Employees need to bond, even remotely

Despite its perks, remote work can be isolating. One of the many challenges of managing a remote team is that the typical day-to-day interactions can’t be replicated virtually. A recent study by Slack revealed that connecting remote employees is essential to team satisfaction. And 91 percent of workers said they wanted to feel connected to their work colleagues.

Employees bond

Top-down, one-way communication is not enough, especially in the current environment. To truly be connected, employees need a safe and secure channel to communicate and share their feedback. Employee surveys and easy-to-use communication platforms encourage the flow of open and consistent conversations.

When your people don’t feel connected, employee engagement is at risk. This impacts everything from employee retention and referrals to productivity, motivation, and even business outcomes.

There are remote employee engagement activities and strategies that can help you maintain an engaged workforce. The good news is that what makes a great workplace is the same, whether your employees are onsite or work remotely.

Communication is the glue that keeps your employees connected and invested in the work they do. Organizations that make communication a priority unlock the enormous potential to build trust, leading to loyal employees who want to stick around.

Effective communication is a two-way street. And in a remote working environment, this can be a challenge. Collaborative tools such as Slack, Zoom, and Google Meet can facilitate this and strengthen the sense of connection.

Remote employees don’t benefit from the connections made during lunch breaks, birthday celebrations, and other day-to-day interactions that create a sense of belonging and workplace culture. Consider employee engagement activities to promote remote employee engagement. Try scheduling activities such as virtual coffee breaks, online games, show and tell, and happy hours to bring employees closer and create a sense of “we are in this together.”

Asking employees to be present for video conferences and allowing small talk is another way to build remote employee engagement and cultivate a sense of community.

Sometimes, it can be easy to forget about how far you have come. Celebrating milestones and success along the way is often overlooked, yet a necessary step to improve company culture.

Even though remote employees are not present in the shared workspace, remember to celebrate personal milestones such as birthdays, anniversaries, and other life events to help them feel valued and appreciated.

Laura Brinton is content marketing director at Energage, a Philadelphia-based employee survey firm. Energage is The Washington Post’s partner for Top Workplaces.

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