The remote working environment has become increasingly common at many startups and small businesses, and even at larger established companies, as the benefits become greater and the talent pool becomes larger. But with the number of remote workers steadily growing, so too are the challenges of making your team feel cohesive and connected despite the distance.
As someone who oversees other remote workers, I’ve found that there are times when the team starts to feel out of touch with what’s going on at the company, its goals, and its results. To ensure that every remote worker feels a part of our team, I’ve learned the importance of using these strategies:
- Always keep communication lines open. When you work in an office, you see your co-workers every day. However, a virtual team can’t just bump into each other regularly. That’s why it’s vital to utilize platforms where the team can chat together. At my company, we leave chat lines open through Skype and use video conferencing through Google Hangouts. Even if it’s just for a few minutes or involves a catch-up on life, remote workers know they always have someone to look to when they yearn for that social connection.
- Use screen sharing and collaboration tools. While it can be easy to sit down in an office and show off your project work to date, it’s a lot harder to explain things to a virtual team. Tools like Join.me, TeamViewer and Skype offer screen-sharing capabilities so that I can show my team what I’m working on, or they can show me a problem that would be difficult to describe.
Murray Newlands is an entrepreneur, investor, business adviser and a contributor at Forbes.com and Entrepreneur.com. He is a co-founder of Influence People.
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