Job satisfaction and productivity often go hand-in-hand, and not just for workers at regular offices. Remote teams also achieve better results when members feel valued and connected. While distance may present more of a challenge, plenty of strategies exist for forming the type of happy remote team culture that makes telecommuters glad to be associated with the company.

Consider these five ways to create a happy remote team:

1. Welcome New Hires

A positive experience from the get-go builds excitement about being part of the team. Managers should make sure new remote employees have the proper equipment and instructions to dive into their new role. They also should consider assigning a “buddy” to every newcomer to answer questions and promote socialization.

The entire staff can make a thoughtful gesture by sending individual emails before the first day on the job. A brief description of who you are and what you do, an interesting tidbit or two about family or interests, and a supportive message sets the stage for building connections.

2. Communicate Regularly

Whether you’ve been on the job for a week or a decade, telecommuting at times can feel lonely. Combat isolation with varied, consistent communication. Brainstorm as a group on a conference call. Video chat with a colleague you haven’t heard from in ages. Set up a social platform to mimic water-cooler chat or share pet pictures. Interaction bridges the miles.

3. Discuss Purpose

In a similar vein, managers can promote better feelings about the company by detailing how individual efforts contribute to overall success. Workers are bound to feel happier when they know their efforts have meaning and that others depend on them.

4. Recognize Achievements

Why should recognizing employee achievements be limited to on-site workers? Every worker appreciates kind words for a job well done, so create a culture that encourages them. Drop a personal note to a co-worker who has done something exceptional. Create a “thank you” channel on Slack.

Or try this idea from Dr. Bob Nelson, author of Recognizing & Engaging Employees for Dummies:

“Consider a ‘praise barrage.’ Sequentially focus on each person on the team on a conference call and ask others to say what they like most about working with that person. This might only take 10 minutes, but the feedback (and feeling) it provides each person will encourage them to do more of those things others on the team value, make them appreciative of being on the team, and more tightly bind them together.”

5. Have Some Fun

Finally, never underestimate the power of novelty on morale. A telecommuter instantly has a better day when discovering a company-sent care package in her mailbox. And a hard-working remote staff that gets to spend an afternoon playing online video games against one another after meeting a deadline feels even more celebratory about a job well done.

Take creation of feel-good vibes even further by getting everyone involved. When off-site workers are encouraged to think about ways they’d like to bond, mark an occasion, or simply make everyday life a little nicer, chances are the opportunity for expression itself will promote happiness.

Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com

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