1. Schedule Regular Check-Ins / Create a Communication Schedule
The biggest potential gap in remote work is communication. When your team, or a single team member, isn’t in the office every day, they lose opportunities to stay in-the-know. It’s up to you to open the team dialogue as much as you can. When employees aren’t in the office for “water cooler” chat, they miss out on important information that keeps them on the same page as the rest of their team. Try scheduling regular, team-wide check-ins so your employees can connect with each other and with you. You can use this time to update your team and encourage non-work conversations that bring everyone closer.
Even if you can’t be in the office, that doesn’t mean you can’t communicate frequently and effectively. We have technology on our side to keep everyone connected and moving at a normal pace. When staying connected, email is not your strongest tool. Products like Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams or Google Hangouts encourage fast communication that can sometimes be informal—promoting relationships and strengthening teamwork among your employees.
Having a unified communication tool is a great start, but the real key is to create a consistent communication schedule with your team. Set a virtual meeting at least once per week to let everyone share their wins and challenges, while allowing them to maintain the feeling they’re part of something larger. These regular meeting schedules also help keep employees from feeling isolated or alone.
2. Make Time for Simple Connection
Beyond staying connected on work initiatives, it’s crucial that your employees stay connected on a personal level as well. Set aside time for a weekly coffee chat, a virtual game night (or afternoon), or other activity your team would enjoy. This could also translate to one-on-one time with your team members. If your schedule permits, make time for monthly or quarterly chats with individual employees to connect with them. They will appreciate the dedicated time to discuss whatever is on their mind.
3. Provide Them with the Necessary Technology
Depending on the type of work, your employees may need additional equipment or software to work from home productively. You can explore project management software and productivity journals that your team might appreciate to stay on track. Open a conversation about their home workspace and what may help them or what might be holding them back.
4. Give Them a Platform to Contribute
Employees who have introverted tendencies could be lost in the shuffle. Ensure that you’re giving everyone on your team an equal platform to contribute their thoughts and ideas. On video calls or conference calls, you might stop to ask this person directly what they think. They might have something valuable to contribute but haven’t found the right moment to interject or feel too shy to interrupt. By providing each employee with a platform to speak up, you can avoid someone feeling left out or like they aren’t being heard.
5. Define and Clarify Goals
Ensure your team members understand their goals for the day, week, month, and year. Depending on the person, they may become less motivated without deadlines and goals that are laid out beforehand. By setting goals, you can manage employees—without micromanaging—and help them feel secure knowing that they are fulfilling your expectations.
Here are a few questions they might have:
- What time should they be online or available for calls?
- What type of dress code is required for video calls, if any?
- How quickly should they be meeting deadlines?
- What is the expectation for weekly team meetings?
6. Encourage Utilization of Calendars
Supervisors and employees will find it helpful to see everyone’s calendars so that they can schedule meetings or send messages according to when someone is available. Encouraging your team to keep their calendars updated also gives them a chance to think ahead on their work schedules.
7. Implement Information Security Measures
Remote work poses new information security issues that your team may not have encountered previously. Ensure that your employees’ equipment has strong antivirus software that is updated regularly. It’s also helpful to provide team members with a VPN to keep their connection safe if they should need to connect to public Wifi. Consult an information security professional to ensure that your remote work environment is secure.
8. Provide Opportunities for Collaboration
Create opportunities for members of your team to collaborate on projects. You can use collaborations to promote teamwork and engage your employees. Try creating open-ended projects that encourage creativity and allow the team to express their personalities.
9. Recognize Accomplishments
It always feels good to be recognized for a job well done. Take every opportunity you can to point out what your team is doing well and when they’ve gone above and beyond. If a client compliments a product or service, pass those comments along to your team. A positive word can go a long way in boosting morale.
10. Make Small, Meaningful Gestures
Even the smallest gesture can mean a lot to your employees and show them that you care. This can come in many forms: birthday gifts, handwritten cards, announcements or celebrations, and surprise treats. You can make these gestures even more personal by sending your employees surveys to learn more about their favorite things and hobbies.