It is hard enough to create a true team from employees who are physically located in the same office, but it is much more difficult to undertake the same endeavour with staff members who work from other locations.
Virtual employees spend either some or all of their time working away from the office; they may be in another country, or simply working from home.
It is easy for bosses to concentrate on the employees they see daily, but harder to remember virtual workers who don’t need much supervision.
However, this oversight can prove problematic for the remote worker, as well as the productivity of the team.
This is why it is wise to make the person feel like they are part of your team. In this article, we will discuss ways of attempting to do so.
The first tactic to including remote workers is to communicate with them; it’s that simple!
This may be harder to do than it may seem, especially if they are in a different time zone.
However, although you may not be able to include them in your weekly staff meetings, you can call in early in the morning or late evening to check in and make sure everything is on track.
Even though you may keep in touch via email, it is important for your staff to hear your voice and be able to know that you remember and value them.
While managers should concentrate on developing a relationship with the virtual employees, it is just as vital to encourage this relationship to develop between that person and the rest of the team.
Once again, if time does not permit the individual to be phoned or Skyped into meetings, acknowledge their efforts and accomplishments in group emails that go out to the entire department.
By letting the remote worker know that the entire team is aware of his or her work and dedication, this person will feel included and strive to continue to work hard not to let the team down.
Remember to include the remote team member in all the rewards and celebrations you have in your office.
Start by learning and acknowledging his or her birthday, and try to send a card that is signed by the entire team.
Develop a relationship so that you are aware of major life milestones, such as a wedding or the birth of a child, so that you can congratulate them.
Also, don’t forget to include him or her in holiday celebrations, such as Christmas and Easter. It may be difficult to remember to give some time off to a remote person who works thousands of miles away; however, doing so will reinforce that the person is a part of a group.
When a person works independently and has little to no communication with his colleagues, he or she does not feel like they are a valuable part of a group.
This leads to job satisfaction, decreased efficiency and higher turnovers.
To avoid this, make the needed effort to make the remote employee feel like they are part of a team.
Originally published: 1 February, 2016