Technology has made our workforce more productive in many ways; however, there’s still no substitute for good old fashioned human connection. Making a conscious effort to promote human interaction among employees leads to increased concentration and collaboration, oftentimes resulting in increased performance.
In fact, chief product officer and sociologist, Maximo Castagno said “Technology that connects employees provides a key outlet to maintain some of what was lost in the remote-work shift. Finding the right balance between concentration and collaboration, in the context of app fatigue, takes continuous effort. Some level of push and pull will always be there.”
So, in a world where tech prevails: How can business leaders help their employees to form real human connections? We’ve outlined three simple tips below!
Tip #1) Identify the necessities
Evaluate your internal processes to determine what technology is actually being used efficiently on a daily basis. Ask your remote employees:
- What technology do they currently use and what additional company tools are needed?
- Are there disparate tools that are being used by some team members and not others?
Consider a teamwide approach to using project management tools like Monday or ClickUp so everyone is collaborating in the same environment. Conversely, think about integrating a unified messaging platform that can be used to improve team communication outside of email. Remote employees need technological resources and structure in place to be effective at their jobs. However, to keep your employees engaged in healthy human interactions, consider keeping only the necessary tools and eliminating the rest.
Tip #2) Work to maintain human interactions
A survey by Upwork predicts that 36.2 million workers will be working remotely by the year 2025. Yet, naturally, remote employees don’t have the ability to communicate with their team face-to-face on a regular basis. While this may not be a deal-breaker for some people, it could be what causes extroverted employees to separate from a company or even turn down a new opportunity. So, be sure to communicate that you intend to prioritize keeping a high level of human interaction and then … do it as consistently as possible!
Encourage openness and honesty with your remote employees by asking them what they need to experience more connection in your virtual environment. And, no matter what, always maintain a schedule of weekly or daily virtual team stand-up meetings, even if everyone feels they’re already aligned on their tasks and work activities. If nothing else, you can use these meetings as a touchpoint for strengthening relationships and building comradery.
Tip #3) Begin before the candidate’s first day
It’s not uncommon for remote employees to have difficulty adjusting and adapting to a new team. Make an effort from the very beginning to encourage remote employees to become involved before their first day. You might consider scheduling a quick introduction meeting with a new coworker or planning a virtual team event for pre-hires.
The relationships you develop with remote employees begin during the hiring process. Read 5 Ways for Employers To Streamline the Remote Interview Process for additional ideas. And, if you’re looking for a partner that can help build a high-performing, relationship-focused team, consider working with an experienced recruiting agency. After all, it’s called “the people business” for a reason!