online, or having everyone stream the same movie or television show as a virtual viewing party.
Attract Top Talent
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