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4 Ways to Help Your Remote Workers Feel Part of the Team

In today’s rapidly evolving work environment, more companies are expanding their searches past traditional methods to find skilled employees. Gallup’s study in 2015 discovered that 24% of workers telecommute 10 or more days every month and statistics over the past decade have proven that telecommuting is becoming an integral part of corporations around the world. As a result, a lot of managers find themselves in a position where parts of their team work remotely.

Even though these valuable employees aren’t attending the office daily, it’s important to ensure that these team members feel like they’re an invaluable part of the company’s culture. There are obvious perks to hiring remote workers. However, without a conscious effort to make these prized employees feel included, these isolated team members can find themselves feeling undervalued, underappreciated and lonely.

The benefits of remote working are incredibly valuable for businesses around the world. Studies from ConnectSolutions suggest that working from home boosts production 77% and research from Stanford indicated less employee turnover. And while there are a lot of perks to adding team members that work from home, telecommuters often end up missing the daily interactions that occur in “office life”. When employees are physically present in the office, they naturally buy into the company’s culture.

4 Ways to Help Your Remote Workers Feel Part of the Team

The game quickly changes with isolated workers. There’s no water cooler to bring them together and nothing but a conscious effort can bring the team into collaboration. As a manager, it’s up to you to make sure that every telecommuter feels like they’re a part of the team. Here are 4 ways to show how much you value employees even if they happen to be halfway across the world.

#1. Utilize Technology

As a manager, it’s crucial to ensure your team has the necessary technology to feel connected. It’s frequent for telecommuters to find themselves in a vast ocean of virtual communication. By using apps like Skype, Slack and Asana, you can boost your team bonding through live collaboration. You can even bring your remote employees to life by using video conferences, project management systems, file sharing networks, cloud technology and social media.

As a manager, you’ll find that your team’s production will skyrocket when they connect face to face through technology. By setting time aside for video conferences and one on one meetings, your team will begin to buy into your company and its culture. It’s easy to lose personal connection while working from home, so putting a face to a name becomes invaluable for team building.

#2. Encourage Social Interaction

If your team is lacking in social interaction, you can find your employees consistently missing deadlines and find that the team’s morale is on life support. Loneliness can quickly become a part of telecommuting and most employees respond incredibly well to social interaction. Bringing your team together can inspire innovation, enjoyment and production across your entire team. Today’s tech makes communicating easy and team bonding is irreplaceable inside of your workforce.

Through consistently facilitating communication across your team, you’ll inspire ideas, laughter, perspective and innovation. Bringing your employees together will bring a sense of purpose and passion into your company; and as managers, we understand the value that inspiration brings to the table. And if you feel like one of your telecommuters isn’t happy, try finding him or her a nice co-working space to boost their morale.

#3. Get to Know Your Team Personally

When working with telecommuters, it’s easy to make your most valuable workers feel undervalued. So, when you get a new member to the team, always take the time out of your schedule to get to know them one on one and let them know how happy you are to have them as a part of the team. As your relationship develops over time, make sure that every one of your remote employees gets weekly one on one time and ask them about their personal life. Really bond with them and get to know them beyond their job description.

Keep up with your team and bring a personal touch into video conferences so you can build trust and value across your entire team. While remote employees are naturally productive, there’s no replacement for a team that’s connected. Get to know your team’s optimal schedules and find good times to set up calls. For example, a 9AM conference time could be terrible for your employee in Colorado if he or she is dropping off the kids to school. Be mindful and respectful to make sure every employee feels respected; because a team that’s in sync, is a team that will earn you a promotion.

#4. Keep Them Involved

Helping remote workers understand their role and impact they have within your company helps them feel more engaged. While almost no employee lasts forever, you can retain your skilled isolated employees a lot longer than the average office worker, but you have to stay in touch. In order to do this, it’s important for your telecommuters to understand the company’s vision and how they fit into the goals of the company. By consistently streamlining company goals, team schedules and individual production, you’ll be able to make every employee feel important and connected.

When you’re making decisions on projects and providing your team with updates, don’t leave anyone out of the loop. If one remote worker speaks to another remote worker before you get a chance to, you’ll break rapport and trust with your highly skilled workers. Over time, break down in communications can affect how hard your employees work for you and can ultimately lead to missed deadlines and decreased production. On video conference calls, address your team individually and explain the importance each individual has to the team across every project. This allows your team to work together and streamlines the workflow of every stage of your project.

For example, if Rick needs important information on the updated security protocol, it’s easy for him to give Chelsea a call if he knows she’s in charge. But if he’s out of the loop, your project will hit a kink and you’ll have to address individual overlaps that could have been solved during the conference call. By keeping all of your employees in the loop, you’ll eliminate frustration from your team and you’ll allow your remote workers to bring their creativity and productivity skills to a new level. This allows your team to get more involved in the decision-making process and will make them feel like they are contributing to the company on a higher level.

Final Words

Remote employees can provide a challenge to even the most skilled managers and making a telecommuter feel valuable can be one of the trickiest aspects of management. However, with a little help from technology, these 4 simple tricks can transform your isolated and lonely employees into an integral part of your company. These simple practices can provide a much-needed spark in the community, increase workflow across your entire team, and retain the most skilled employees for a longer period of time.

Have you ever managed a team of remote workers? Share some of the best practices you consider invaluable for managing a team of remote employees.

Image: video call. woman and man talking on web camera in office

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Natalie Smith is a freelance copywriter from Seattle who is enthusiastic about marketing topics, as well as about the business world in general. You can reach her on Twitter

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