How to Get Your Remote Employees to Belong

Globalisation brought with it boons and banes. Remote working is one such result of globalisation, and, as for now, it is considered a boon. Who would not like to beat hectic commute every day and stay home, in one’s own comfort zone, to work?  Companies are on the cloud and their employees from different parts of the world, work in that cloud-which practically is a virtual office. Remote working is trending in India’s bustling cities and is here to stay. So while we are at it, why not look at ways in which we can keep our employees engaged with their company not just professionally but personally too.

1) Take to Storytelling: Go beyond discussing work and scheduling meetings and see what your colleagues do outside of work. Create groups on Google+ or Facebook or any social media network which allows your employees to tell stories in any form. Photographs, videos, write-ups, etc. Right from sharing a recipe to exhibiting pics from the latest trip to a new song recorded, this group will be a platform for employees to bring out their hidden talents and also, get them introduced to a different avatar of their colleagues. After all, work is not the only thing that defines us!

2) Face-to-Face Interactions: There is a reason why they say that your body language or facial gestures echo your thoughts. Sometimes even nonverbal cues say much more than verbal ones and are much more instinctive. These non-verbal cues go beyond what the person is saying; you can gauge what the person is about to say or what he/she is feeling while saying something. Technology today allows face-to-face interactions with remote employees and you should make use of them as much as you can. Skype, Google Hangout, Sqwiggle and other similar platforms will not just help you hear your employees but listen to them.

3) It’s more than just a t-shirt: Make sure you send all the branding paraphernalia right from t-shirts to notepads. That tells them that though they are out of sight they are definitely not out of mind.  Every time they wear that t-shirt or write on that notepad, it is just a gentle reminder to them that they belong!

4) No Miss Calls Here! : Since they are not always around, they do miss a lot of information which is doing the rounds in the office corridors. So the one-on-ones are the only windows for these conversations. Apart from just information, these calls give you a chance to build a rapport with them. Connect with them not just on work but also their day-to-day lives. Try your best not to miss these calls.

5) Let Them Know in Style! : You can do more than just a ‘Good Job’ through email.  Why not try some funny Gifs or emoticons? it will certainly liven things up! Positive reinforcement is important and when the person isn’t in front of you, it’s not just about doing it, it’s about how you are going to do it. Interactive media like GIFs and videos will go a long way in communicating not just what you want to say to them but also what you feel!

6) Keep a Track of Their Goals: Your remote employees are more than just hard-working elves. They too are looking towards building career paths and you can definitely help catalyse that process for them. Like that, you won’t just be another employer who pays them for work, but you will be a confidante who trusts them and supports them in their endeavours.

Remote employees might be physically apart but they definitely are a part of your organisation. Don’t forget to make them feel so!

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