The pendulum has swung to where remote work is now being considered as a mainstream part of the employment model. Regardless of when this pandemic recedes, and people have the ability to come together again, many will decide to stay remote for at least some of their work week.
In some cases they may have moved to more distant locations, or they may just have made a lifestyle/business decision that they don’t need to be in the office regularly.
Regardless of the reasons, this is a critical time to ensure that you’re having open conversations with your team members to understand how they’re faring. Here are some questions to help guide you to build more substantive discussions.
1.      Show that you care
  • What more do you want to learn about our team/our company? Have you been surprised by any news announced at our ‘all hands’ meeting? What was it?
  • Do you feel included in our team decisions? Why/why not?
  • Do you feel the company supports remote staff effectively? How could we improve?
  • What challenges do you feel you have compared to those in the office?
  • Are there any tools that we should try out that could help us improve our remote culture?
  • Do you think our decision-making process works effectively while also supporting our remote culture?
2.      Clarify how you can help them
  • What’s your favorite part about working remote? (Understand what drives them)
  • What’s the highlight of your day? (Look for signs of loneliness, encourage socializing)
  • What’s most challenging for you in your daily work routine? (Help troubleshoot)
  • What do you do to recharge each day?
  • What’s your setup like for working?
  • What’s one thing we could get for you that would make your work easier or better?
  • Have you explored, or regularly attended, a co-working space? What are the benefits that make you go?
  • What helps you feel connected to others?
3.      Building bonds and connecting with the team
  • Which of your coworkers do you wish you had more of a connection with? How do you think that would help?
  • You visit the office X times a year. Do you feel like that’s too much, not enough, or just right?
  • How could I better support remote staff like you?
  • When you have a creative idea or epiphany, what do you do with it? (The kinds of things that would get openly discussed in an office could be missing for them)
  • Do you feel supported by the team so that you could go to anyone asking them for help? (In remote teams, this can be a problem. Ideally, you want everyone to feel like they can go to anyone and ask them about something)
  • Do you feel like you’re a full member of the team?
Empathy and communication are two key elements that will go a long way to ensuring that your people feel part of a team. Make the effort and I feel confident you’ll see the results!