Just because remote employees aren’t physically present does not mean they should be left out of company culture, team-building, and important conversations. As a leader, if you have remote team members, make sure to invest in their well-being to make them feel part of the company.
1. Check in with your employees
Check in with each employee virtually to see how things are going. You can schedule weekly video chats to talk with them individually. This ensures that you see everything is going well and also serves to establish rapport between you and your remote employees. Checking up on people once or twice a week via video calls helps them to feel more included and part of the company as a whole, even though they are not physically present.
2. Schedule regular visits
Consider flying out your remote employees to your headquarters a few times a year if they’re far away. If someone resides on the other side of the country or in another country, invest in your team by flying them out for a week trip. If your remote employees are only a few hours away from your headquarters, try organizing weekly or monthly meetings. Make their trips worthwhile in terms of reaching goals related to the company while also having team interaction. The whole meeting or trip does not have to be about work. You can take them out to lunch or a happy hour to establish more rapport.
3. Pair up remote workers
Put remote workers in breakout rooms if you use zoom for your company, and pair them up for projects. Pairing people up encourages collaboration, cooperation, and communication and also helps people to get to know each other better. If your employees are unable to come to the office for a project, they at least are able to work with other remote employees who are also online.
4. Include them in everything
People assume not every meeting is important but when it comes to making your remote employees feel like a part of the company, every meeting IS important. Fill them in on everything that is discussed in the meeting, and give updates about everything. They will appreciate being in the general loop of things, just as an employee who is physically present. Have them tune in to meetings and encourage them to speak with members who are physically present in these meetings to increase collaboration.
5. Create fun initiatives that everyone can participate in
Creating fun initiatives everyone can participate in really helps people to feel like a team. You can schedule virtual movie nights and giveaways online and other events too. You could have a karaoke night for example, and if one of your remote employees is nearby you can pay for their transportation to come in. When lunch is delivered to employees in the office for free, you can also schedule to have it delivered to your remote employees as well to increase feelings of inclusion and make sure they don’t get left out of all the perks that come along with joining the company.
6. Plan yearly retreats
A yearly retreat is a great way to get to know your team and make them feel included. Planning yearly retreats allows your employees to get to know you and each other on a more personal level which will contribute to better collaboration in the office and workplace. You can vote on a poll and give your employees the choice to decide where they want to go. It is a great way to strengthen company culture by strengthening interpersonal bonds within the team.
Sometimes it’s hard to make everyone feel included when not all employees are physically present, but with a few tips, you can strengthen company culture and encourage team building and contribute to the feeling of inclusion for all your employees.