As many organizations and human resource departments adjust to the abrupt changes resulting from COVID-19, many employees who can work from home are adjusting to becoming remote workers.
For some, the transition is somewhat seamless, but others may need some guidance. One challenge that many remote workers face is staying connected to one another. Among those who work remote, 80 percent wish their colleagues would reach out to them more often1 and 19 percent report feeling lonely2.
While we live in a time when we are more “connected” than ever, the sense of uncertainty that many of us are feeling can actually increase feelings of disconnection from others. However, we can use technology to bring us together and keep us socially connected as we work remotely.
For the past 10 years, I’ve been a remote worker and leader at Inspirus. I was the first non-sales employee to work remotely for the company. In the early years, I was definitely challenged by feeling “out of sight and out of mind.” To remedy this, I taped my name and phone number to the conference room tables so colleagues could easily contact me. As video conferencing has become more popular, this has become my go-to for hosting meetings with my team, as I can see them “in person,” in real-time.
Here are three of my favorite ways to use technology to stay connected with and recognize my team and colleagues.
1. Check in
Establish a regular cadence to connect with your team and each individual employee. A daily team check-in meeting on Skype or Microsoft Teams can be a great way for everyone to start their day and discuss upcoming projects, identify any roadblocks or just socialize for a few moments. It can be a mix of professional and socializing to help build rapport and connection when your team is remote. As an ice breaker, always have a thoughtful or fun question ready to ask your team. At least once per week, take time to recognize your team for going above and beyond, helping their coworkers, or for life events like birthdays or service anniversaries.
It’s just as important to check in with individual employees at least a couple of times per week. Establish a cadence works best for each of you and which type of technology is best to use, whether it be video conferencing or instant message. During your one-on-one meetings, determine what projects they are working on, any challenges they may be facing and if there’s any way you can support or find a solution. This is also a great time to recognize your employees individually in-real time or take time to find out ways they would prefer to be recognized virtually. While a handwritten note is often appreciated, an e-card can be a great alternative to provide a timely, personalized message of recognition to your remote employees.