By Jim Wong, CPA | March 8, 2017

The conversation surrounding company culture is a hot topic in today’s corporate environment. So many businesses are making efforts to define their culture, including employee engagement, recognition and work-life balance, more so now than in the past. Defining workplace culture is certainly a process, however, it becomes more challenging in a workplace that includes remote employees. At our company, we offer colleagues flexible work arrangements. As a result, we know firsthand the challenges that come with remote employees.

While challenging, the process of creating an exciting and engaging culture for your team members near and far is certainly possible. Given the fact that so many organizations are implementing work-from-home hours and flexibility for their employees, finding ways to be inclusive of all employees and making them feel like they have a voice both inside of the office and outside of the office, is more important than ever.

I recently read a Forbes article that discusses this topic. So, I wanted to share some of their tips along with some of my own insight. This is a topic I’ve written about before, but it’s worth a reminder.

Take a look at the 4 Ways To Engage Remote Colleagues below!

1. Incorporate technology. 
If your organization relies on technology to interact with remote colleagues, it’s important to find the right programs or software that fit the needs of your team and spurs engagement. For video-conferencing, be sure to find a reliable program that can be easily accessible by computers and/or phones or tablets. FaceTime, Zoom and Skype are great programs to use for video-conferencing or when you want to be able to see the other team members. This type of technology, especially for younger generations, will allow them to show their personality and character when speaking with you.

2. Make time for in-person interactions. 
Understandably it’s not always feasible to meet with each remote employee every day, however, it’s important to devote some time to meeting remote employees in person every now and then. While video-conferencing technology continues to improve, there’s something special about face-to-face interaction. Perhaps inviting remote colleagues to travel to your office on a monthly or quarterly basis could be a beneficial way to get the team engaged with team members within the office and you to further develop those connections.

3. Be accessible. 
When it comes to being accessible to remote employees, leaders and managers need to make it clear when they’re available. A simple way of doing this is sharing an Outlook or Google calendar with team members. This keeps everyone on the same page even if they’re not necessarily in the same space. This also gives them autonomy to make decisions based on your availability.

4. Engage with colleagues often.
The writer of this article says, “Sharing your thoughts in writing is another way to align the team with your vision and build trust,” and that couldn’t be truer. It’s especially important for organizations with remote colleagues—sharing a blog post or sending a tweet is a great way to develop a dialogue for all employees to engage with. Further, a simple email, phone call or text to your team members to let them know you are present helps with the engagement factor, as well.

These are only a few ways to make sure remote colleagues are engaged and included. Do you have other suggestions? Comment below and let us know.

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