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Remaining Connected in a Remote Environment

As more and more employees have been forced to work remotely, how do we maintain the connectivity and camaraderie we had with our co-workers when we were in the office?

It may take some extra effort but it is absolutely worth it to let your employees know that you are thinking of them and care about how they are doing not just on a professional basis but on a personal one.

Some suggestions for managers looking to ensure their workforce remains connected include:

  1. Combining an all-company meeting with a social event play games (BINGO, Jeopardy, Kahoot app games), use polling questions, use breakout rooms to have smaller groups interact, have contests, use icebreaker questions, do activities (painting, cookie decorating), etc.).
  2. Reach out to someone not on your team to check in with them – either through email, phone, or other available technology (Zoom, Teams, text, etc.).
  3. Consider having regular virtual office hour(s) for employees to check in with you. You have set aside this time so employees won’t feel they are interrupting you.
  4. Send a quick note, card or email to let staff know you are thinking about them.
  5. Ask your employees if they would like a work buddy and coordinate pairing them up with one or two others – someone who checks in with them on a regular basis – whether it is to have coffee together via zoom or phone or just sends a quick text or Teams chat.

Additionally, if you are a supervisor, it is recommended that you meet weekly with your direct reports – even if just for 10 minutes separately to check in on each member. A recent Harvard Business Review article suggests employees have an open line with colleagues on Zoom, Teams, or by phone to socialize while getting work done – much like they would chat if they were working next to others in cubicles in the office.

Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall wrote in their book,

Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leaders Guide to the Real World, that the two most important questions that leaders should ask on a weekly basis to move their staff from good to great are: What are you working on this week? and "How can I help?” This way, you learn more about your team’s workload and can help them prioritize if needed. It also demonstrates your concern for their wellbeing and reminds them you are available as resource and to help.