Simple Ways to Help Remote Employees Feel Connected

TalentCulture Content Impact Award Winner - 2023Sponsored by Social Flowers

What a difference three years can make! I’m sure that’s what many remote employees are thinking these days. Before the pandemic, only 6% of people worked remotely in the U.S. Now, after peaking at 60% during the height of the pandemic, that number has leveled off to about 30%. But we’re all still learning how to navigate this new work-from-wherever terrain without leaving anyone behind.

Why Remote Work is Here to Stay

I understand why people want to continue enjoying the flexibility of working from a distance — even for a few days a week. Remote work remains popular because it offers advantages to employees and employers alike. For example:


  • Less commute time
  • Higher productivity (90% say they’re more productive)
  • Better mental health (74%)
  • Increased happiness with work (In fact, 61% would accept a pay cut to continue)


  • Lower overhead costs from less office space
  • Increased work output (4% more hours each week, on average)
  • Lower absenteeism (52% are less likely to take extra time off)
  • Potential savings in employee pay (People value working from home as much as a 5-7% pay increase)

Remote Employees Face Real Challenges

Despite the flexibility and freedom of working from anywhere, working at a distance also has its drawbacks. For instance, research says many remote employees struggle with social isolation and disengagement. Specifically:

To ensure remote work strategies succeed in the long term, leaders need to help people feel more connected. But that’s not always easy to accomplish from a distance.

Helping Remote Employees Feel Connected From Afar

It’s natural for remote employees to feel disconnected and lonely sometimes. After all, work relationships play a vital role in keeping employees happy, healthy, and productive. So, how can leaders bridge that gap? Start with stronger support and communication. For example:

1. Clarify Remote Work Expectations

McKinsey says remote employees who receive detailed information are 5x more productive and 3x less likely to experience burnout. That’s a good reason to articulate your vision, policies, and practices so people understand how they fit into your overall work structure and strategy. Be sure to capture this information in documents, videos, and other reference materials that are regularly updated and available to all.

2. Think Outside the Virtual Meeting Box

Many employers have learned the hard way that online meetings aren’t the only remote work solution. In fact, 56% of employees say these sessions are too frequent or too long, and 42% say they feel Zoom fatigue. Avoid overload by promoting the use of asynchronous chat and collaboration tools like Slack. Also, let people choose when and how they want to conduct team meetings or 1-on-1 conversations.

3. Leave Room for Face-to-Face Communication

There is no substitute for in-person meetings. They are the fastest, most effective way to build trust and strengthen relationships. Even if you can bring people together only for an occasional planning, training, or team-building event, you’ll find it’s worth the investment.

4. Support Social Interaction

Connections won’t flourish with all work and no play. Encourage your entire staff to develop relationships by organizing online lunches, coffee breaks, and fun online events. Offer digital community tools and resources so everyone can casually exchange information and ideas.

5. Double Down on Appreciation

When organizations celebrate together, employees are 20x more likely to feel connected and want to stay on board. That’s an impressive reason to acknowledge personal and professional milestones. Set up a channel on Slack or Microsoft Teams for managers and peers to honor individual and team achievements, as well as birthdays and other life moments. Also, if you’re a manager, lead by example. Take time to acknowledge individuals, personally.

A Powerful Way to Connect: Send Flowers

I’ve discovered sending flowers is one of the simplest but most effective ways to help remote employees feel connected. Research says all humans have a basic need to be recognized. And the most successful kinds of recognition are timely, genuine, personal, and meaningful. Receiving flowers ticks all of those boxes.

How Flowers Made a Difference in My Life

As a flower delivery business owner, I’ve seen first-hand how flowers can play a key role during life’s most important moments. But I didn’t truly understand how much they mean until my father passed away.

My immediate family had ordered arrangements for the casket and the funeral service. But I was really touched when extended family and friends also sent flowers.

Initially, I was surprised. But upon reflection, I was grateful so many people wanted to express how much my dad meant to them by sending gorgeous arrangements. Through their efforts to honor his life with the beauty of flowers, I felt a deep emotional connection that remains with me to this day.

Social Flowers: An Easier Way to Connect With Remote Employees

I created Social Flowers so others could feel this same kind of connection. The idea is simple. We make it easy to send flowers to anyone, anywhere, anytime — even if you don’t know where they’re located.

When ordering, you simply enter the recipient’s email address or mobile number. They receive a link to choose where and when they want to receive their flowers, which a local florist delivers.

You can send flowers to celebrate a birthday, a work achievement, or just to brighten someone’s day. This service ensures that you can be present for all the important moments in a remote employee’s life.

How Social Flowers Works

How to send flowers to remote employees - an easier wayAs we’ve developed our business, I’ve relied upon Social Flowers, myself, to solve logistical problems that can make it difficult to send flowers.

In one case, I knew my friend Nancy was having surgery. I didn’t know the exact date of her procedure, or if she was staying at the hospital overnight, and I didn’t want to bother her. I knew where she lived, but I hadn’t been to her home in years and I couldn’t find her address. Fortunately, I did have her mobile number, so I used that to send an arrangement through Social Flowers.

After I placed the order, Nancy accepted the text notice and chose to receive the delivery at her house. Soon afterward, I received a “Thank you!” text from her. It’s gratifying to see first-hand how this modern tool makes it so much easier to keep in touch and support others when they need it most.

Closing Note

Helping remote employees feel connected doesn’t need to be complicated. Even small gestures can make a big difference whether people are face-to-face in an office, or are working together from a distance.

It’s the same lesson I learned from my father’s funeral. With sincere intent and just a bit of thoughtful effort, you can lift anyone’s spirits anytime. Chances are, that gesture will bring you closer together in a way neither of you will forget.

5 Ways to Boost Employee Connections—And Why it Matters

Employees don’t just work 40 hours a week because they want to. They come into work day after day for a mix of reasons, likely including a passion for what they do and to make the money they need to live their lives. When either of those is stagnant, however—I.E. you haven’t been able to give raises this year or employees are burnt out on a challenging project—there’s one other thing that keeps them coming back: their work friendships.

That’s just one reason why it’s important to boost employee connections at work. Learn more about the wide range of benefits along with how you can boost employee connections in your workplace.

Why It Matters

You may still be wondering: If I spend time and money training employees, mentoring them and promoting them within my organization, why do I need to spend even more on helping them build connections with one another too? The answer to that is multi-faceted, because there are a number of reasons why connecting employees is valuable to your business. Here are three of those reasons.

Employee Happiness

When you give employees a chance to connect at work, they’re more likely to become friends with one another. Friendship, it turns out, is a valuable asset for workplace happiness. A 2017 Gallup Poll found work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50 percent, with people who work with a best friend being seven times more likely to be fully engaged with their work. In the end, this is a huge benefit to your bottom line.

Remote Collaboration

Remote employees aren’t in the office but they’re still a critical part of the business. Connecting the employees that are both in and out of the office is the best way to ensure everyone is using the number one resource they have—each other. For example, it’s easy to forget that the remote marketing employee has experience with Adobe and can quickly create that sales deck you need in just one afternoon if you aren’t given an opportunity to connect with that employee.

Friendly Competition

A little friendly competition may be just what you need to get employees to step-up and work their hardest. Yet it’s only when employees are more connected—and therefore working as a team—they they’re likely to experience that tinge of friendly competition:

“Many teams work because each person inherently wants to do to the best job, and therefore a bit of healthy competition fuels the fire. When working on your own, you don’t always challenge yourself to be the best you can be or present the most workable idea. But as part of a team, you work off the passion of others in your group to inspire change,” according to How Teamwork Inspires Productivity.

Start Connecting Employees

Connecting your employees won’t take a lot of extra time or budget. You don’t have to plan more company outings or events; instead, build connectedness into your company culture by making small changes.

  • Organize groups in three’s: Whenever you break out into teams, do so in groups of three: “Organize subdivisions and activities that are, at most, a multiple of 3. These mini-teams of 3 create a context in which each team member gets to share their point of view,” according to teamwork experts at Hubgets. When employees have the space to share their ideas within a group, they’re more likely to hear one another and be able to connect, rather than getting lost in the shuffle of a big team.
  • Celebrate wins and birthdays more often: Bring employees together more often to celebrate birthdays and big project wins. Have a birthday cake once a month to celebrate everyone who has a birthday in that month and sing happy birthday in the kitchen area. Don’t forget to get remote employees on video chat, too. Once a quarter celebrate the top three employees in the company or start an employee of the month program.
  • Install a chat program: Make it easy for employees to chat about work and otherwise by installing a chat program company-wide. Use a tool like Slack, where you can create specific channels. For example, you may have a “Twins” channel, where anyone who dresses the same that day takes a picture and sends it to the channel. Have fun with it to encourage employees to do the same. A messaging tool like this will evolve with your organization, turning into exactly what your employees want it to be.
  • Implement monthly peer reviews: Have employees review their co-workers each month with a regularly scheduled peer review. It can be as simple as: “Write one thing your co-worker did really well this month. Be Specific.” And “What is one area where your co-worker could improve next month? Be specific.” This encourages employees to praise one another, but also to work together more so they actually have something to say in their reviews.
  • Articulate shared values: Help employees connect over the work their doing by articulating and regularly reminding them of the values they share at work. Keep your mission statement ingrained in everything you do, from taking clients to managing company culture. Employees will feel united in this and therefore more connected with one another.

Boosting employee connections is a smart way to boost your bottom line. When employees are friends, they’re happier, more productive and more engaged with their work, all of which ultimately benefits your business. Use these simple ideas, or come up with new ones of your own, to help employees connect at work.

Photo Credit: parisihiltona Flickr via Compfight cc