When it comes to morale, you have a distinct advantage with your onsite employees compared to your telecommuting employees.

Onsite workers spend time together. They have almost identical experiences in completing projects and staff meetings. They eat lunch together or have social activities after work.

This means they will probably find it easier to work together well.

But your telecommuting employees are isolated and often don’t feel they’re part of the team.

So, it’s important to develop and implement strategies for them to feel a strong connection with you and other onsite and offsite staff members.

In lieu of in-person communication, virtual team-building initiatives can help strengthen the bonding and connections.

These strategies will help:

1. Take virtual lunch breaks

You can choose from a myriad of video conferencing tools, such as Zoom, to take a virtual lunch break on a weekly or monthly basis.

Keep it light just like what your company’s average in-person lunch breaks. That means an informal chat about anything but work.

If your team members aren’t well-acquainted, you’ll probably have to coordinate the calls to break the ice.

Do you have a large staff? Consider asking the participating onsite employees in two or more rooms.

2. Have virtual team-building fun

Possible activities:

  • Have fun quizzes
  • Charades
  • Building or drawing contests
  • Gaming

Plan these activities once a week, month, quarter or any time you sense morale could be improved.

Certainly, schedule it as soon as possible after you onboard a new telecommuter.

3. Plan in-person meetings

Schedule times for your onsite and telecommuters to meet in-person.

Either schedule time at the office for a work-related discussion or just simply for a party or a team-building get-together.

Specific ideas might include attending a conference together or retreat that includes play and work.

4. Celebrate special holidays or events

Of course, your culture matters so keep it in mind at holiday time. If possible, try it online.

For instance, at Christmas, try a party with a “Santa exchange” of gifts or fun gag gifts. If you must, mail or email the gifts.

Birthdays are special so hold virtual birthday parties.

5. Use social media for fun contacts

If everyone is comfortable using social media, encourage the practice.

6. Hold team group chats

Yes, keep group chats work-related, but you can make them fun with an informal format as you discuss plans for special activities or holidays.

You can do it via video or text.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related HR tips:

Best Practices to Ace Your Low-Budget Online Video Conference — When a visual, live discussion is needed, video conferencing is more effective than telephone calls. They are a great strategy and provide savings in time and money for professionals separated by geography. In human resources, video conferencing is a great tool for job interviews and is seamlessly scalable but relatively easy to conduct even for training with learning labs and breakout sessions.

Planning Tips for Inspirational Business Retreats — How do you make sure you stage a retreat that’s inspirational? You need more than a meaningful purpose. You need thoughtful planning and consensus.

Tips for Productive Meetings to Improve Performance — Here’s a checklist to engage your employees in energetic, inspiring staff meetings that will increase profits.

For Best Performance, Inspire Employees with Non-Financial Rewards — Money talks, of course, and is a way to motivate employees. But money is not always the chief motivator. Here’s why plus the four categories of ideas to inspire your employees.

10 Best Practices for an Online Employee Handbook — Companies that don’t convert their employee handbooks into electronic documents are missing noteworthy opportunities in human resources. Conversely, businesses that switch to a digital format accomplish at least five HR goals.

Telecommuters love dressing for work. The choices are much easier.

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.