10 Ways To Serve, Support, and Connect With Remote Employees

The coronavirus pandemic and ensuring lockdowns have taken the remote work revolution from a mere spark to a roaring fire.

As a result, many organizations, faced with the prospect of letting their employees work remotely are facing challenges in connecting and supporting their remote workers through this challenging time.

In this article, I list 10 ways you can serve, support and keep in touch with your remote employees in a way that builds morale and boosts productivity and loyalty.

  1. Hold regular virtual meetings

Many remote workers miss the regular interaction and face time they get with colleagues in an office setting. Virtual meetings help to alleviate some of the loneliness and isolation that comes with remote life.

While virtual conferencing apps like Zoom are facing a backlash for security flaws, a number of Zoom alternatives like Skype, Google Hangouts Meet and Microsoft Teams are becoming more popular.

Each of these applications come with their own benefits and disadvantages, so you need to assess which one works best for your organisation before you decide to adopt one or more virtual meeting solutions.

  1. Send them a text message

Text messaging is cost-effective, mobile-friendly, instant, and gives your employees a way to engage with you. There are many benefits of using SMS marketing to keep in touch with your remote employees.

According to JookSMS, 75% of millennials prefer SMS alerts and most text messages are read in the first 3 minutes. SMS marketing also has a 98% open rate which is much higher than email’s 20% open rate.

You can send a text alert using an SMS marketing service or even create a WhatsApp Business Group for your organisation. Here are some ways you can use text messaging to keep in touch with remote employees:

  • Send them a good morning message daily to wish them a great day
  • Check-in with employees and let them know you care
  • Send an SMS alert for announcements related to the company
  • Send COVID-19 updates to help them ensure their health and safety
  • Send links to join virtual meetings and video conferences
  • Send them surveys to ask what issues they need help with

10 Ways To Serve, Support, and Connect With Remote Employees

  1. Organise virtual coffee breaks

With coworking spaces and coffee shops downing their shutters as a result of the lockdowns, many remote employees are missing the bonhomie of meeting their work colleagues while enjoying their morning cuppa. You can bring back the fun of the coffee break into your remote team by organizing virtual coffee breaks.

According to PeopleMatters, a virtual coffee break is a video call that the team members of an organization use to take breaks and socialize like they would at the water cooler. CEO of GitLab, Sid Sijbrandij, writes that virtual coffee breaks encourage remote workers to interact like they would in an office.

Some virtual reality (VR) tools will allow you to create a virtual coffee shop environment as well as other virtual co-working spaces with thousands of other remote workers all around the world to make the experience more immersive and real for your remote employees.

  1. Share a virtual tour of your office space

Create a virtual tour of your office space using a Google Street View Virtual Tour and give your remote team and new remote employees an immersive experience of your headquarters.

These useful tips from Lifehacker explain how to create and publish virtual reality tours with Google Street View panoramas. With Google Tour Creator you can add your own images from 360 cameras and annotate the tour with details and facts.
10 Ways To Serve, Support, and Connect With Remote Employees

  1. Offer online therapy or counseling services

The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown have triggered anxiety, depression and grief in many vulnerable people and also in those who had no prior history of mental health issues.

You can help your remote employees preserve their mental health and deal with life transitions, anxiety, and depression by offering online therapy or counseling services to help them calm their fears and find coping strategies.

After all, their emotional well-being and mental health should be as important, if not more, than their physical health.

  1. Organise a virtual retreat

If you can’t take your employees on an offsite, organize a virtual retreat. Not only will this help boost their mental health and well-being, but the time that’s usually spent in commuting or in non-essential meetings can now be used for team development.

According to Liberationist, with the aid of laptops and a handful of online collaboration tools, a virtual team offsite allows teams to ‘get together’ to reflect on past performance, identify areas for development, and experiment with new tools and ways of working.

A well-designed and facilitated virtual team offsite can help teams achieve a lot through a regular cadence of individual and group exercises, team discussions, and action planning. You can even include virtual team yoga and mindfulness meditation sessions in your virtual retreat.

  1. Organise team-building games and activities

According to Connecteam, team-building games for remote workers are important because they help remote teams engage in regular team socializing.

Team-building games will help your remote employees build a genuine human connection with each other, build trust and inclusion, allow them to have an impact on company culture and make them feel valued and like equal members of the company.

Besides team-building games, you can also organize a number of virtual team-building activities and exercises to help you build a closely-knit and successful remote team.

  1. Keep the conversation light and fun

When you work remotely, it helps to build camaraderie and fun by keeping the conversation light and sharing a good laugh every day.

According to this article in the HuffingtonPost, serial entrepreneur, Kristopher Jones recommends letting team members post internet memes and funny pictures on email threads and Slack channels to create a light-hearted environment.
10 Ways To Serve, Support, and Connect With Remote Employees

  1. Offer to reskill employees who can’t work remotely

If you have employees who don’t have the skills to work remotely, don’t leave them high and dry. Sponsor a scholarship for distance learning courses to help them acquire new skills so they can stay on your remote team.

For employees that you cannot find a role for and have to let go, offer to pay for a work-from-home course, so they can find a work-from-home job that they’re better suited for.

  1. Go above and beyond to show you care

Many of your employees may find it difficult to go grocery shopping, especially if they live with older people at risk or are in a containment zone.

If you want to foster loyalty and gratitude in your remote employees during the lockdown, here are some thoughtful ways to go above and beyond to show you care.

  • Offer to ship them groceries, medicines, essential items or home office essentials that they’re having trouble getting hold of.
  • Work with online retailers to send your employees gift certificates or discount coupons to purchase groceries and essential items online.
  • You can support remote employees working at home with little kids who can’t go to school, by paying for a homeschooling program.
  • Alternatively, you can get them a subscription to an educational website for kids, so they can keep their kids occupied and get their work done.

I hope these 10 ways to serve, support and keep in touch with your remote workers will help your organisation demonstrate its commitment by putting the well-being of your remote employees at the top of your priority list at this difficult time.

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Author: Priya Florence Shah

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