A million hundred years ago, employers didn’t care much for their employees.
Don’t believe me? Try reading The Jungle.
Things have changed. Today’s employers know that people are more productive when they’re treated like…well, people.
So, how do we continue treating people like people when 60% of them are just faces on a screen, and we can’t tell if they actually brushed their teeth this morning?
The first step is to make sure they brush their teeth, then brush your own. Only then can you focus on tweaking remote work to fit your needs.
Feeling prepared (and minty)? Let’s jump in.
Pros and cons of remote work
- Better work/life balance
- Lower carbon footprint
- Reduced overhead
- Higher productivity
- Difficulty separating work/home self
- More distractions
- Communication challenges
One of the biggest drawbacks is too big for a bulleted list, and that’s the lack of integration into a team. In an office setting, you can easily bop next door to pick up that file, gather the team for a quick meeting, or catch up over a quick coffee in the breakroom.
Remote work makes it tougher to spark these moments of spontaneous collaboration and conversation. That means it’s not only harder to maintain a professional connection with your team, but also for your employees to forge personal connections with each other.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to create cohesion in the virtual realm—with more popping up each day. Here are a few to get you started:
How to bring your distributed team together
Starting a virtual hangout is virtually painless (see what we did there?) Whether you’re setting up a Zoom happy hour or utilizing a platform like Gather Town to make impromptu meetings more engaging, you’ll find you have more and more options to help your employees get together.
Seamless team communication is key to boosting productivity—as well as avoiding miscommunications that can kill morale.
There are countless platforms out there that work for small businesses, such as Slack, Chanty, or HipChat. Find the platform that works for your people and your existing tools.
Make it a point to praise individuals for a job(s) well done.
Things like gift certificates, cupcakes sent via special delivery on a birthday, or even ‘holiday’ half-days as project completion rewards can go a long way to inspire employees and let them know you appreciate them.
Not only does this validate individual contributions, but it also sends a message to others on the team that hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.
Remote teambuilding activities
Distance makes it difficult to plan traditional activities. But while the three-legged race at the company picnic might be out, there are still plenty of virtual options available.
Platforms like Crowdpurr make team trivia and other games simple to set up, while Escapely brings your neighborhood escape room into the digital space. Airbnb Experiences are also a great way for your team to explore countless activities from all across the globe—from cooking classes to improv challenges.
Connection is essential—no matter where you are.
Connections are vital to our personal and professional happiness. Fortunately, staying connected in an increasingly digital world is no longer the challenge it once was.
All it takes is a people-first mindset—something that small business owners excel at.
Of course, keeping your remote team engaged is only one part of the equation. Check out our resources on virtual training and WFA (working from anywhere) for more information on taking your small business remote!