Engaging Remote Workers

Goals

To provide 5-7 insights into how companies can engage remote workers, including tools, frequency of engagement, methods of engagement, examples of companies doing this well, and online events organized by companies, in order to write a blog post for a website.

Early Findings

  • GitLab, with the largest all-remote workforce in the world, encourages remote employees to take "virtual coffee breaks" and even pairs them together randomly for video calls.
  • Tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Hangouts, make it much easier for employees to stay in touch with each other, no matter their locations, while enabling opportunities for necessary fun and sharing, and discussions, which can help prevent burnout and employee isolation, creating a closer-knit community and culture.
  • Many companies dedicate a specific channel on Slack for conversations such as #watercooler. The LinkedIn Talent Blog team has "the Story Squad thread" for example.
  • Workswell, a consulting group whose aim is "to help companies create healthier cultures," recommends incorporating more playful elements into company meetings. The company for example tells employees in meetings to give “an aha, an apology, or an appreciation” at the end, either sharing something they liked or sparked an 'aha' moment, apologize for something such as overreacting to a comment, etc.
  • Many companies who have an exclusively remote workforce still offer team get-togethers in person a few times a year, such as Zapier, a company that has an exclusively remote workforce, provides fun, full-company retreats at least once annually.
  • Being clear about expectations is also one best practice to keep remote employees engaged, as without clear direction, a remote employee will not know what action to take, and who they can ask, ultimately leaving them completely disengaged. A successful remote company must be sure remote employees know the tools, tips, and processes they need to be the most productive as well as content.
  • Emphasize presence in meetings is also a key best practice. Being present during meetings is important even though employees are remote and they are still effective. Remote employees can help the meeting as a whole be engaged by reducing distracting background noise, while organizers can let employees know who’s in the room, and stop to gain feedback when possible.

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