Due to exceptional channels of sourcing remote talent, more businesses opt for this type of cooperation. Many job positions don’t require employees to work in an office with other employees. This allows companies to hire remote workers. The collaboration with remote workers can be just as productive as working with local employees. However, it can also come with some challenges.
Teamwork and feeling a part of the community is a great asset for building a loyal relationship with employees. It is harder for remote workers to feel like a part of your business since they can’t participate in your events. Company events or after-work gatherings are where you have the chance to connect with others and build a relationship. But what about remote workers? How can you make them an equal member of your community?
If you have amazing remote employees and you want them to stick around you should engage them in team building. Here are some practical tips that can make that happen.
1. Create a Non-Work Related Communication Channel
Sharing funny memes and videos is something that all coworkers do. Remote workers won’t have a chance to be a part of that because they don’t have an opportunity to meet the people they work with.
Bring remote workers closer to their coworkers by creating a communication channel for non-work related conversations.
If you already use the Slack platform, set up a separate one for this purpose. Include all of your employees, both in-house and remote.
Let them know that this is the place where they can all share funny images, videos, or personal news (when someone is getting married, gets a kid, their child graduates, and similar). This is a great opportunity to bring people together and take a break from work.
Keep in mind that you should also state that this personal channel shouldn’t interrupt or affect their work. Slack allows you to turn off notifications for the conversations you choose so that is what they can do to not get distracted. Check out a list of tools that will help you to increase productivity.
2. Organize Regular Virtual Chats
Virtual chats allow employees to see everyone’s faces. Even if they have never met, the employees will be able to match the names they’ve heard with the face.
Once you get to know someone’s personality, the relationship will become more personal.
Don’t allow remote workers to be just a name on the screen. Let your employees meet the remote workers and vice versa on the virtual chat.
These virtual chats should be a regular thing within the company. Having just one virtual meeting won’t to the job. Organize such meetings once or twice a week.
They can be partially work-related or completely non-work related. The purpose of these virtual chats is to set up an interesting virtual hangout.
Informal conversations will give them all a chance to get to know each other. Remote workers will feel more included when they sit down and talk to their coworkers face to face.
3. Play Interactive Games
Maybe you can’t organize team building activities for your remote workers, but online games can be a worthy replacement.
Break the work routine of your remote employees by including them in online interactive games.
These are several options that you can opt for:
- Who was that? – Each employee has to share an embarrassing story anonymously and others have to guess whose story was that.
- Throwback Thursday – Ensure a hilarious Thursday each week by starting a throwback Thursday tradition. Send out a baby picture of one employee and let others guess who that is.
- Pick a photo of the week – On Fridays, everyone should share their favorite photo of that week. Vote for the best one.
- Play online games – Find multiplayer games online and play together.
- Charades – Organize charades over the virtual chat.
4. Watch Movies and TV Shows Together
Your budget may not allow you to take all of your employees to an exotic destination but you can get creative and find an alternative. Sometimes it is not about what you do it is about having fun together.
Start a unique bonding experience by watching web series and hit movies. The best part is that remote workers can be included.
Movies and TV shows often bring people closer. They provide us with a never-ending source of interesting conversation topics. That is why you should consider hosting a movie and TV show nights.
To include everyone on the choice of the movie, each employee should be assigned to pick a movie that will be watched. Then, just watch one by one. Or, if there is a TV show that everyone is eager to watch, you can watch it together.
Stream your movie or TV show in a group video chat. To make it even more fun you can all comment live in the chatbox.
I love video nights at my company! I work remotely so I can’t go for after-work drinks. When movie nights have started I finally felt like a part of the team. We laughed together and cried together, and found a way to overcome the distance.
5. Let Them Participate in Choosing a New Team Member
If you have a new project coming up and you need to hire a new team member, this is your chance to make remote employees included.
Teams who work on a project usually consist of a smaller number of people. The people on the team should have a say in who will join them.
Let’s say that you are forming a team for email marketing and you need a content writer. Other team members such as a digital marketer, editor, designer, and so on can help you make the right decision. Moreover, they will feel appreciated.
Both in-house and remote workers should be a part of welcoming a new team member.
Once you’ve used the pre-employment testing tool to single out the best candidates it is time to get others included.
Start a conference call that will include your remote employee. Explain to every team member that they are just as valuable as the team leader which is why their opinion will be considered.
Present the best potential candidates and let everyone vote for the one they prefer. In this way, you’ll show the remote worker that their opinion is just as important as everyone else’s.
Some Final Thoughts
Who says that distance is an obstacle for team building? With these suggestions, you will be able to make your remote workers an equal part of the team. When your employees have a good relationship and have fun together, they will be motivated to stay loyal to the company. That is exactly what these team-building exercises can do for your business.