In recent years, remote work has become a popular trend that many businesses are choosing to embrace. According to Upwork, freelancers are predicted to make up the majority of the workforce by 2027. To avoid losing valuable employees to freelance opportunities, businesses will need to embrace uncharted territories by creating new remote positions.
There is no doubt that allowing employees to work remotely will result in new challenges. However, if employers are willing to put in the work, creating a remote team of employees can result in significant benefits.
One of the greatest challenges is cultivating strong relationships among team members who don’t see each other daily. More than two-thirds of remote employees aren’t engaged in their work, and more than one-third never get face to face time with team members. These statistics are potentially detrimental to employers with remote employers and can lead to high employee attrition if not taken into consideration.
Healthy relationships increase trust, efficiency while improving company culture and creating positive vibes among employees. The greater the trust employees have in one another, the more they enjoy their work and feel valued. Unfortunately, creating a connected remote team isn’t always as easy as we would like. Here are five tips to make the process easier.
1. Update All Team Members Regularly
Remote employees are not physically in the office every day, but they still want to know of changes and announcements. When policies or procedures change, don’t just rely on having internal conversations. If you do, remote employees will quickly feel left out and unimportant. Even if a decision is made on the fly, make sure you send an email or video announcement that explains changes to all team members.
2. Use A Real-Time Communication Tool
Whether a team member is 500 feet down the hall or 500 miles away, there are times throughout the day they have questions for other team members. Relying on email or phone calls can be tricky because employees can’t always answer or respond immediately and remote employees might question why their peers are ignoring them. Using a real-time communication tool such as Slack is an excellent way for team members to chat with another, ask questions and get the answers they need more quickly.
3, Use Virtual Conferencing
Set the expectation that video conferencing and discussions is a must for all employees as early as the interview or day one of the individual working at home. Install video equipment in conference rooms so remote employees can easily join in on live weekly or monthly meetings. It is also a good idea to schedule monthly virtual hangouts so co-workers can learn more about one another and find common interests. Once employees feel like they know others, it is easier for them to initiate conversations about work projects and concerns.
4. Schedule A Retreat
Some companies schedule yearly retreats that team members near and far travel to. Productive retreats should include team-building in addition to structured meetings. This brings work and play together and gives team members the opportunity to understand one another and teaches them how to communicate effectively.
In addition to retreats, companies should have scheduled times throughout the year that employees visit the office for training, meetings, and events with other team members.
5. Ask For Feedback
It is easy to check in with employees that you see daily. Don’t forget to schedule one-on-one chats and conversations with remote employees and directly ask them if they feel like part of the team. If they don’t, ask for suggestions on how to make them feel more connected with the rest of the team. And then be sure to implement some of their ideas, so they see they are valued.