Workforces are changing, with more telecommuting, part-time, flex-time, gig, and remote employees joining the team. Crowdsourcing is becoming a new work-model. But employee engagement is still critical to meeting goals and getting the best from the workforce. How do managers teambuild with remote employees?
A remote workforce is one that works from satellite offices or home via computers or other types of technology. Companies that provide experts as consultants often have a large remote workforce, as members travel to job sites across the world. Working in different places, and in different time zones, can make routine team building difficult.
Offering culture and language training in a central location for all staff who are going to be traveling globally for work will allow networking and support to develop among the team. Even if they only see each other yearly, a scheduled training for updates, global challenges, new technology, and required training will allow staff to meet and work as a team.
Communication boards and chat rooms for telecommuting and remote workers will allow socialization and team building.
Make sure that holiday festivities include the ability for remote and off-site employees to participate. One company with an all-telecommuting staff sends everyone a pair of slippers for the holidays. Gear with company logos, company tee-shirts, or contests for similar gear can be a team-building activity.
Recognition needs to include remote staff, and can include elements like pictures and short bios on the company website, a “get to know staff” segment of a company newsletter, and equal participation in awards and financial incentives. Groups in remote locations can be encouraged to participate together in activities such as volunteering or sports.
As the workforce continues to change, critical teambuilding will continue to become more creative.