Not every workplace has all its employees in the same place. Different office locations, business trips, and freelancers mean your workforce may be geographically scattered. So how do you effectively communicate from home base if your team is remote and widespread?
First things first – invest in the best virtual meeting platform technology you can work into your budget. If you can’t all be in one place, the next best thing is regularly scheduled virtual meetings. Everyone should have a camera so employees get a chance to know who they’re talking to and put names to faces.
Sure, you may not want to see yourself on camera, but your coworkers will appreciate seeing who they’ve been collaborating with and emailing.
If video conferences aren’t relevant to your business, make sure employees at least have some way to get in touch with each other, like Slack, Skype, or even a private Facebook group. Have at least one platform where employees can engage, communicate, and share information with each other.
Foster connection among employees, allowing them to engage and build work relationships. Provide opportunities for non-work related connections to show your employees you know they’re people, not just workers.
If possible, organize small group outings for those in the same city. Even if that’s not feasible, you can still be the connector that brings people together remotely.
Create “water cooler” moments by calling out important events, like birthdays, marriages, or someone completing an important goal. Get to know your employees, and engage in small talk whenever possible to get to know them. This shows your employees you value them and care about their lives.
Sending care packages can go a long way to show your employees you want them to feel included. Is your next meeting being catered at the main office? Order something for your remote employees too. Everyone deserves bagels.
Make sure you also set clear communication expectations about when you can and can’t be reached. Virtual employees need to know when they can expect a response from you and their colleagues since informal interactions are hard to come by remotely.
When managing remote employees, strive for inclusiveness. Be a connector who promotes engagement by knowing your employees, giving them an avenue to communicate with you and each other.
Take time to get to know your employees on at least a semi- personal level, and ensure everyone feels welcomed even if they’re working remotely. This will lead to better coworker relationships, employee retention, and performance.