Remote work is a win-win for employees and employers. Employees get to skip the commute, save money, and spend more time with their families. Employers also save cash and can offer more flexible working options to staff.
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However, remote work can leave everyone feeling a little isolated. Making connections while working from home (WFH) can be a struggle, and networking can feel impossible when employees work away from the office.
But new technology exists to help facilitate networking and build meaningful relationships between remote teams. Employees can form stronger bonds with their peers by using messaging forums, attending virtual networking events, and engaging in team-building exercises while they work from home.
Remote work can improve employees’ quality of life and help them strike a better work-life balance. Working in a remote world can also help you live a more sustainable, budget-friendly lifestyle, as you won’t be commuting to and from an office. You’ll also have more time for yourself, as you may be able to work flexible hours while working remotely.
Remote work is made possible by messaging and chat platforms like Microsoft Teams, Google Workspace, Slack, and Facebook Workplace Groups. Each of these platforms has unique advantages and can help you create meaningful bonds with your peers.
- Microsoft Teams: A simple communication tool that is integrated natively with Microsoft Office and allows you to share your appreciation through emojis and gifs.
- Google Workspace: Ideal for collaborative projects that require the input of multiple teams and employees.
- Slack: A user-friendly messaging and collaboration solution with useful bots designed to improve workflow.
- Facebook Workplace: A collaborative program that facilitates messaging and integrates third-party software like Microsoft 360, Google Disk, and WhatsApp
Choosing the right messaging app can help employees feel connected and improve workplace efficiency. Employers can encourage even stronger connections by investing in employee appreciation apps.
Employee appreciation apps are specifically designed to improve connection and motivation amongst remote teams. In place of office-based incentives, businesses can enroll in programs like Bonusly and Kazoo to reward stand-out employees.
Some employee appreciation apps integrate with platforms like Slack and Workplace. This means that managers can show their appreciation and grant gifts and bonuses to employees in the same way that they would IRL.
Virtual coworking spaces have the potential to change the way remote employees work. Instead of meeting in a physical location to discuss strategy, meet new hires, or set budgets, businesses can host virtual coworking spaces that integrate virtual technology and replicate the office environment.
Virtual coworking spaces use VR to create floor plans, digital avatars, and receptions that mimic a real-life office. This can create a sense of connection, as employees can “see” where they work and how the company is structured.
The visual component of virtual coworking spaces can improve collaboration and connection. Employees who log on to virtual coworking offices can tell when other remote workers are at work and available for a conversation. This makes it easier to reach out for questions or help, as teams are clearly organized and virtual rooms can be made available for folks who have similar tasks or queries.
Virtual networking took off during the pandemic when everyone had to distance themselves and forge connections through digital platforms. Remote employees can expand their professional network while working from home by utilizing sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor to find and attend virtual networking events.
Virtual networking events can improve employee morale and help forge stronger connections between teams. Widely adopted virtual meeting technology like Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype are perfect for remote networking.
It’s worth noting that remote networking events usually utilize breakout rooms. This ensures that everyone has a chance to meet and form meaningful bonds. However, larger networking events may need to utilize software that allows for wider-scale audiences and virtual vendor booths.
Currently, the best options for networking events include programs like vFairs, Hopin, and WebEx Events. These programs can host larger groups and are designed to host events, guest speakers, and career fairs. Opting for a networking program can ensure that all attendees can gain access on the day of the event and that organizers can break down the group as they wish.
Team building events have been popular amongst managers and business owners for decades. However, with the rise of remote work, new approaches are required to ensure that everyone feels connected to their place of work.
Businesses can take advantage of the recent boom in gamification to promote team building and help employees connect virtually. Gamification is already popular in education, where teachers use gamified learning experiences to deliver engaging lessons.
Business leaders can take a similar approach to professional training and onboarding. Gamified training can create friendly competition between teams and employees. Employers can download and use gamification apps like
- Bounty Tasker
These apps are customizable and can be suited to any industry. Some apps, like Bounty Tasker, utilize RPG elements and give employees their own avatars. Ticking off tasks and performing well will unlock rewards and notify peers.
Gamification can lose its appeal over time. But, businesses can continue to encourage connection by using tech to create community engagement opportunities among remote employees. For example, if remote employees express a desire to support local charities, businesses can get involved by organizing virtual fundraisers and coordinating efforts online.
Fundraising is made easier through sites like GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and Mightycause. These sites give organizers complete control over how they raise funds. Employees can improve the effectiveness of fundraisers by organizing remote events. Engaging remote fundraisers like a virtual murder mystery or Zoom dance parties can boost interest and help raise even more cash for good causes.
Tech can help employees connect and network in remote work environments. Messaging boards and employee appreciation apps can improve employee morale, while virtual office spaces promote greater collaboration between remote teams. Tech-savvy employers can even use virtual team-building apps like Perkville and Bounty Tasker to gamify training experiences and bring employees closer together.
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