Remote work has become the norm in recent years, and businesses are still exploring the best ways to support and connect their teams from afar. While smaller or more localized companies are beginning to engage in more in-person events, global companies are still facing a familiar challenge: How do you keep a large, remote team connected?

It’s important for leadership teams to stay proactive to prevent any feelings of isolation or unhappiness among employees. Here are 8 ideas to help forge stronger connections in remote teams: 

1. Practice Frequent Employee Recognition

The best way to make your team feel connected is by loudly appreciating and recognizing their hard work. 81.9% of employees agree that recognition for their contributions improves their engagement. Employee recognition can take on many forms. Acknowledging a team’s or individual’s success with a shoutout on Slack opens up the floor for positive company-wide communication. You can also celebrate milestones or holidays with thoughtful, personalized gifts that help employees feel more seen by the organization. Launching a company store where employees can use credits to shop for cool merchandise or gadgets is another great tool for employee recognition. You can give out store credits to reward achievements or milestones and let employees know that their efforts are seen and appreciated.

Imprint Engine helps build employee recognition strategies and programs like this for enterprises around the world. Read more about our platform

2. Carry Out Individual Check-Ins

It’s crucial to check in with each member of your team individually and understand where they’re at emotionally. Some people may feel uncomfortable speaking up about their workload or personal lives in a group meeting setting, so sitting down one-on-one is an excellent opportunity to strengthen relationships and realign expectations. 

3. Create Care Packages for Employees to Use

Who doesn’t love getting surprises in the mail? When a team is scattered across the world working primarily in home offices, employees don’t expect any surprises on their desks when they get promoted or a welcome gift waiting for them on their first day. Just because work is remote, that doesn’t mean acts of kindness can’t be tangible! Sending out care packages is a great way to surprise and delight remote team members, ultimately making them feel more connected to and cared for by the company. 

Imprint Engine specializes in curating kits that celebrate achievements or enhance productivity. Read more about the art of kitting (AKA the hottest trend in promotional marketing). 

4. Establish Employee-Led Committee Groups

Employee-led committees create a space where employees can get involved, connect with one another, and improve connections with their employer. Committees offer a supportive environment where members can collect feedback, organize activities, and amplify the voices of their peers so that employees’ needs and concerns are heard and addressed by the leadership team. 

5. Hold Optional, Virtual Coffee Mornings

Socializing is a fundamental part of work, but with your team dispersed in home offices around the world, you have to make an intentional effort to establish social outlets. Video chatting is an incredible tool for remote teams to maintain face-to-face connections. Kick off Zoom happy hours or coffee chats with ice breakers and open ended questions that allow coworkers to share about themselves and engage in candid conversations. Promoting these virtual get-togethers as optional gives employees the freedom to participate on days when they’re craving social interactions or to skip the happy hour on days they’re busy or feeling antisocial. 

6. Encourage Connections Outside of Departments

Every member of your team has their own unique interests, hobbies, and day-to-day tasks. They might find they have something in common with a coworker they don’t typically interact with on a regular basis. Virtual social groups provide the opportunity to connect with people in different departments and discuss common interests or learn more about the company through a new lens. Integrations like Slack’s Donut randomly assign employees to meet with each other for 15 minutes bi-weekly. You can also form groups with a member from each department or with themes based on hobbies like cooking or animals.

7. Create a Meaningful Employee Gifting Strategy

Employee gifting is not just about giving presents. It’s an investment into the health and happiness of your team. Developing a long-term strategy instead of hastily putting together one-off gifts is the best way to ensure your investment is effective. Ultimately, people know when something is a ‘check-the-box’ effort and when it’s a genuine gesture of appreciation. Having a system in place makes it so that you’re not scrambling at the last minute to throw together a welcome gift, company merchandise, or an elaborate kit. Working with a partner who can provide creativity and ingenuity on the front end as well as quality production, global fulfillment and follow-through on the back end is the smoothest way to implement and maintain your strategy.

Imprint Engine’s IEX platform consolidates its gifting services, customer support, technology, and global infrastructure so that you can easily execute your gifting strategy without sacrificing an ounce of your imagination. 

8. Promote Flexibility

Working remotely comes with its own unique stressors. For example, employees may face more distractions or experience burnout due to their home being so intertwined with their workspace. When you live and sleep just steps away from where you work, it can lead to difficulty setting boundaries. It’s important for employers to promote flexibility and encourage remote workers to take time off if they need it. When your team is empowered to prioritize their mental health, it ultimately leads to stronger connections and engagement. 

Employee Connections Build Your Brand

Remote workers should never feel like they’re on their own island. Companies must create a remote environment where workers still feel valued. Through virtual touchpoints and thoughtful gestures of appreciation, employees can feel connected no matter where they are. These connections keep everyone aligned and inevitably result in a stronger, more cohesive brand.

Imprint Engine helps global enterprises strategically engage remote workers from all over the world through meaningful brand experiences. Get in touch today.