The global pandemic has changed the way we work in so many ways. Perhaps one of the most significant changes is the number of people now working remotely. According to a recent survey, 42% of American workers say they are now working remotely full time, and another 10% are working remotely part time. That's a significant increase from the pre-pandemic days when just 7% of workers worked remotely full time.
Working remotely can be a great way to promote work-life balance and boost productivity. But it can also be isolating. In a traditional office setting, employees have opportunities for impromptu interactions and bonding experiences that help build relationships and foster a sense of connection. When employees are remote, those opportunities for connection are not as readily available. As an employer, it's important to find ways to help your remote employees stay connected and engaged. Here are three ideas:
1. Encourage regular check-ins.
When employees are working remotely, they can sometimes feel like they're out of sight and out of mind. To combat this, encourage regular check-ins between managers and employees. These check-ins can be done via video conference, phone call, or even just a quick chat via instant messenger. The goal is to provide employees with an opportunity to touch base with their manager on a regular basis, set goals, and receive feedback. This will help them feel supported and motivated.
2. Encourage social interaction outside of work hours.
One of the best parts about working in an office is the social interaction that takes place outside of work hours. Whether it's grabbing lunch together or going for after-work drinks, these interactions help build relationships and foster a sense of community among coworkers. Since remote employees don't have these opportunities for social interaction built into their workday, it's important to encourage them to seek out social interaction outside of work hours. This could mean arranging virtual happy hours or coffee dates, starting an online book club, or joining a virtual community for remote workers (there are plenty of these on Facebook and LinkedIn).
3. Promote company culture through shared values and common goals.
A strong company culture can help workers feel connected to something bigger than themselves—even when they're not physically together in an office. There are many ways to promote company culture among remote employees. One way is by sharing company values and common goals through internal communications channels such as an intranet or company newsletter. Encouraging employees to live out these values in their personal lives can also help them feel more connected to the company culture (for example, by wearing branded apparel or sharing company content on social media). Finally, offering opportunities for professional development and growth will show employees that they are valued members of the team who have a future with the company—no matter where they happen to be working from at any given moment.
As an employer, it's important to find ways to help your remote employees stay connected and engaged with each other—and with the company. By encouraging regular check-ins between managers and employees, promoting social interaction outside of work hours, and promoting company culture through shared values and common goals, you can help your remote employees find connection and thrive.