It’s no secret that working remotely is the new normal for many business people today. Not only does it give employers a larger pool of talent, it also gives employees the flexibility they may need.
But with everyone spread apart, how do you keep everyone on the same page? And how do you create a cohesive team when some of the team members don’t get to interact with each other on a regular basis?
It’s a common challenge and one that I face, too.
I work for a company with 55 employees. Nearly 20 percent of the employees work remotely, myself included. We each have home offices that allow us to access the same information and get our work done as if we were sitting at headquarters.
Having the right technology is step one toward remote success, but that still doesn’t mean that the team will feel unified.
We’ve embraced remote working for the past five years or so, and we’ve learned a few things along the way.
Here are my top ways to help remote workers stay connected and engaged.
One of the biggest challenges for remote employees is a feeling of isolation from the rest of the team. Working alone can be great for productivity – talk about minimizing distractions! – but it can also be lonely. One way to combat isolation is to have scheduled daily check-in calls, or huddles, with your team.
These daily huddles do two things: one, they ensure everyone is focused on the right tasks each day. And two, it gives remote employees the human connection they need to not feel like they’re in it alone.
For more in-depth information on the value of daily huddles, check out the book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish.
I see you
Another way to keep people engaged is to do as much with video conferencing as possible. Nothing replaces good old-fashioned human connection, but for those who sit by themselves all day, video really helps.
There are many affordable, easy-to-use video conferencing tools these days – Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Skype for Business, to name a few. With the push of a button, you can hold a meeting or chat one-on-one about an upcoming project.
I’ve started using video for many of my calls and it’s amazing how much clearer the communication is. Not only can you take cues from body language, but it also keeps people more engaged in the conversation.
We see you
Finally, a webcam on the wall in a meeting room is good, but what if there was a way to make remote employees feel like they have a seat at the table? Enter: Meeting Owl.
Meeting Owl is an all-in-one webcam, speaker and microphone that sits in the center of your conference room table. It has a panoramic camera on top that allows remote meeting attendees to get a 360-degree view of the entire room. It also shows eye-level views of the people at the table.
The technology is designed to follow sound, so it focuses on the person who’s speaking. If that person stands up and walks around the room while they’re talking, the camera will follow them and continue showing them. If there’s banter back-and-forth, Meeting Owl will do a split-screen so you can see multiple people at the same time.
We have one of these devices in our conference room at headquarters and it’s pretty amazing to see it in action. From a remote perspective, you actually feel like you’re part of the meeting, not just an onlooker.
More information about Meeting Owl can be found at owllabs.com.
Technology advancements have made remote working more productive and engaging than ever before. If you need help with technology or connecting with remote employees, talk to a trusted IT consultant.
Courtney Kaufman Casey is director of marketing at Accent Computer Solutions. She can be reached at www.TeamAccent.com
Source: Oc Register