It may sound new, but working remotely has been practiced for thousands of years. In England, prior to the Industrial Revolution, small businessmen stayed in “workhomes” that allowed them to be with their families. This continued until the Victorian age as entrepreneurs operated shops, pubs, and even funeral parlors out of their homes.
Today, the number of people who have quit their jobs to work at home is growing. It has more than doubled from 13% in 2014 to 32% in 2017, according to FlexJobs’ surveys of professionals and flexible work. Because of this, traditional employers are slowly supporting the global shift to remote-friendly workplaces as technology brings the world closer.
Consider these eye-opening statistics from the 2018 Global State of Remote Work that surveyed 3,028 employees across six continents:
- 56% of companies allow remote work
- 40% of companies are hybrid, meaning employees can either work at home, in the office, or alternate between the two
- Africa (59%) and Australia (60%) have the most hybrid companies
- Men are more likely to work remotely than women
- Companies that don’t offer remote work have a higher turnover rate than those that support this option (25% less)
Since remote work means collaborating with a diverse group of people from different parts of the world, it can be challenging. Considering that various cultures and personalities are involved, how can you unite your office staff and remote team? What can you do so your remote staff won’t feel neglected? Here are four ways to bring harmony to your virtual workplace:
1. Bring them to the office
Remind your remote team that they’re part of a big family by inviting them to the office from time to time. These friendly meetings can be done either monthly or quarterly. Doing so makes your remote workers familiar with the business and gives them a chance to mingle with other employees. An office meeting is also a great way to share knowledge, boost productivity, instill confidence, encourage communication, and learn about different cultures.
2. Connect via VoIP or video
Communication services like Capstone's Nextiva Hosted VoIP solution can work wonders for your remote team. If you’re all working on the same project, use this communication tool to chat, message, and do video conferencing. Use collaboration tools that come with Microsoft O365 to bring the team together. To liven up the conversation, add emojis in the mix. This is a fun way to break the ice and show your reactions. The conversation doesn’t always have to be dead serious. You can talk about life in general or your funny experiences, and learn how things are done on the other side of the globe at the same time.
3. Recognize their efforts
Got a hardworking remote team? Let everyone know! Whether it's a company email or a funny GIF (those short looping videos) in a group chat, it doesn't take much to show your appreciation for a job well done.
4. Play games
Yes, you read it right! Team building is important in any organization, especially if your office staff are worlds apart. To strengthen the bond between remote team members, invite them to a round of casual video games. Companies like Capstone IT offers games as an employee benefit to make teammates closer, keep their minds agile and alert, and stimulate creativity.
5. Make them feel at home
Because remote workers aren’t in the office, they can feel disconnected or spaced out. Remind them that they are important members of the team by providing them with company-issued laptops. They’re nice to have, and you can preload them with security apps and platforms to ensure your remote workers can access data securely.
And why not send a basket of swag items with the laptop? These include T-shirts, jackets, phones cases, pens, or mugs decorated with the company logo or slogan. Did we mention this is also a great way to promote your business?
Are you remotely considering remote work for some of your employees? Put an end to your doubts and reap the benefits of this unique setup with the help of Capstone IT. We’ll analyze your IT systems to ensure that you’re ready for anything. Our right-fit technology has helped many small businesses in the Rochester-Buffalo and West Palm Beach-Treasure Coast areas. Contact us now for IT support and managed IT services, and watch your business grow!