Simple Ways to Help Remote Employees Feel Connected
Sponsored 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:
BENEFITS FOR REMOTE EMPLOYEES:
- 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)
BENEFITS FOR BUSINESS:
- 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:
- 52% feel less connected with coworkers
- 24% feel lonely
- 85% want to feel closer to colleagues
- Only 32% feel engaged in their work
- 21% struggle to stay motivated
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
As 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.
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.