Remotely social: Improving workplace wellbeing
Workplace wellbeing is not just about making sure your employees are happy and healthy, it's also about improving the bottom line. No company is going to do well if they don't want to show up for work.
The most successful workplaces are those who make remote workers feel like they belong. When you provide the the opportunity for your employees to feel included – whether through social events or wellness programs – workplace well-being and profitability will both increase.
To make your company a productive place where people enjoy showing up, there needs to be a really intentional effort to keep people engaged, motivated and involved, while also giving people the space to unwind or decompress if they need to.
In this blog post we'll explore how strengthening the social fabric of a workplace can improve your company, and how you can get started on creating more positive social experiences in your remote workplace.
Six reasons why your remote team is better off with more social connection:
⁍ Communication, collaboration, and loneliness are the main struggle faced by 40% of remote workers,
⁍ Highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability,
⁍ Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work,
⁍ Disengaged employees cost companies up to $550 billion a year in the US alone,
⁍ 89% of workers at companies that support well-being initiatives are more likely to recommend their company as a good place to work,
⁍ 61% of employees agree that they have made healthier lifestyle choices because of their company’s wellness program,
⁍ 87% of employees expect their employer to support them in balancing work and personal commitments.
Taken from Forbes and Buffer x AngelList
Ok great, how do we do it?
Making remote team members feel included takes work across many levels, it is easy with the right strategy, without it, a nightmare.
If you are getting started, be sure that any plans you are putting in place to improve your remote teams social wellbeing, need to be thought out and specific to the team members you are providing for - without that strategy or planning, you may not end up making much progress at all.
Here are our suggestions for making your remote team more socially connected.
1. Curate a shared passion in the team
Whether you are building an AI micro service, or running ad campaigns on digital platforms, showing up for work should feel to feel like joining a team on a mission that everyone believes in.
If you can, set up a time to refine it as a group, if employees feel involved in setting the direction, they will be far more invested in working towards it. If you run across multiple timezones, perhaps you need to do some hand waving and excited talking on a Loom recording.
Make sure you get feedback on how people feel about your mission too, both internal and external – it should be a vision that people want to buy into.
Establishing that team vision means everyone shows up with that shared goal in mind, its a shared motivation to work together and give their best.
2. Protect the psychological safety of your team
How listened to and respected do your people feel? If any one of a team wants to speak up, are they confident that their opinion will be valued and they won't be rejected?
There needs to be a strong sense of connection between staff for this to happen, with a purposeful effort from team leaders and those running meetings to allow everyone the chance to speak up and be heard.
Set some clear guidelines for employees about respecting each others opinions, and establish channels for people to voice their concerns.
3. The people on your team are priceless
The more valuable your team feels, the more likely they are to open up and create positive relationships with those around them.
We have a few recommendations for ways you can create a positive workplace where team members feel most valued.
Schedule regular feedback sessions to help them improve and broaden their skills,
Give recognition for hard work and anything they do well,
Get their opinions and involvement, include them in any discussions about their line of work if possible.
Weekly updates are a great way of keeping your team up to date on changes in the company.
These can be core aspects of building any productive team, but it can also be difficult to maintain for a remote team. If you are looking to make this kind of feedback more intentional with your team, create scheduled feedback sessions to improve relationships, or hold monthly debrief sessions where you can share about the direction of the company with your team.
In some remote teams, time zones can be real issue, so frequent updates via video call may not be possible. We create a weekly update page on our notion to keep everyone in the loop with what is happening at Bravely.
4. Communication channels for everything, and everyone
To make your staff feel more connected, give your Slack/Teams space more than just the topics you deal with for business. Create some social channels: memes, music, TV/movie recommendations, a what-did-you-do-on-the-weekend. For a remote team, these are crucial for everyone to be able to connect on a social level, finding things in common makes it easier for us to associate with each other.
To go even deeper, set up channels for concerns, questions or feedback. Add the team member, their supervisor and your HR staff member if you have one. If these channels are set up, with the explicit intent of being a touch point for any questions or concerns, they will be less hesitant to reach out than if they have to start a new email or create a direct message.
5. Include your extroverts, and introverts
It's not always possible to make everyone happy. Be sure you accommodate your extroverts and introverts when planning events by giving them a chance to enjoy their own activities with others who share similar interests, like sports or gaming. If you someone opts out of an event, take note and find out what they want from future social gatherings so that everyone has an opportunity to be included.
By mixing up events or themes with your team, everyone has a chance to talk about the things that interest them the most, while also giving others a chance to discover new or common interests while getting to know the rest of the team.
6. Start early – promote inclusion from the outset
New staff members can feel empowered and included in the work place from the get go, if they get a well-rounded onboarding.
As part of this, you should explain to them how wellbeing is important for everyone, what steps are taken by the company to promote it. Explain the channels of communication you have, the options for connecting with their team members, or who they can reach out to with any concerns.
There is nothing worse than starting a job and discovering that people have a weekly video call set up to discuss your favourite topic, and you didn't find out about it for 2 months.
A more productive and satisfied remote team can be achieved by improving the social connection and reducing the isolation faced by your team members. The benefits don’t stop there; more connected workers also tend to have higher job satisfaction and lower rates of absenteeism.
Having a well balanced, holistic well-being program can greatly improve how your workplace attracts and retains great people.
If your remote team is in need of greater social connectivity, try some of the options we have above, or get in touch with us for a free call to talk about your team and ways you can improve your workplace well-being
There are many things that companies can implement with their remote workforce in order to encourage greater social inclusion, from group video chats where people discuss work topics together on a regular basis to encouraging team members to share their hobbies and activities in their free time. Take the relationships beyond the emails and the face on a screen.
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