How to Make Remote Workers Feel Like Part of the Team
There are two answers to the question of how to make a remote worker feel like part of the team- a short one and a long one.
The short answer is: Just be human. Treat your remote workers just as any other employee (just as any other person, rather). Be empathetic and be there for them in whatever capacity you need to or can be.
Sounds simple enough, right? And it is! But the easiest things are sometimes the hardest to implement. The following explains how to do just that:
Include your remote workers when it comes to planning and setting up tasks. Ask for their input and feedback instead of just assigning them predetermined tasks and projects. A simple, “What do you think?,” can go a long way.
2. Fly them out!
For many people that live in remote parts of the world, the prospect of flying out to the Silicon Valley may be a dream come true. Even if your remote workers don’t necessarily live that far away, flying your employees out can go a long way in terms of building respect and trust between you and them.
Beyond all of that, in terms of increased communication and team-bonding, this is a great idea.
3. Fly yourself out!
The next best thing to flying your remote workers out to you, is to fly yourself out to them. By learning about their local culture and trying to assimilate, you make yourself more personable and are able to build a more respectful and empathetic relationship.
4. Understand culturally important events.
In today’s environment, sensitivity to different cultures is critical. For instance, in Eastern Europe, birthdays are extremely important, so some companies send birthday cakes and decorations to remote workers’ houses and have an online celebration with the team. This is an example of a great gesture to show that you care about your employees and want to make an effort.
When conducting meetings, you want to make sure that your remote employees truly feel included. A lot of times in group meetings, remote workers feel disengaged as a lot of the focus falls on those physically present in the office. One way to solve this problem is by having purely video-based meetings. This means that both local and remote workers dial in on separate, individual screens. This makes for a more balanced interaction, ensuring that no one feels left out. Lastly, make sure that your meeting notes are pre-distributed so that everyone has the same level of knowledge.
It’s all quite simple, really: treat all your employees fairly and equally. Respect the ambitions of your remote workers and be open to hearing them out, as well as implementing their ideas, if they choose to present them. If you follow these guidelines then your remote workers will be happy and feel as though they are a part of the office, even if they can’t actually be there.