How to Make Remote Employees Feel IncludedAUTHOR: Lena Linetti
Remote employees are those people who are employed by an organization but work outside the main office either at home or in a different town or city. While remote working is convenient for professionals who do it, it comes with a lot of challenges. Studies have shown that remote employees are prone to more stress compared to onsite staff. They also experience interference when working from home and put in long working hours compared to their office-based counterparts.
With all these challenges, why do companies still hire people to work remotely? Remote workers are normally top talented professionals that you cannot find locally. They are the people you hire when you want high-priority tasks performed. Often, you find that such talented professionals prefer flexible working hours which require them to opt for remote working.
While these professionals may not come to the office at all, they remain part of your larger employee pool and you should make them feel included. Here are tips on how to make remote staff feel that they are part of the team:
Promote knowledge sharing across your team
Among the things you want to achieve is to have all your employees collaborate and work together without anyone feeling left out. The best way to get your people to cooperate is by encouraging knowledge sharing. Now that your teams often communicate through email, you can encourage your remote staff to share relevant content with their colleagues in the form of a zip file. Zipped files are easy to transport, share, access, and store. When you have your remote employees taking the lead in such knowledge-sharing activities, they feel that they are part of your organization.
Take time to know your remote staff
Employees working in the main office have the chance to engage in casual chats during health breaks or even after work which strengthens their connection. Remote employees have no one to share experiences of how their weekends were and what is happening in their lives. As a leader, you should find an avenue to have a chat with your remote workers so that they feel engaged. You can achieve this by taking five minutes before a virtual meeting begins to discuss how they are doing. It is through such chats that you can also be able to find out if your remote staff is going through any challenges.
Make use of technology for fun
You can leverage technology to make your staff feel connected. There are interactive platforms such as GitLab that allows people to have virtual coffee and pair them for random video calls. You can easily introduce such tools to be used every week to encourage your remote teams to get to know their other colleagues. Apart from GitLab, there are other platforms such as WhatsApp group chats and LinkedIn groups that can be used to achieve the same purpose. These platforms foster collaboration and are also fun to use.
There is nothing more fulfilling like being appreciated for the work that you do. Remote workers are often not seen as “part of the team” and hence it is easy for them to feel as though their contribution does not matter. You can develop a culture of regularly recognizing people for their accomplishments and focus on motivational activities to keep them engaged. When you take time to celebrate your remote workers, you make them happier and more content to continue working for you.
Have them involved in everything
Assuming that a certain meeting may not be relevant to your remote employees is wrong. Never make such assumptions when you have a remote team because if they were in the office, they would attend such meetings. Therefore, you should make a point of calling them and engaging them as much as possible. There is nothing like too much engagement when you have a remote team. That is the only way to make them feel involved.
An organization with remote workers is one that is leveraging the best talents in the market. As a leader, you have to constantly make your remote team feel included to avert disengagement and their exit from your company. While it may be a huge task to develop a culture of making remote workers feel engaged, it is worth the effort. The above tips provide you with some of the most effective ways to make those remote employees feel that they are part of your organization.