heard the phrase, “Out of sight, out of mind?” Too often, that’s
how remote employees feel. But just because they’re not
physically present doesn't means they should be left out of
important conversations and culture-building activities.
from personal experience, I’ve seen what a morale damper it can
be when colleagues perceive our company to be too “San Fran
centric,” as one put it. Instead of being reactive, the best
thing you can do is show you value each and every employee --
regardless of where they work -- on a consistent basis.
are five best practices you can implement right away.
Cool Web Tools to Help You Stay Connected With Your Team
Make communication seamless.
may seem obvious, but it bears repeating: If you have remote
team members, invest in all of the necessary tools to ensure
that they feel connected. From HipChat to Skype or Slack
and Asana, finding ways to limit the amount of email and
also help everyone understand where a project stands will make
their lives -- and yours -- much easier
simply having the tools available isn’t enough: It’s about using them.
It’s not an all-hands meeting if all the hands aren’t aware and
plugged in, which is the home office’s responsibility to make
happen. Hold your team accountable to themselves and to each
other, and find ways to incentivize collaboration and
communication across offices.
Cultivate social interaction.
happen out loud. In a best-case scenario, your remote employees
are working at satellite offices with other colleagues. But for
individuals who are clocking in from a home office, the lack of
conversation -- whether on work topics or not -- can
limit perspective and squelch innovation. To improve the latter
scenario, see if it’s possible to have your team member work out
of a co-working space. Not only do these places offer
access to conference rooms, a kitchen full of snacks and
even a game room for that much-needed break, but they also help
foster a clear distinction between home and office. If a
co-working setup isn’t available, consider giving your team
members an extra nudge to get out of the house (and resist the
temptation of crawling back into bed) by sending them a gift
card to a local coffee shop.
if you have the budget, consider purchasing a telepresence robot
like the ones from Vgo or Double
Robotics. These allow remote workers to have a physical
presence in your office even when they’re miles away, so they
can feel more connected. Even something as simple as engaging in
office chatter can make a huge difference.
one of my previous companies, when a team from another office
was in town for a week-long project, they immediately set up an
always-on video conferencing presence with their home
colleagues. What made them great was that they didn’t allow
distance to interfere with their ability to collaborate as a
to Create Much-Needed Structure for Your Remote Workforce
Schedule regular visits.
to flying your remote employees to headquarters at least once
each year. Make their trip worthwhile in terms of business goals
and company meetings (it should go without saying that the best
time to host an offsite is when everyone is
present) but allow time for team-building as well.
Organize a happy hour, take them out to lunch and invite
them to pinch-hit in the company softball league. On and off the
field, make them feel like a part of the team.
the same token, leadership must visit remote offices regularly.
Don’t make these visits feel like inspection tours, but go for a
few days, work remotely yourself and make sure your teams
get to know you as more than a voice on a conference line.
Empower local involvement.
creative ways for your remote employees to become involved as a
representative of your company. Industry events and local
conferences offer opportunities to elevate the profile of your
business among the broader community. Similarly, show your team
that their region is a priority by offering to sponsor a Meetup
or host a networking happy hour where they can serve as your
brand ambassador. By facilitating their attendance at job fairs,
encouraging them to speak at a school’s career day or
sponsoring their membership to a professional organization’s
local chapter, you’ll help employees understand that their
presence makes a difference.
Model inclusive behavior.
the end of the day, it all starts with you. Show your employees
how to treat long-distance colleagues by checking in with your
remote team members frequently, prompting collaboration and
finding ways to include them even if it takes an extra step or a
few dollars. It’s easy to continue talking with the people in
the room if a call drops but model good behavior by making
sure that everyone is able to participate before continuing.
Once they see that you’ve prioritized inclusiveness, it will
become part of your company culture.
of what you choose to implement, you must lay the foundation for
a strong company culture that transcends physical location. By
showing all employees that you value each and every person that
represents your brand, you’ll set the tone for the months and
years to come.