­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­When managing a remote team, engaging each employee at your remote team meetings should be an imperative goal. The distance and sometimes infrequent communication with remote employees can be detrimental to your mission, but following the below tips will help you to stay connected.

Try these following three tips to engage and invigorate your remote team meetings:

1. Prepare an agenda for each meeting and ask team members to add their updates.

Preparing an agenda and distributing it before the meeting will allow team members to properly prepare and interact in each meeting. Asking that remote workers also add their updates to the agenda allows for clear communication between the manager and the employees.

This also offers the opportunity for team members to record any questions they need addressed during the meeting. This simple communication step will help your remote team meetings run smoothly and facilitate interactive communication.

2. Start each meeting with an icebreaker.

Regular remote team meetings will be crucial to the success of your team, and an icebreaker at each meeting can build your remote team members’ relationships. At FlexJobs, we begin writers’ meetings with an icebreaker question. This is a question that’s totally unrelated to the content of the meeting and designed to bond the team. Past questions have included, “What’s your favorite movie?” or, “What’s your favorite book and why?” The questions are seemingly benign, but if you allow the necessary time, the discussion will flourish and allow team members to identify commonalities and feel bonded.

The critical key here is to allow the time for discussion. Allow about five minutes per team member so the conversation can grow. Another idea is to schedule monthly mini-meetings for a smaller group of team members to gather for “water cooler” chit chat. The more personalized meetings will allow team members to form tight bonds.

3. Use videoconferencing and remote connection tools.

There are several interactive tools that can be used to connect with remote team members. Two examples include JoinMe and GoToMeeting*. These services allow numerous people to join a meeting remotely. By connecting via the internet and calling in, remote team members can listen and participate in a meeting as well as view visual aids.

Another useful tool for team connection is Yammer. Yammer is a team collaboration tool where remote team members can post photos, personal updates, or team-related updates or questions. This tool is used at FlexJobs to connect teams and colleagues. FlexJobs also uses Yammer to post in the “All Company” tab any family photos or good wishes they want to share with one another. Another page called “Pet Corner” allows team members to share pictures and fun stories about their pets.

There are many ways to engage your staff during remote team meetings. Use these fundamental tips to get your crew on the right track! The more engaged your team feels, the more productive they’ll be, and they’ll experience more job satisfaction.

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