12 Ways to Stay Connected With Your Remote Team Without Personal Interaction

01/02/2018 08:35 am ET Updated Jan 03, 2018

Having a remote team can mean recruiting top talent from all around the world. While the work arrangement can have positive effects on your business’ performance, keeping your remote team motivated and connected can be more of a challenge. Employing tools that are designed to help you stay connected can offer assistance in this department. So, how can company leaders keep their remote employees engaged and thriving without physically being there?

A. Talk Every Day and FaceTime

Check in with employees daily. For senior employees, don't micromanage. For junior employees, be sure to measure daily performance. Maximize video chat and minimize conference calls. Keep "reply all" to a minimum and use instant messaging — it feels more personal. For junior employees, offer memberships to co-working spaces. - Amishi Takalkar, NAILBITER

A. Hold Friday Recaps

Our team is spread across four continents, so every Friday we have everyone submit their weekly recap to their entire team. Team members are encouraged to share their biggest triumphs, challenges and upcoming goals. It helps the team get to know one another's personality in ways you might not pick up on in brief conversations on Skype, or when assigning tasks via project management software. - Matt Wilson, Under30Experiences

A. Always Keep Your Doors Open to Them

Make yourself accessible to them and let them know they can reach out any time. Encourage them to check in or set a time for them to call or message for a chat. - Peter Daisyme, Calendar

A. Go See Them

If it's plausible when I'm traveling and I'm in the same town as the remote workers, I'll set up a lunch or coffee. It's great and fun. We both enjoy it and it helps us understand each other better. - Cynthia Johnson, Bell + Ivy

A. Welcome Remote Employees to Your HQ

Invite the new remote employee (and their manager) to your headquarters for the first week of training. Company culture should be demonstrated immediately and consistently so that it can permeate even when the new employee leaves to head home. It's an incredible opportunity to bond with the team at headquarters. - David Greenberg, Updater

A. Leverage Video Calls

Our team is spread across multiple cities and countries, so it's very important that everyone feels connected and engaged despite being spread out. One of the things we do is leverage video Google Hangouts whenever possible. For example, one of our employees works from home — it's been fun to watch her one-year old daughter grow each week and it makes us feel connected despite the distance. - Diana Goodwin, AquaMobile

A. Designate an In-Office Liaison

During company meetings with in-office and remote teams, one person gets designated as the liaison for remoters. Then, during the meeting, they can tell everyone to “shut up” and let the remoters talk, ask questions and present their ideas. Investing in great AV also helps a lot to ensure quality video engagement for better face time. - Dan Golden, BFO (Be Found Online)

A. Keep Dialogue Light and Personal

Even though virtual communication is often viewed as impersonal, you can still manage relationships through email chains and Slack. Open up Slack channels for team members to post internet memes and funny pictures and make it a priority to check in with employees weekly. Knowing that you value team members on a personal level makes them feel more involved. - Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com

A. Wish Them a "Great Day" Every Morning

I have team members working in three different offices, and some work from home as well. Every morning, I send them a "Have a great day ahead" message to communicate that I am there and recognize them, as well as their work. This has been a very positive boost to their work environment and engagement. - Piyush Jain, SIMpalm

A. Build a Community

Our company has 12 employees located in three different countries. The way we keep our remote team engaged is by building a sense of community among employees. One way we do that is by providing every team member with a FitBit. We have created a community on the app, as well as a WhatsApp group related to keeping active and competing with steps. This makes a global team feel localized. - Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

A. Organize Regular Retreats

Getting the team together at an interesting location to work at a leisurely pace will help everyone learn more about each other and have an opportunity to bond. This, in turn, will build a sense of camaraderie that is motivating for working as a team. Doing these retreats on a regular basis, like once a quarter, will make sure the motivation continues. - Turgay Birand, EditionGuard

A. Have Fun

As a leader of a remote team, you want your employees' days to be productive, but also enjoyable. Keep morale high by incorporating fun activities into your culture. Have fitness challenges where the person with the most steps wins a prize, or hold a monthly poker night. Even though you might not be in a physical office, you can still incorporate creative strategies to have fun. - Jared Brown, Hubstaff Talent

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC has also launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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