If you’re a company with both an office and remote employees, you have likely seen a difference in how your in office staff communicates and how your remote team communicates. The logistics of being able to meet up for lunch, or around the watercooler, creates a convenience for in office staff that helps create and maintain connections.
So how do you stay connected with remote employees? The solution is simple and for businesses that take the steps to establish seamless remote communications, it helps to solidify remote staff as the integral part of your team that they truly are.
Tools for Remote Communications
I know what you’re thinking – “Tools? That means extra money doesn’t it?” – not quite. All of the tools that assist in remote communications are tools that your company should already be utilizing to communicate remotely within your building. Tools such as Slack, 15Five and Google Hangouts, are essential for effective business communications and employee engagement and management.
Slack provides instant communication with its chat functionality for groups of all sizes. 15Five allows managers to monitor the productivity and morale of their team and gives employees an opportunity to voice their opinion, ask questions and feel connected to the overall objective of the company. Google Hangouts and other video call services, allow for the “face-to-face” communication that most of us are accustomed to. These tools are what allow for entire companies to be remote and make business communication seamless for teams of all sizes and functions.
Tactics that Promote Remote Relations
If your organization is struggling to establish connections with its remote employees, there a few tactics that remote companies utilize to stay connected regardless of the distance between employees.
Robust Onboarding – Establish the importance of a new employee right from the start. Put new hires on the spot in an onboarding meeting, give them a spotlight feature in your company’s newsletter or have them fill out a survey that covers some basic information, as well as leaves room for a couple fun facts or interesting stories.
Company Newsletter – The transparency and involvement of a company newsletter can help keep employees informed of what’s happening with the organization and their coworkers. Make room for employee bios and fun facts to help spark conversations and promote collaboration.
Team Meetings (Fun) – Having a regular meeting that is focused around fun, getting-to-know-you games and activities is a great way to connect with your remote employees. Have a different employee host the call and generate the game in order to involve your entire team.
Hangout Channel – Create a channel for communication that is solely focused on weekend plans, shows to binge and pictures of pets and kids. This creates a virtual water cooler for remote employees to gather around and feel the same comradery that in-house employees do.
Establishing a Culture of Remote Business
No matter the tools and tactics you try, if you don’t establish your remote teams as integral members of your organization, then you run the risk of your remote employees detaching from the rest of the company. Staying connected is as much about the intent to involve your remote employees in the same ways in which you would involve your in-office staff. Make sure that your employees understand that they should take the time to get to know their remote co-workers on a professional and personal level. Encourage diverse and in-depth conversations and most importantly, lead by example. Get to know your “virtual” staff and allow the convenience of technology to break down the barrier of space between you and your many team members.
Nebula Solutions is dedicated to creating virtual connections on all levels. Whether you are tasking an employee with a project, closing a sale or generating a close connection that will last forever, you need the right phone and internet systems to make it happen. To better connect with your team, contact Nebula Solutions today and for more business communications advice, bookmark our blog or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.