Boosting Engagement for Your Distributed Team Members

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As remote work explodes in popularity, many companies are building globally distributed teams. Hiring the best talent around the world provides access to new perspectives and 24/7 productivity through time zone coverage.

However, managing engagement can prove challenging when your team is dispersed across cities and countries.

Without daily face-to-face interactions, remote workers are at higher risk of feeling isolated or disconnected from peers and the company.

Nurturing an engaging culture with distributed team members requires a focus on several key areas:

Define Clear Communication Expectations

With employees working from home offices, coffee shops, and coworking spaces, communication can easily break down. Be sure to outline expected response times for emails, chats, and other channels. For example, “Replies are expected within 24 hours during the work week.”

Also, clarify if meetings require live video versus audio-only. And eliminate confusing company acronyms or jargon that remote team members may not recognize. Setting guidelines upfront prevents misunderstandings down the road.

Encourage Both Social and Professional Interactions

Don’t limit conversations to tasks and deliverables. Remote workers need opportunities to engage socially to build camaraderie and trust. Dedicate time for water cooler conversations on hobbies, weekend plans, or funny videos. Send team gifts for birthdays, holidays or to say congratulations. The more personal connections, the better.

Provide Ongoing Recognition

Publicly highlight when remote employees hit milestones, complete big projects, or have work anniversaries. Call out their wins and accomplishments in video calls, in the company newsletter, or mailing e-cards. Gestures large and small help remote workers feel truly valued and appreciated.

Get to Know Your Team Members

Learn about who your remote colleagues are as people outside work. Ask about their families, hobbies, passions, and interests. Share your own stories as well to deepen connections. Discovering shared experiences breeds empathy and strengthens relationships.

Mirror the In-Office Experience Digitally

Video calls foster face-to-face collaboration and relationships. Encourage always-on video for meetings and team huddles when possible. Have a frequent ask-questions channel that replicates tapping a coworker’s desk. Record meetings for remote workers in different time zones. The more personal touchpoints, the better.

In today’s remote work world, engagement hinges on communication, relationships, and inclusion. With extra effort, you can build a thriving culture where distributed team members are highly connected, collaborative, and loyal.

What tips do you have for keeping a remote team engaged? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


  • Happy Remote

    Happy Remote Work is an online platform for remote job seekers in many professions. We are big believers that remote work is the best way to fulfill a work-life balance.