The workplace environment is changing. Companies are more global than ever before and many are utilizing remote working options. With that new freedom comes a new challenge – how do you stay connected and celebrate when you can’t be face to face with your team?
When Interworks expanded our global reach to include onsite remote facilitators, we determined ahead of time the need to keep team spirit and connectivity alive and well. Activities to foster awareness and celebration of our co-workers, who may not be in the home office, are paramount. Here are some ideas you can try to stay connected with remote workers on your team.
The Weekly Update
The Weekly Update is just that – a short email report sent by individuals to their team, or company-wide, usually on a Friday afternoon or work-week end. The report typically includes such items as accomplishments, progress on a project and perhaps something personal – such as family celebrations, birthdays, vacations, graduations, new baby, etc. The not-to-be-missed section is acknowledgements and celebrations. Here’s a chance to compliment and high five co-workers for a top net promoter score, closing a sale, or just for being a great teammate. Surveys reveal this is the most read and enjoyed section of the weekly update.
Team Member Spotlight
This is a chance to shine the light on a team member who may not be well known to others. Our team has created videos, games and even a puppet show for that special team member. The presentation can be made during a regular meeting or by email distribution and we record them to share with those who cannot be present.
Birthday cards or e-greetings provide an extra touch that says we honor the date of your birth. Make sure the card or greetings will, of course, not violate any human resources codes of conduct. Our employees relish this time-honored tradition of a snail mail card with everyone’s signatures or cut and pasted birthday salutations.
Check-ins and Needs
Though the goal of most meetings is to get through the agenda expeditiously, some meetings could include “Check-ins and Needs” as an agenda item, especially if the team members only meet as a group every 2-3 weeks. A check-in is a 2 minutes or less announcement by each team member as to family news, work accomplishments, hobby updates – similar to items in the Weekly Update. Time and agenda permitting, consider the idea of Needs – a chance for a team member to seek assistance on an upcoming task or project or to notify team members of pending vacations or deadlines.
All these suggestions are predicated on the size of your organization and teams. There are special considerations involved when meetings occur in multiple time zones, so it’s important to be respectful of those team members who may be participating outside their standard business hours.
Distance doesn’t have to mean relationships suffer. Remote teams can still stay engaged with some small adjustments to allow everyone to connect and share. The chance to share and learn something new about their colleagues just might entice better and livelier attendance at meetings!
~ Kim Brewster
Office & HR Lead