Accessibility Is Key
According to a study done by Slack, 85% of employees want to feel closer to their remote colleagues. Many employees cherish the professional relationships that they have made and regard it as an essential component of their work environment.
Flexibility was one of LinkedIn’s 2019 Global Talent Trends, and is an essential quality of businesses that are maintaining a strong, collaborative team dynamic, despite working remotely. While the traditional 9-5 work schedule may be alive and well, more thought must be put into fostering community to keep employees connected and motivated while working at home.
Keeping a company’s social community engaged takes strategy and motivation. Below we list a few ways in which you can grow community while working remotely.
5 Virtual Community Tips
1. Small Talk: Not all communication during remote work times has to be work-related. The coffee break chats and water cooler moments may not be a physical possibility at the current time, but you can still stay connected and use professional apps like Slack, GitLab, and Google Hangouts to stay connected with work friends. Send over a funny GIF or an off-topic comment to brighten up their day.
2. Clear Expectations: Without a clear understanding of how your work dynamic will look in the future, remote work can feel like you are stranded in the middle of nowhere. Make sure any uneasy or hesitant employee is welcomed into group chats and knows the times set for socializing with other workers. Making everyone feel included is crucial for mental wellbeing in your social community.
3. Emphasize Virtual Meet-Ups: Some employees may stray away from online socializing but these meet-ups are crucial during the Coronavirus pandemic and will ensure the social community is still strong during this time. Get creative and make weekly themed meetings. This will create a buzz that will make the new normal a bit less daunting.
4. Reward and Motivate: Operant conditioning is the best way to motivate people to participate in something. If there are rewards for good behaviour, employees will feel valued and appreciated, and will be more eager to deliver high-quality work in the future. Thankfully, remote work can allow for a steady stream of virtual communication, which can be utilized to support, encourage, and cheer on the whole team, making them feel empowered instead of disengaged and isolated.
5. Share Encouragement: Make sure positive praise and encouragement are still present for employees, despite the recent remote integration. Positive feedback should be given for work just as it would in the office under normal circumstances. By providing positive encouragement, employees will feel supported in their tasks, keeping them goal-oriented and present in the daily nuances of their job.