A healthy workplace culture is key to maintaining good employee morale and productivity - even among virtual employees. However, the challenge for many organizations with many remote workers is how to make them feel included. If your workers do not feel like they belong, they will not feel as invested in your business, which can hurt your bottom line. Here are some tips on creating an inclusive workplace culture for your virtual employees.
Make Sure Virtual Employees Feel Included
The first step in creating an inclusive workplace for your remote workers is fairly obvious: make them feel included by creating a sense of belonging. For example, you can easily include virtual employees in department/company meetings by using video messaging technology like Skype. You could also regularly ask for their feedback by inviting them to share their views in organizational surveys. Many businesses create employee newsletters to keep their workers up to date of the latest company news. Encourage them to contact their manager(s) if they need any assistance, as well as collaborate with other workers through remote team building activities.
Show That You Trust Them
Most employees don't want to feel like they are being micromanaged by their supervisor/manager. Of course, remote workers have a great deal of autonomy since they work from home. However, you should still find ways to show that you trust them one they have earned your trust. For instance, you could work that includes greater responsibilities when you know that they can handle it. When they come to you with a question about a decision to make, let them know that you trust them to make the best decision. Furthermore, you should pay virtual employees compliments just like you would regular employees when they do something that is above and beyond what was expected.
Be Mindful of Time Differences
Depending on the size of your company and its virtual workforce, there's a good chance that you could have remote employees from more than one time zone. Therefore, you need to be mindful of time differences before planning meetings or calling workers. If you have a workforce spread across the world, it might be hard for you to hold a virtual meeting that every remote worker can conveniently participate in. Therefore, you might need to hold separate meetings for different groups of employees based on where they live.
Find Ways to Show That You Care
Virtual employees can get lonely working from home every day. Therefore, you need to find ways to show that you are thinking about them, as well as appreciate their contribution to the company. However, you should not just rely on virtual messages to make your remote workers feel valued. Instead, you should take more of an old-fashioned approach. For example, most people still enjoy getting a handwritten note in the mail - or even better, a package! It does not have to be an expensive gift. You could send some company swag or a gift card. Handwritten notes feel more thoughtful and personalized than an email.
Help Remote Workers Connect with Each Other
You can make virtual employees feel more included in your company's workplace culture by helping them connect with each other. As mentioned, you should be encouraging collaboration between workers. Remote technology apps like Slack or Microsoft Teams are an excellent way to keep your workforce connected no matter where they are in the world. Your organization could also do things like hosting virtual video game nights where employees play video games together over the Internet.
In short, as a greater number of employees work from home, companies must still work hard to make them feel connected even though they are not working together in the same location. Continue to invite your remote workers to participate in company events by way of virtual meetings. Let your virtual employees know that they are still very much a valuable part of your organization. Encourage collaboration and teamwork among all your workers, no matter where they are based.
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