With the development of technology and modern means of communications, businesses have gotten an opportunity to expand their talent pool by including remote workers amongst their ranks. Regardless of whether those employees are from the neighboring city or a different state, this digital age allows us to have real-time communication so that even the smallest of details can be relayed. For entrepreneurs who are uncertain about how to go about integrating remote employees into their office teams or those that wish to improve their relationships, here are a few pieces of advice.
Establish Regular Meetings
Depending on the workload, you should schedule weekly or bi-weekly meetings with the entire team which includes the remote members – although you can oversee the project’s progress through management software, it can be quite useful for the entire team to go over what was done, just in case somebody has missed something. Also, since every team member will get an opportunity to present individual achievements, they will be able to talk to each other, exchange ideas, and learn a bit more about each other’s skills and knowledge.
In order for these meetings to be efficient, it is essential that they become obligatory and that they are done through a video call. The text-only manner of communication can sometimes cause misunderstandings and cannot convey all shades of meaning, which is why video calls are so important. The only potentially challenging element is to find the perfect time for these meetings, especially if you have multiple remote workers who are not in the same time zone.
Strive to Learn More About Them
For remote employees to feel a real sense of belonging, they need to get acquainted with the ideas behind your brand, the manner in which your business is operated, as well as who they are working with. The more they know about your products and corporate culture, the better because there are many things that employees who work from the office have spontaneously absorbed and to which remote employees have no knowledge about.
This is why you need to provide them with as much information as possible but to integrate them into the team, you would also need to learn more about them. Naturally, you shouldn’t insist on knowing some details about their lives which are too private but it is useful to take note of the things they themselves emphasize as being their interest. Knowing such details and mentioning them shows your respect and genuine care and it will make them feel appreciated and create a stronger bond with your business.
While employees working from the office can see how their work fits into the overall picture more easily, remote employees may have difficulty understanding the value of their work in the company’s grand scheme of things. This is why stating individual accomplishments and praising them during regular meetings is crucial for their self-esteem and their feeling of acceptance.
When it comes to completing a project ahead of time, you can show your appreciation by presenting them a gift or a bonus. You have to make everyone feel they work under equal standards which means you need to find a manner for remote workers to get the same type of prize. For instance, by giving each team member a reloadable prepaid visa card with your company’s logo, you will be able to send bonuses which can be spent on anything. This would serve as both a reward and stimulation since a reloadable card means that there might be more bonuses if they all give it their best as a team.
Ask for Their Feedback
Another manner for your remote workers to feel included is to ask for their feedback on a regular basis but not only about the project itself. Of course, it is important to know their opinion on how the project is going, especially if they are not so keen to speak openly on the team meetings for the fear of being misinterpreted. You should always encourage everyone to speak their minds but for more sensitive topics, face-to-face meetings over video calls are perhaps a better solution.
What’s vital is that you ask them how they feel about their coworkers and their collaboration, whether they think they are treated fairly, and listen to any suggestions they might have. This could not only help them feel more included and valued but it could provide you with important pieces of information which you can use to refine certain procedures or upgrade communication channels. You might also change the manner they communicate with their coworkers or the frequency and in that way make them more efficient.
Meet in Person
Although meetings and feedback with the aid of video calls mean a lot when it comes to strengthening the bonds within the team, meeting in person reinforces them even more. You can go about it by organizing team buildings where the entire team is invited so they can spend some time getting to know each other outside of work and participating in activities which will make them collaborate in person.
You can also visit them in their city or country and when it is possible to organize such meetings, bring the other team members with you or at least some. You can rent some office space and get them to work together in person which will provide them with insight into each other’s strategies and routines. And after work, you can spend some time socializing in a relaxed manner and you can have the remote member you are visiting show you around.