How to grow connections with your remote staff

- November 7, 2023 3 MIN READ


The holiday season is here, and in today’s remote working world, maintaining a connection with your staff during Christmas has become more vital than ever, explains Matt Holme founder of YouPay.

In a July Forbes Advisor article, it was reported that 53 per cent of remote workers find it increasingly challenging to feel connected to their coworkers, while 37 per cent feel that remote work neither significantly helps or hinders their connection with colleagues.

The statistics highlight the importance of devising effective strategies to foster team connectivity, particularly around the festive season.

However, the holiday season can be a challenging time to keep remote employees engaged, given the separation from their colleagues. This can lead to added stress, affecting their mental wellbeing.

As a business leader, it’s essential to provide opportunities for connection and support to alleviate this stress and improve morale.

Social Connections drive productivity

A 2020 survey in the US of 12,000 employees demonstrated that 63 per cent of respondents who felt connected to other team members, maintained or improved their productivity on collaborative tasks, compared to 20 per cent of those not feeling connected. This underlines the significance of social connectivity in driving collaborative productivity, which is crucial for businesses aiming to enhance communication, increase efficiency, accelerate skills acquisition, and stimulate innovation.

Additionally, a 2020 Gartner survey revealed nearly one-third (30 per cent ) of CEOs and business leaders had expressed their primary concern about maintaining corporate culture. To address this concern, 61 per cent of these leaders had implemented more frequent check-ins between employees and managers.

Preserving social connections between remote employees is effective for productivity and the business. So Christmas is the perfect time to implement innovative ways to promote connection and happiness.

Connectivity at Christmas

While face-to-face interactions would obviously be unequalled in fostering connections among remote teams, the physical distances that remote team members must traverse often make organising such events challenging. To overcome this hurdle, perhaps hosting multiple events in different locations to maximise participation could work for the business. These initial gatherings can serve as introductions, laying the foundation for future informal meetups as team members become better acquainted and start organising their own catch-ups.

Outside of that, Christmas is an excellent opportunity for business leaders to connect with their staff, especially in remote-first companies.

With remote work now an integral part of the majority of businesses, ensuring your staff continues to feel valued and connected with their company and teammates is paramount. While many office environment traditions have changed as we’ve shifted to remote work, some traditions remain true. Creating a relaxed, connected, and inclusive environment for your workforce is vital during the festive season.

For me, as a business leader, it’s about striking the right balance between embracing the traditions of Christmas while also ensuring some outdated aspects of office culture are replaced with a more modern approach.

Enabling your staff to engage in a meaningful online Secret Santa experience can be a powerful way to promote connection and inclusivity among remote teams during the holiday season.

Companies could facilitate by encouraging participants to create wishlists within price limits, and using an online system that randomly assigns the gift givers to the recipients, mirroring the traditional Secret Santa experience.

The best part of such an initiative is that it’s fully remote, ensuring everyone can participate, regardless of their location, and avoiding any potential awkwardness caused by unexpected or inappropriate gifts. It gives employers the opportunity to reinforce the value of connectedness, while maintaining the joy of surprise for their teams.

It’s a small gesture that can make a significant difference in fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose among your remote staff. In a time when remote work is the norm, nurturing connections among your team during the holiday season is beneficial for everyone. Teams don’t have to be in the same room to create memorable experiences that connect them.

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