Remote working has grown in popularity over recent years to the extent that 1 in 5 Australians have three or more locations that they work from. When it comes to working remotely on a global scale, 70% of people work remotely at least once a week.
One of the biggest challenges with remote workers is how you will connect team members. Communication is key to collaborating and ensuring the success of your business.
Try these tips to help your team members to stay connected.
People need to have shared in-person experiences to build trust and rapport. By budgeting for a yearly get together, you enable this to happen.
Create an event out of it. Plan to have some work-related activities. Then plan for some fun activities where your remote workers can relax and let loose with each other.
If you have in-house and remote workers, then this is the perfect time to have them interact in person. This will help create a bond between the two categories of employees.
Create Bonding Opportunities
It isn’t enough to have everyone get together once a year. Continue to build on the foundations made at the annual event by creating bonding experiences throughout the year.
You can do this by creating a forum that allows for remote employees to share personal triumphs or major life events. This will enable people to learn about each other and continue to build connections and relationships.
You could have a weekly or bi-weekly meeting that everyone is required to attend either in person or virtually. Then start that meeting by having everyone share two positive things.
One will be business-related. The other will be personal. This way, you can start the meeting off on a good note, support, and learn about each other.
When people connect with another person, they are more likely to be patient and empathetic. This is key when your team is supposed to be working together.
Think about your interactions with customer service people in your personal life. You are more likely to have patience with the person providing service in person than the one you are speaking to from some distant call center.
This same treatment happens with your remote employees. By helping them show the person behind the name, people are more likely to work together better. Otherwise, you risk them becoming a faceless name at the end of an email.
Use Technology to Stay in Touch
When your employees are not physically near each other, it is vital that you have an open flow of communication. Having the latest technology will enable you to connect with your team through tools like video monitoring.
You will also need a high high-quality internet service. This will enable free use of your business telco tools.
When choosing your technology, think about what is accessible for both you and your remote workers. You don’t want to choose top of the line cameras that are only available from one IT supplier. Instead, opt for a method that your remote worker can purchase on their own, and then you reimburse them.
Choose One Method
One thing you will realize quickly is that the number of options for communication platforms is overwhelming. Do not fall into the trap of choosing too many platforms for communication.
This will confuse and reduce productivity for your remote workers. Instead of wasting time chasing down messages, give workers one or two platforms to work with.
Choose one for your video communications. Then choose another for group communication through text.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
To effectively engage people, ask them an open-ended question. This requires them to create their own answer and contribute. When you do this, you can learn a lot about your employee’s state of mind.
It will also make the employee feel valued and a part of the team.
If you need to decide on something that affects the remote workers, then ask for their input. You don’t have to do exactly what the remote employees say, but asking for their input will give them a sense of control and give you insight.
Don’t Forget Personal Contact
We’ve already discussed how having a weekly meeting can be helpful. But you shouldn’t ignore the power of a personal touch. Reach out to your remote employees individually.
You could do this through email, text, or even a phone call. This personal attention makes your remote worker feel valued.
Too often, people fall back on only relying on email. The problem with this is that it is impersonal. Text can also be misconstrued as the tone of the words on a screen can be interpreted a million different ways.
Nothing is more frustrating than reaching out to someone with a problem or question, only to never receive a response. One way to stay connected is to lead by example.
If you want your remote employees to be attentive and responsive, then you need to be too. If your remote worker reaches out, don’t delay your response.
This prompt response from you will inspire trust and the growth of a teamlike atmosphere.
Responding promptly also helps reinforce the idea of accountability. There is the perception that people who work from home use it as an excuse to slack off all day.
When you make a habit of responding promptly to people, then you set the company culture for responsiveness. Your remote workers will follow suit and also respond swiftly. This prompt response back will assist in convincing naysayers that remote workers are the way to go.
Connect Team Members Today
Hiring remote workers can save your company a significant amount of money. However, you need to ensure that your remote workers will stay productive through open communication.
You can help connect team members by providing avenues for them to connect and collaborate both virtually and in person.
Check out small business tips and advice for more insight on how to successfully run your business.