The working world has changed dramatically in the past 18 months, and now for many employers, remote work is becoming not just an occasional "nice-to-have" perk, but rather a "must-have" that workers demand. For that reason, your company needs to adapt without compromising its culture or commitment to having a great, cohesive team.
The following tips will help you keep those strong interpersonal connections among teammates and your entire staff:
1) Try to recreate the in-person vibe online
A big part of working in an office with several other people (or more) is being able to get up from your desk and grab a coffee in the break room, talk about the latest TV binges at the water cooler or just check in with someone else face-to-face, according to We Work Remotely. That's not always easy when working remotely, so encourage your employees to video chat each other or post in Slack channels that are not specifically dedicated to work.
2) Make sure you're checking in with employees — but not micromanaging
Likewise, as a manager you should strive to strike that just-right balance between ensuring your employees have everything they need without coming across as overly demanding, We Work Remotely said. You of course want your employees to put in a hard day's work, but micromanaging what they do is likely to lead to less cohesion, not more. Remote workers want to feel that you have their back and will do whatever you can to support them.
3) Take time out for group wellness
You can't expect your remote employees to work diligently for eight-plus hours a day, five days a week; it's just not realistic in an office or a home setting, because it creates an unsustainable grind that will wear your employees out, according to Wishup. Instead, then, it would be wise to schedule time for everyone to take a mental break on occasion, perhaps to do some guided meditation, yoga, playing with the kids or walking the dog. That can help everyone feel like they're supported and on the same page.
4) Hold team video chats that aren't focused on work
Another great way to increase team face time is to schedule meeting during work hours for people to just chat, have lunch at the same time and otherwise interact on a non-business level, Wishup advised. Of course, if some employees are feeling swamped, they shouldn't feel the obligation to attend, but it can work out well for all involved.
5) Become a bit more asynchronous to encourage flexibility
Finally, you can't expect everything to happen as soon as possible when you have workers on slightly different work-from-home schedules or living in different states, according to Kona. Instead of asking everyone to sign on from 9-5 Eastern time and expecting emails to be answered quickly, build a little more flexibility into your operations.
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