Remote workers are becoming more and more common in the workplace.
In fact, many people are demanding remote jobs. In a recent study commissioned by Jive Communications, recently acquired by LogMeIn, it was found that three out of five millennials feel that flexible, remote working is essential in their next role.
With such easy and effective online collaboration tools available to businesses everywhere, the ability to connect in real-time with remote employees has become easier than ever. However, it can still prove challenging for remote employees to feel like a valuable member of the team if they’re missing out on team activities and the overall culture of the office. This is where employee FOMO kicks in.
What is employee FOMO and what is its impact?
FOMO is an acronym that refers to someone’s “fear of missing out.” While FOMO is generally used outside of the office setting to refer to the anxiety and fear that is felt when someone is left out of important social events, this term is especially applicable for remote workers as being forgotten or left out of a team outing can weigh heavily on their minds and morale.
In this way, taking time to reduce remote worker FOMO can actually improve employee spirits, increase collaboration, and help productivity — benefiting the business at large. And luckily, there are many practices that businesses can implement to keep remote workers FOMO at a minimum.
Plan in-person meetings.
Planning annual (or biannual) meetings, team-building events, or other activities that involve everyone is a great way to negate FOMO. Whether you fly everyone out or provide opportunities for remote workers to travel, face-to-face time will remind workers why they love their company and give them the opportunity to create deeper bonds with their co-workers.
David Lloyd, CEO at The Intern Group, oversees offices around the world and allows employees to work remotely. He said, “To help create an inclusive work culture, we give bonuses that can be used towards travel in any of our offices so team members can meet each other even if they live on the other side of the world.”
Invest in their — and the company’s — future.
Any successful company is constantly evolving and changing. Invest in remote workers by giving them the same training, knowledge, and equipment as those in the office. Stephen Milbank, co-founder at Button explained that investing in your employees means providing them with all the tools necessary to succeed. He said, “Because it’s important to have our satellite offices be apart of our weekly all-hands meetings, Friday ‘demos’ and Town Hall sessions, it’s critical that we provide our remote employees with the technology they need to join.”
This will not only give remote employees a sense of value and connectedness, but it will also help propel the company forward to the future.
Schedule regular one-on-one time.
Reaching out often and scheduling a weekly call with remote employees is imperative to keeping them engaged and involved. This gives them an opportunity to share their recent achievements or projects and lets them know you care about the work they’re doing.
Casmin Wisner, a public relations specialist that works remotely for Jive Communications, recently acquired by LogMeIn added that “Using online video conferencing tools for our weekly meetings has improved my relationship with my manager and my team. Hearing the inflections in someone’s voice and watching facial cues provides context that I can’t get from chat or email, and helps me feel more included from thousands of miles away.”
Communicate in a team collaboration tool.
One of the many benefits of using a collaboration tool such as Slack is its ability to connect and provide transparency to everyone on a team. Erica Stritch, VP of Marketing at RAIN Group said, “While team members at the office can walk a few feet to ask their co-workers questions, we frequently use Slack to communicate. We also have channels ranging from a general channel for company-wide announcements and a random channel for water cooler conversations.”
Keeping conversations exclusive to a collaboration tool means your team is creating a more inclusive environment for remote workers and allowing everyone to connect more meaningfully. For this reason, it’s critical to be consistent in your communications and create channels for work and for fun.
Keep addresses updated and on-hand.
Sending fun, thoughtful and useful gifts and tools can make hundreds or thousands of miles feel small. Damon Burton, President of SEO National has been managing a remote team for six years and makes it a point to make his remote employees feel valued by sending them mail several times a year. He said, “One thing I do is send birthday gifts and bonuses every year. It’s a great way to let employees know you appreciate them.”
So whether it’s a new company swag, a goodie bag from an office celebration, a performance incentive, or a card on their birthday, make it a goal to intentionally recognize remote team members and the milestones they’re making.
Make time for them.
It can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the office. With so many meetings and conversations happening, it can be hard to find time for remote workers. However, don’t let their emails, chats, and calls go unanswered. Remote employees who can’t sit at your desk or wait at your door until you return from a meeting as other employees can. Engagement is key to mitigating FOMO and increasing morale for them. Make time to respond to their communications.
Running a team of remote workers isn’t always easy. It takes dedication, patience, and trust, but as millennials continue to saturate the workforce, getting the best person for the job will mean bringing on increasingly more remote workers.
Understanding these remote workers and how to meet their engagement needs is crucial to taking FOMO out of the equation and having efficient, collaborative and productive teams. So invest in them, make time for them, and show them that you care.
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