The workplace is changing – accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new work environment is slowly shifting away from the traditional sales floor, cubicles, and workshops, where you rub elbows with your boss and coworkers every day, to your own home, or a completely separate country. For those of you who don’t already know, these workers are called “satellite employees”, and they’re on the rise.
Satellite employees (or, off-site employees) are of any particular company, but are located elsewhere; be that their very own home, another city, state, or even another country. These types of employees are also known as telecommuters or remote workers.
If you are an employer that has off-site employees, you need to think about ways to keep them included in your company culture. Satellite employees, because they most likely work from home and are away from “your eye”, may have a more difficult time with motivation or productivity. Now, this isn’t true for all, but it’s never a bad idea to change up the way your company may be working to better suit these employees.
You want a more cohesive, better productive, happier workplace don’t you? These quick, simple steps can help your company achieve just that.
Open the Gates to Communication
Most companies have after-work barbeques or drinks that employees can attend to get to know one another (am I stressing the importance of team bonding enough?) But like your company, it can be a little hard to plan a small party after work when you have multiple employees in different cities.
Here are some easy fixes you can do to help strengthen your team, and to help them feel more connected:
- Create a blog for your employees—and yourself—to openly converse on. Encourage open chat and fun breaks with the blog.
- Create a newsletter to email to your employees about the new and fun updates with your company.
- Have a company chat room where employees find and engage with each other.
These are great ways to help your employees feel connected, and you can use the newsletters to recognize specific employees for their hard work and dedication.
Create the Environment
When you surround yourself with the correct working environment, you’ll end up being more focused and on-task. You can help to do this for your telecommuter by equipping them with standardized office supplies that help to create a professional workspace. This can help them keep a clear and focused mind while they’re working, compartmentalize properly, and avoid distraction.
Some great ideas to include are: corporate clothing, pens and supplies, or mugs. By surrounding your employee with your brand’s merchandise, you aren’t just helping them to compartmentalize and set apart a space, you are reminding them to take pride in their work, and to keep striving for the next step.
Not only does involving your off-site employee with merchandise help them stay focused, but it also helps your employees all connect on shared purpose or vision. The number one problem with satellite companies that involve multiple locations is keeping your employees as a team, and working together. By not having your employees in one unit, they lose the ability to get to know one another, which is a key component when coming up with solutions and new visions.
Keep your employees feeling connected with a common purpose and make sure they all have a clear statement of the company’s goal and mission statement. By keeping your team unified, even when they’re not all under one roof, you’ll have a strong support system for your company.
Stressing the importance of team bonding and acknowledgement goes a long way in a company—especially a company that has several locations. Being open to new ideas that employees bring to the table is a key component in building up effective and efficient business practices. Let your employees know that you’re open to good new ideas and opinions.
Even when you tell your workers that your door is open, most employees won’t take advantage of that. It’s not that they don’t feel you should know what they think—they just don’t want to be the one to interrupt your day to tell you. You can counter this by knocking on their doors, or in this case, maybe making a Skype call, doing a Zoom meeting, or sending an email, and asking how their working environment is. By going to them, they’ll see just how serious you are about updating and creating a better company.
A good company never stops changing, and never stops listening. The little things matter a lot to your employees. By letting them know that you’re willing and eager to hear and implement new ideas, and reward them for coming up with them, they’ll have the motivation to drive your company’s success.