More people than ever before are working from home. According to a Gallup survey, 43% of employees said they spent time working remotely in 2016. That number is up 4% since 2012.
There are many benefits of working remotely for both companies and employees, including increased productivity, lower costs, flexible hours, and autonomy. But, it can also be difficult to make people feel connected and like part of a team when they are telecommuting.
Recently, a few of our clients mentioned that they were finding it tough to keep team spirit alive, create a good collaborative culture, and boost productivity with their remote workers. How do you motivate the work-from-home crowd and keep employees engaged?
We compiled a list for our clients containing 25 ways to achieve success with a remote workforce, and we thought we would share it with you as well.
- Create a private Facebook group to communicate, celebrate successes, give high fives, post pictures, share client success stories, etc.
- Spotlight new employees on the private Facebook page sharing photos and interesting details about them.
- Give new employees a warm welcome by sending a gift to their home.
- Arrange for time to all come together – weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly – whatever!
- Create a Culture Committee made up of a few volunteers who want to play a role in recognizing special events and doing fun things.
- Consider adopting a charity and devoting time together once a year on this cause.
- Sponsor team building events, like running a race for charity.
- Send fun “surprises” to each person in the mail so they all arrive the same day – like cupcakes or other treats.
- Have regular “huddles” by phone - maybe 10 minutes at a time, once or twice a week, for quick announcements and a sense of team.
- Encourage people to share ideas and brainstorm over email.
- Mail handwritten notes to people every now and then.
- Have a “virtual success meeting” once a month during which everyone shares a client success story.
- Set up an internal instant message group so the team can communicate easily and have water cooler conversations with quick reply.
- Make sure everyone has the equipment they need to make working from home easier. Issue computers, laptops, or both, depending on individual needs.
- Provide people with an allowance for internet costs.
- Give each individual a smartphone through a company plan or provide them with a monthly allowance for their own plan.
- Designate tech support who can help people work through home office issues.
- Create an IT Helpdesk that employees can email when they need help. You can set it up to go to multiple people so the response time is very fast.
- Give people the ability to order supplies that are delivered to their house.
- Make sure all materials and tools are available on an intranet and organized in an easy-to-find way.
- Train people to use online audio and video conferencing, and especially how to present things via shared screen.
- Schedule Individual Focus Meetings with each direct report and make sure they happen.
- Hold staff meetings via webinar regularly to keep everyone up-to-date and in the loop.
- Make in-person meetings special and more about team building.
- Once a year, do a big get-together, like a GPS scavenger hunt that ends in a team lunch or dinner with families if possible.
With 43% of employees working remote at least some of the time, it’s a good idea to create a plan to keep people connected, engaged, and encourage teamwork, in order to ensure your remote workforce continues to enjoy their work.