Technological advancements have brought about so many changes in the world today. The COVID-19 pandemic really demonstrated how cost and time effective it can for employees to work from home. But, working from home also comes with a few disadvantages, especially in a work setting where it has never been done before and unusual occurrences forced them to adopt the method.
These disadvantages could include Increased distractions, an imbalance between work and personal life, a lack of relationships among co-workers due to little or no visibility, lack of communication, issues or challenges with management and accountability, Issues with logistics and payment, lack of productivity, security issues and feeling isolated in meetings.
Since remote employees might be unable to attend meetings physically, are there ways to include them in the company’s meetings so as to carry them along? Of course, there are, and in this article, there will be explained to you in detail. Since remote workers are also part of the company, keeping them involved in meetings is critical to the company’s success, and below are a few tips on how to achieve that as the management of a company.
( Also Read: 18 Reasons to Consider Remote Employees in 2021 )
Tips on How to Make Remote Employees Feel Connected
Keep People Updated
It is important and critical to keep your remote workforce in the know and updated about frequently changing policies and rules, so as to defeat any form of uncertainty or curiosity they might be feeling.
As the manager of a company, sharing company news with your employees before making a general announcement to the public gives them a sense of belonging in the company, and through this, questions and feedback will arise, that might even scale things up. This is why keeping them updated should be a part of the company’s routine.
Help people feel empowered
For the good of your company and its remote employees, it’s essential to help them feel empowered in any area that you can, especially because anything could happen at any time. A survey conducted during the early period of COVID revealed how empowered remote workers were able to thrive more from the comfort of their home than remote workers who were not empowered at all.
Empowering them could be as simple as giving them a sense of autonomy, that is, to take charge of small issues such as asking them whether they are more comfortable with audio or video meetings.
Support personal and professional wellbeing
Your remote employees are humans not robots, hence they have feelings and go through a lot that you might not be able to notice remotely. This is why you should be extra vigilant and observant as a manager. Look for clues that show that your remote employees might be facing one challenge or the other.
Such clues could include calling in sick, skipping meetings, muting their audio, and randomly switching off their camera. One of the best ways to support personal and professional wellbeing is by providing access to different pieces of training and funding the training. You can also encourage them to discuss their issues and problems.
Encourage remote employees to communicate with each other
As little as it might be, let your team members engage in informal retreats. If you have a small team, talking amongst themselves will increase intimacy and trust but if your remote team is very large, then the retreat could be broken into batches of several groups.
A one-on-one conversation with you as the manager is also very important, as they believe you are their superior hence you know more. Always be friendly and make yourself accessible because you’re basically a father figure.
Help them feel part of company culture
A company’s culture may be hard to pin down depending on the nature, type, and size of the company. In fact, with the steady increase in hybrid working, a lot of managers will struggle and find it very difficult to communicate the culture of the company to its employees or even make them feel like they are a part of it.
To make them feel more included in the company’s culture, make sure they imbibe and feed on your company’s values and watch how those values make them evolve. However, there must be extremely good values. Once you see them putting in the effort, you can organize a reward scheme to award gifts or certificates to them as a means of recognition and appreciation.
Keep an open line of communication
This simply means your phone line and “office hours” must always be open and accessible to all of your employees at any time of the day. Imagine how distressing it would be if they tried to reach you on phone for hours over an issue they urgently need your input on.
Make sure everyone’s voices are heard
The fact that your remote employees are deskless doesn’t mean they are voiceless; hence you should treat them accordingly. Nobody wants to work for an organization that does not listen to or values their contributions. A lot of workers desperately wish to prove their worth to their hiring company.
When considering enlisting the services of remote workers in your company, make it a point of duty to occasionally find ways to give them a say through their mobile social platforms like Facebook and Zoom, as well as traditional methods like surveys. During meetings, give your remote workers a lot of time to talk, especially if they are already feeling disconnected.
When they finally speak, make sure you listen to them and give encouraging feedback. In fact, make them talk when they have nothing to say. Even on group chat, do the same when they send messages. Use words like “That’s great”, “Fantastic”, “Way to go” and “Bravo”.
Do fun activities to engage remote employees
As you know, all work and no play makes Jack a Dull boy. A lot of people naturally love participating in leisure activities to ease off work stress, so ensure to create and develop planned fun activities for your employees, such as karaoke nights, quizzes, book clubs, and sporting activities.
To encourage engagement, allocate ample time for these moments of connection and make your remote employees decide on themes. Let the choice be solely theirs, which is another way of making them feel like a part of the company.
Schedule hybrid working to maximize the connection
A key and crucial aspect of remote employee satisfaction is the flexibility of work hours, especially when these workers already have other commitments and priorities that are also important to them. If teams are not online simultaneously, the feeling of disconnection will increase over time, therefore, develop ways to strike a balance between giving your employees free time and giving them time to be online at the same time.
As we are steadily discovering new ways of working, encouraging your remote employees to come into the workplace at the same time each week or month or probably every fortnight can also make people feel more connected.
Use communication tools to support and boost engagement
The use of communication tools will also help to boost engagement between all employees and make remote employees, particularly, feel like a part of the company. You can give them the option of using their preferred communication tool or media channel to share updates and conversations.
With all these points, we really hope we have been able to help you bridge the feeling of isolation among remote employees. Remote work and remote workers are here to stay for the foreseeable future but employees still need to feel engaged and part of a team.