Our Top 4 Team-Building Tips for Remote Workers
One of my favorite things about 9 Clouds is the flexibility — not only in hours and casual dress, but also in the location of our work.
Almost a third of our staff works remotely (either part time or full time), spread out across three states. Literally.
How do we get anything done? How do we all stay connected to our company culture?
Taking the wise words of our pal Kylie Jenner to heart, I’ve realized our team has some helpful tips on remote working to share with everyone:
“I feel like this year is really about, like, the year of just realizing stuff. And everyone around me, we’re all just realizing things.”
I myself am a part-time remote employee. I live just across the border from Sioux Falls in the lovely state of Iowa. (Don’t even get the team started with Iowa vs. South Dakota vs. Minnesota — we’ve got them all covered.)
In this post, I’ll get into how to do remote work and remain part of the team culture.
Top 4 Ways for Remote Workers to Stay Involved
Last month, I recapped our annual company retreat. That’s a staple in team bonding, of course.
But it’s the employees who work remotely who especially gain from the experience of quality one-on-one time with their fellow employees.
So, the real question is: how can remote employees stay involved year-round?
Here are four ways we telecommuters can stay part of and contribute to the team, even from afar.
1. Plan Frequent Events for the Team
We do, indeed, like to play as hard as we work.
Planning frequent events (and planning them well in advance) provides opportunities for those who work remotely to make arrangements to join these team-building activities.
Our lovely party planning committee (PPC) has even gone as far as planning events for remote workers that coincide with what the office team is doing that day. Specifically, we’ll schedule lunches or happy hours when the majority of our remote workers overlap days at the office.
Some of us remote workers have specific days of the week we are in the office, while others (who live farther away) come only once a month or once every other month.
If you’re a remote worker, taking the time to plan your in-office days ahead of time (using your calendar!) allows your team to schedule events for everyone.
2. Have Courage
Don’t be afraid to call your team. The relationship between in-office and remote employees is truly a two-way street.
And truth be told, we don’t know what each other is actually doing on a day-to-day basis if we can’t look up from our desk and see them.
So, reach out to your teammates. Have a quick video chat about a certain project you’re both working on — or just a show you both watch that had a bananas episode the night before. Allen and I even set aside time on our calendars this summer to recap the insane Big Brother episodes each week (and by insane, I mean lame).
3. Follow Them
No, not follow them as in be a creepy stalker. Follow them on social media.
Social media usage is a personal preference for everyone, so there may be some people who aren’t comfortable with sharing their personal accounts at work. That’s okay. It’s 2017, dolls; people are free to make their own choices.
But following your teammates on social media gives you insight into who they are as a person, what they enjoy, and what they dislike. What you see online can also be a conversation starter the next time you chat with them.
Something that works well for our team is a group Snapchat. With our group snaps, we can all keep up to speed on what Chandler (Rachel’s cat) thinks of her cooking or what John‘s little humans are up to each day.
4. Stay Connected
It’s been said before, but it really is worth saying again.
In this day and age, there are so many ways to stay connected with people, thanks to this handy thing called the Internet. Checking in on Basecamp and Slack is a quick and easy way to stay connected with your teammates.
Most importantly, let people know you’re available. Mark your self as “active,” update your calendar, or drop a quick note in Slack to let people know you’re here and open for communication.
Weren’t able to get a project done because you got interrupted by a mouse or rat problem at your apartment where you work remote (ahem, Matt)? Updating your to-dos in Basecamp or shooting the team a quick Slack message helps everyone. Bible.
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