Remember when all your team members would sit around a conference table, exchanging ideas and eating donuts?
Depending on how old you are, you may not. That’s because today, your team members are often scattered across the globe. Technology makes this possible. But is it ideal?
In some respects, yes, because it allows you to mine talent from outside your location. But the challenge has always been how to keep these team members involved, and feeling like they are part of the team. Wearing their favorite jersey on Friday isn’t going to do it if they’re working in a temporary office space in another city.
You must find a way to unite the workers in your office and the ones working in remote office spaces, or even their own homes.
When Do Remote Workers Clock in and Out?
We don't want to address the accountability for remote team members, but we do want to discuss availability. Just because your employee works from a different location doesn’t mean their hours are flexible. They might be, if that works for you. But many employers require their workers in different time zones to work the same hours workers in the home office do. This might be an inconvenience to them, but in some cases, it’s just part of the job.
If it’s not necessary to have your workers available all the hours your home office is buzzing with activity, you might at least require them to be (virtually) present for meetings.
In fact, if you have a lot of offsite employees, you may want to call weekly meetings as a unification tactic. It’s a way for everyone to reconnect. While you may discourage water-cooler talk at ordinary meetings, you may want to devote 5-15 minutes to just this for these meetings with offsite workers, since it helps build relationships and foster connection.
Fortune even goes so far as to suggest establishing monthly employee birthday celebrations — a practice dreaded by many companies and employees. Set aside a certain day each month, and ensure treats are sent to remote workers’ locations as well, whether they are working in shared office space or at home. There will always be at least one who will ask you to stop, but most will appreciate the effort at inclusion.
When the Answer Is to Retreat
Another idea is to plan worker retreats. You can do the stereotypical ones with rope courses if you want, but your goal is different; it’s not powering through the agenda, it’s building comradery. Thus, you could hold your retreat at Hedonism in Jamaica — you might not get a lot done, but your workers would never forget it, and they’d think twice before accepting an offer from another company.
You could save some money on this idea if most of your employees are in one location by flying the remote ones in and doing a local activity, like a museum event, paintball, escape room, winery, etc.
When your workers are toiling in remote locations, perhaps in shared office space with others living the same lifestyle, they can feel isolated. And even though it’s the physical distance that keeps them apart and not any nefarious reason, the result can be the same: a feeling of exclusion. Don’t allow these feelings to fester. Draw workers in from all corners of the world, whether it’s virtually or in-person. Your team can only benefit.
Metro Offices provides temporary office space and shared office space to remote team members, small-business owners and startups. Browse our locations to find the best space in your area.