It is not uncommon for companies to have offices in multiple locations around the country or even the world. This sometimes results in geographically dispersed teams. Although working in separate locations may cut down on impromptu face-to-face time, technology allows us to stay connected in other ways.
Here are five fun ways to keep your remote teams connected and happy:
1. Internal Forums
Web forums are a great way to facilitate knowledge-sharing within the company. Set up an internal forum where employees can share ideas and ask or answer questions.
2. Points vs. Pats
A literal pat on the back is one of the oldest ways of expressing approval for a job well done. This passing of encouragement often gets lost in remote offices.
A great way to get employees motivated and have them encourage one another is to create a points system. Each month, give managers and employees a certain number of points they can give out to each other for a job well done. At the end of each quarter, the employee with the most points can be rewarded with a prize.
3. Web Conference Introductions
An email announcing a new team member doesn’t necessarily connect the new hire with the rest of the team. This can potentially lead to new associates feeling isolated and timid in their new roles.
Consider hosting a quarterly online meeting where all new hires can introduce themselves to the rest of the team. Whether you’re meeting with a small or large group, you can meet face-to-face with the entire team. HD video and state-of-the art audio make it possible for everyone to see and hear each other clearly.
Invite all the new hires to create a few PowerPoint slides that highlight who they are as individuals. They can include information and pictures about their families, personal interests and goals. Each new employee can share their slides via the screen share feature.
Encourage Creative Connection
Physical distance can sometimes magnify the communication gap between executives and employees. Companies don’t have the time or the funds for executives to constantly visit each office.
How do you keep an open line of communication? Develop a portal that allows management to pose problems, questions or project briefs to the entire company. Any employee should have the opportunity to login and submit their opinions, analysis or suggested solution. As an added bonus, you can reward the top responses with prizes, which should help encourage participation.
Virtual Happy Hour
Use an online meeting tool to establish monthly virtual meetings with departments from various office locations. Each location can take turns presenting to the other offices. Try and be considerate of everyone’s busy calendars by scheduling these meetings during low-productivity times such as first thing Monday morning or last thing Friday afternoon. As an added treat, consider having each office provide coffee and muffins or soda and popcorn.
The presenting office can share anything they would like. It could be a new report related to the company or a fun recipe. The point is to introduce employees to their colleagues and allow them to connect, thereby building a sense of teamwork.
How do your remote teams stay connected? If you would like to know more about today’s hottest collaboration trends, download our free eBook: The Future of Business Collaboration.