Easy Ways to Make Remote Employees Feel Close and Connected
Working remotely is the new normal for many business people today. But with everyone spread apart, how do you keep everyone on the same page? And how do you create a cohesive team when some of the team members don’t get to interact with each other on a regular basis?
It's a common challenge; one that I face too.
I work for a company with 55 employees. Nearly twenty percent of the employees work remotely, myself included. We each have home offices that allow us to access the same information and get our work done as if we were sitting at headquarters.
Having the right technology is step one toward remote success, but that still doesn’t mean that the team will feel unified.
We’ve embraced remote working for the past five years or so, and we’ve learned a few things along the way.
Here are my top ways to help remote workers stay connected and engaged.
Top Three Easy Ways to Help Remote Workers Stay Connected and Engaged
Combating Isolation With Daily Huddles
One of the biggest challenges for remote employees is a feeling of isolation from the rest of the team. Working alone can be great for productivity – talk about minimizing distractions! – but it can also be lonely. One way to combat isolation is to have scheduled daily check-in calls, or huddles, with your team.
These daily huddles do two things: one, they ensure everyone is focused on the right tasks each day. And two, it gives remote employees the human connection they need to not feel like they’re in it alone.
For more in-depth information on the value of daily huddles, check out the book, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, by Verne Harnish.
Reduce Communication Barriers With Video Calls
Another way to keep people engaged is to do as much with video conferencing as possible. Nothing replaces good old fashioned human connection, but for those who sit by themselves all day, video really helps.
There are many affordable, easy-to-use video conferencing tools these days – Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Skype for Business, to name a few. With the push of a button, you can hold a meeting, or chat one-on-one about an upcoming project.
I’ve started using video for many of my calls and it’s amazing how much clearer the communication is. Not only can you take cues from body language, but it also keeps people more engaged in the conversation.
Give Remote Employees a Seat at the Table
Finally, a webcam on the wall in a meeting room is good, but what if there was a way to make remote employees feel like they have a seat at the table? Enter: Meeting Owl.
Meeting Owl is an all-in-one webcam, speaker, and microphone that sits in the center of your conference room table. It has a panoramic camera on top that allows remote meeting attendees to get a 360-degree view of the entire room. It also shows eye-level views of the people at the table.
The technology is designed to follow sound, so it focuses on the person who’s speaking. If that person stands up and walks around the room while they’re talking, the camera will follow them and continue showing them. If there’s banter back-and-forth, Meeting Owl will do a split-screen so you can see multiple people at the same time.
We have one of these devices in our conference room at headquarters and it’s pretty amazing to see it in action. From a remote perspective, you actually feel like you’re part of the meeting, not just an onlooker.
Here's a preview from Owl Labs' website of what the Meeting Owl looks like in action:
Owl Gif Credit: owllabs.com
More information about Meeting Owl can be found at www.owllabs.com.
Technology advancements have made remote working more productive and engaging than ever before. If you need help with technology or connecting with remote employees, talk to a trusted IT consultant.
About Courtney Casey
In an industry dominated by men, Courtney Casey, Director of Marketing for Accent Computer Solutions, Inc., is making her mark on the world of information technology. Courtney has been immersed in the IT field most of her life and has been molded into the tech savvy expert she is today. She began working for Accent while earning her Bachelor's degree from California State University, Long Beach. Known in the Inland Empire as the "Tech Girl," Courtney is a regular columnist for the region's newspaper of record, The Press-Enterprise. Her columns address topical news trends, new technology products, and offer advice on how to embrace technology or avoid common IT pitfalls.