Working from home has both its benefits and drawbacks. One such drawback that many employers are experiencing is a lack of employee connection. Without an in-person link between coworkers, there’s a lack of camaraderie in the company. Keeping your employees connected will boost morale and increase productivity. So how do you maintain these connections while working from home?
Virtual Meetings and Parties
One fun way to maintain employee connections is with virtual meetings and parties. Your staff may be physically located all over the world and unable to get together for a meeting. However, joining a virtual meeting or party is a great way to build team bonds and relax. Especially in the holiday season, hosting an online holiday party is a great way to improve the atmosphere. For more serious work conferences, an online lunch meeting is a great way to corral everyone while encouraging connection. Simply recommend that everyone order takeout from their favorite restaurant and tune in for the business meeting.
If you aim to kick back and relax, a virtual happy hour or virtual coffee tasting with the team members is a perfect way to build employee connections. During these meetings, you pick a package for your team, it ships to them, and then everyone can review it together. Rather than your staff waiting around at a bar or restaurant to get seated and then struggling to hear each other, you can enjoy craft cocktails or prime coffee roasts from the comfort of your individual homes. If you want to build interpersonal connections, start hosting virtual meetings and parties.
Another easy way to boost employee connections is with company-wide challenges. In almost every in-person business, you typically find ongoing contests such as “Employee of the Week,” weight loss challenges, or sales contests. Why should these things stop because you’re working remotely? Holding these contests and challenges virtually is a great way to bring your team together and encourage bonds between employees.
If you don’t want to do the standard contests that every other company does, you can gear your challenges toward remote work. Maybe you can have a “craziest pajama” contest for one of your virtual meetings and see who has the funniest set of PJs. If there’s a holiday coming up, start theming your challenges around that holiday. Make gingerbread houses around December or see who can decorate their home office the best for Halloween. These challenges don’t have to be elaborate, all they need to do is bring people together and make them laugh.
Group Chats and Social Media
Finally, giving your employees a way to communicate with each other outside of work will help foster connection. It’s no secret that your staff won’t always have work on their minds. They have interests and lives outside the office, and you should encourage them to share those things in group chats and company social media accounts. If you have a social media page, invite your employees to it so they can interact with the company and each other. Giving your staff a vehicle for interactions and friendships will encourage connection and help prevent isolation.
Along similar lines, having regular and open communication with your employees will help foster connection. Not every message your staff gets from you should be related to work; asking them questions about themselves and their interests will help you stay connected to your team. If there’s a company newsletter, do your best to ensure it’s upbeat and entertaining before it goes out. Employees should want to read it and respond, rather than being forced to read it and penalized if they don’t. Connecting to your employees outside of work will help keep things interesting while on the job.
Overall, working from home doesn’t need to be an isolated experience. With these tips, you can make your employee’s remote work venture worthwhile.