Distance working is an incredible solution for many issues. When you want to pull from a global talent pool or simply keep an employee who needs to move across the country, telecommuting is the answer. When you want to cut costs or save space by reducing the size of your workspace, remote workers are keys to your success.
If there is any problem with remote working, it’s the removal of employees from the social goings-on in the physical office. While the isolation factor of working from home is actually a selling point for your introverted workers, more outgoing people may go a little stir crazy if they’re in such a situation for long.
Thankfully, it’s not that hard to create opportunities for social interaction among remote workers. Modern humans are already used to gathering remotely via social media and video chatting platforms; sometimes they just need a reminder. So, here are five ideas that you can use to nudge your geographically disconnected employees (and yourself!) toward social interaction.
1. Take Online Breaks Together
Who says you have to be physically present at the office to partake in water-cooler conversations or chats by the coffee machine? Schedule short breaks throughout the day for anyone willing to join a group video call and shoot the breeze over coffee or tea. If your company uses Slack, there’s even a brand-new app called Hallway that enables you to set up recurring virtual breaks in your channels.
2. Bond While Virtually Volunteering
Many companies use community service events as a way to simultaneously maintain corporate social responsibility and encourage employee bonding. Being remote doesn’t eliminate this option. There are many ways to virtually volunteer to help those less fortunate than you and your employees. Host a group video call to chat while you’re volunteering, and everyone wins.
3. Hold a Remote Work Party
Not long ago we put out a few suggestions for remote holiday parties to help out people who might be traveling for business or working on telecommuting teams. But why stop at festive occasions? Birthdays, anniversaries, and retirement parties can all be held via group video call. You won't be able to share the cliché sheet cake that always appears at these events, but you could hold a virtual raffle with e-gift cards or extra paid days off as prizes instead.
4. Put on a Video Call Talent Show or Contest
Remote workers miss out on fun in-office teambuilding activities like contests and talents shows. Once again, you can do these things just as easily on a Microsoft Teams or Google Hangouts Meet call. For instance, hold a contest to determine the best-decorated home office—contestants can give virtual tours of their spaces and then vote. Or, gather your remote workers together to play music, dance, and perform standup comedy to compete for bragging rights.
5. Host an Online Gaming Tournament
As a remote company, you probably can't join the local company softball league. Online gaming is an intriguing alternative. When Major League Baseball suspended its season in the face of quarantines and social-distancing policies, the New York Yankees turned to online gaming to keep the competitive juices flowing. Any other organization can follow that example, setting up online leagues and tournaments using whatever game genre employees prefer.
Aver has all the conferencing equipment you need to open up channels for social interaction between your remote workers. Ensure clear imaging by giving your remote team members the compact 4K CAM340+. If you’re using a blended remote work/physical space approach, you’ll also need powerful conferencing cameras and speakerphones on the office side. Our VC520 Pro is perfect for such situations, bringing remote workers into medium and large conference rooms with an 18X zoom and expandable audio capabilities.
With these and more high-tech yet affordable options, there’s no excuse to neglect social interaction while telecommuting. Work hard, play hard—remotely!