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Making Remote Work: Remember the People

This is part 4 of a 4 part series on Making Remote Work.

We’ve covered the tools you need to use. But, what about the people who use them? When teams first start remote working it typically goes well. They are diligent and focused, following all of the best practices listed here and very aware of their productivity. Unfortunately, their productivity soon begins to slip and employee satisfaction drops, even though they continue to follow all of the best practices. What happens?

They forget that teams are made of people. 

People are not robots, they will not find satisfaction in interacting on purely professional terms every minute of every day. They want to joke around, have casual conversations and connect with other people. Remote work does not give you many chances to have casual interactions over lunch or near the water cooler like an office might. 

As a result, you need to make a point to create these opportunities for your team to connect as people. There are many ways to do it, but here are a few:

  • Ambient group video chats. Many remote teams have video chats that they leave open all the time, so team members can drop in whenever they want someone to talk with. 
  • Online game time. While you can’t sit together and talk, you can play interactive online games together. When used with a video conference it can build the same team chemistry as sitting at a table playing a board game. 
  • Social time. You don’t just need to have video conferences for meetings, you can have them for scheduled social time. Everyone can eat lunch together and chat on video, or simply talk about non-work interests like sports. 

Remember to celebrate your people and recognize them when they go the extra mile for the company. It’s harder to feel seen when working remotely, so being recognized in a group setting can mean a lot to each person. 

Remote working is an important tool in your business arsenal and when done correctly becomes an important competitive advantage. The best practices we have shared here are only a start, you will need to listen to your team and make adjustments as necessary to ensure everyone is happy and productive whether or not they are remote. 

The Making Remote Work series