It is Workwise week this week http://www.workwiseuk.org/ and National Work from Home Day on 5th June.
There are numerous benefits to people working regularly or fully away from the office – but there can be downsides too, which managers need to be alert to; for example feeling cut off or overlooked.
One piece of research draws a parallel between the effects of “loneliness” and smoking – citing similar physiological effects on the body – raising blood pressure, increasing stress for example http://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/threat-to-health/
With the Workwise Movement quite rightly promoting the benefits of flexible working practices and smarter working through technology, it is a good opportunity to review how you keep your remote or home workers engaged and feeling part of the team.
5 ways to ensure your remote/ home workers feel involved
The key is communication – make it regular and varied
1. Book regular one to ones by phone or Skype with each team member. Have protected time with them in the same way you would if they were in the office... schedule the time in and stick to it.
2. Use social media to keep in touch and create interaction – share information, generate ideas and prompt discussion
3. Offer regular chances to get together – either for team meetings – for example once a quarter or by visiting them at their own location
4. Ensure they are included in all opportunities - from invites to social events to development opportunities
5. Send physical things. In a “virtual” working environment receiving something like a thankyou card through the post can have a big impact
And remember that many issues that arise with remote or virtual teams are not unique to remote working. Often it is down to whether you are managing in a fair and consistent way, rather than the location they are based in.
Email us or tweet @focalpointuk your ideas for keeping a remote workforce involved.
And for further support with developing great teams take a look at our Team Building workshop or call us on 01903 732 782
I joined Stella and Tracy at Focal Point in 2003 and have seen both the Company and my role evolve during this time. I now work closely with the management team to achieve and improve business efficiently. To re-energise myself after a day in the office, I like to go to Zumba classes in the evening!