— February 18, 2019
The remote workplace used to be a thing of the past. Very few people worked from home, and you’d be hard pressed to find someone who was working from home and thriving. All that has changed with the technological leap we’ve taken over the past decade.
A Gallup poll revealed that around 43 percent of people work from home part-time. That number is up from 39 percent in a survey taken four years prior. There is a serious problem with a sense of belonging in the remote office scene. It was once declared that we are in the middle of an employee engagement crisis due to the fact that 13 percent of all employees do not feel engaged with their office and coworkers.
Business stats show there is a clear rise in people working from home, we thought we would dive in and help businesses who operate online and want to humanize their remote workplace.
1. Encourage Collaboration and a Sense of Community
One of the best ways to humanize your workplace is by building a sense of community. If people feel like they belong to something greater, they are more likely to be involved in team collaboration and community activities.
Sometimes it’s the simple things that get the job done. You could start by creating a birthday calendar in the company documents, and create a separate chat on your team’s messenger app of choice for birthday shout-outs. Even something as simple as a company survey has managed to produce results.
Encouraging your team to be involved is important for the humanization of your workplace as well as the health of the company. There’s a prediction that by 2020 30 percent of companies will be able to thrive due to the workforce’s ability to exploit digital technology. You need people to come together and talk about stuff like this when it comes time to brainstorm.
2. Use Gamification
Gamification has become one of the most popular workplace trends and consumer engagement tactics in recent memory. Essentially, gamification is when you make something that would otherwise seem mundane or boring, exciting and interesting.
There are plenty of plugins and applications that pull this off well, and you can see how it works below. Basically, as the employee completes milestones or challenges they get rewarded for their work. The reward is going to be in points or some other type of digital currency.
The way you handle gamification is up to you and how you operate your business. Most companies hold recognition contests for employees who do exceptionally well, while other businesses offer more concrete rewards like extra breaks or a free lunch.
3. Keep Lines of Communication Open
It’s possible that many remote employees don’t feel engaged with the company they work for because the company promotes an “email communication only” culture. This ideology makes communication cumbersome and far less personal than direct messages and video chat.
If you’re going to hire remote employees consider starting a chat server just for your employees so everyone can talk freely at a moment’s notice. Many people choose to use Slack as a solution when they want to improve communications but don’t know where to start.
You should also try to make it a point to communicate with your team via video at least once a week. A video conference will help bring everyone up to speed and lets your employees air any issues or obstacles they’ve run into. There are plenty of video applications you can use for your meetings, and many of them have accompanying plugins or apps. Two of the most common applications business owners use for video calls are Skype and Zoom.
There are no doubt some additional struggles when you want to hire a remote team. However, the benefits, in many cases, far outweigh those additional problems. The first step to building your dream remote team is to make sure you’re fostering a strong community for your global team.
As you use tools like gamification to increase engagement and do things like hold video meetings to stay on the same page, you’ll soon discover that having a remote team is almost identical to that of a normal office team. The biggest difference is you have to bring people together and show them what it means to be a team, even if they aren’t in the same building.