9 Ways to Create Belonging for Remote Employees

A sense of belonging, experts say, is a shared feeling that permeates through a company’s culture — that each employee is a part of a team with a common mission and backed by a strong support system. It’s easy to spot belonging in a workplace, according to Porschia Parker-Griffin, founder and CEO of Fly High Coaching: Just look for workers who collaborate together and feel valued.

Or, as leadership expert Magalie René explains, “belonging is smack in the middle of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It’s the foundation upon which self-esteem and purpose rest. In its absence, the workplace becomes a job of ‘get through the day’ instead of a chance to contribute ideas.”

But belonging is more than a feel-good opportunity for employees. It has a payoff for companies, too. “If people feel like they belong in their workplace, then that suggests their values and their goals align with the overall company ethos,” says Akhila Satish, CEO of Meseekna. “And that means they’re not only working to get a paycheck, but also to further your company’s goals.”

Employees who feel as if they belong within their companies help those businesses myriad ways: They contribute to a positive culture through enthusiasm for their jobs and the company; increase employee engagement and reduce company turnover; and increase productivity and revenue.

Employees that feel a sense of belonging also “work harder, and put in more time and effort to do their job,” says Parker-Griffin. On the flip side, “when people don’t experience a sense of belonging, they naturally do what’s expected — and not much more,” says René. “There’s also less incentive to connect on a personal level. The best companies are made up of individuals who feel personally connected to, and even in some way responsible, for the organization’s success.”

And a sense of belonging can be especially important for remote workers.

A real lack of in-person interaction can lead many remote workers to feel separated — in more than a literal sense — from their teams and workplaces, says Parker-Griffin. And “a sense of belonging is the difference between being a value-added team member” and not, René says.

For many out-of-office employees, “their managers won’t be around to monitor their work ethic as closely,” says Satish. They “need to be really passionate about the company in order for them to keep up their productivity and effort,” she says, and positively contribute to the organization.

That’s just one reason why “companies with remote workers should take extra steps to create a sense of comradery and team spirit,” says Parker-Griffin. If they do, their remote employees can “remain engaged with their colleagues and in their role,” and contribute positively to company.

Now that you know what a sense of belonging can do for your organization and how important it is for remote workers to feel it, here are nine ways to create belonging for remote employees.

1. Give remote workers plenty of opportunities to contribute.

Remote employees can feel disconnected from their teams and — when it comes to meetings — a few steps (or miles) away from the planning process. So, “managers should give their team members an opportunity to contribute to the agenda of team meetings ahead of time,” René says. By allowing remote workers to add to a meeting’s agenda, you single to them that they are key members of your team, she says. It can also “mitigate any discomfort people may have in sharing in a group setting and supports them in overcoming communications challenges,” René adds.

You can promote collaboration outside of meetings, too. For example, you can encourage your staff to spend time talking outside of official meetings to talk about projects, says Parker-Griffin. “This allows remote employees to engage with other team members more frequently,” she says.

2. Schedule routine meetings for “virtual” facetime.

Parker-Griffin suggests scheduling meetings with remote employees weekly, either by Zoom or phone. “Creating a regular group or one-on-one meeting with a remote employee can really help them feel included and supported at work,” she says. “The visual component of being on camera can increase connection, but if that isn’t possible, a phone call is another alternative.” If you have a small team, she also suggests taking the time for one-on-one meetings. These get-togethers can “enhance belonging by showing that you care enough to invest your time with them,” she says.

3. Start team meetings with networking opportunities.

To create a sense of belonging among your employees — especially for those logging in from a distance — René says it’s important to give your team a chance to network whenever they meet, even virtually. She recommends starting each meeting with a five to 10-minute fun networking opportunity, perhaps using prompts to spur conversation and connection. “The prompts can create opportunities for individuals at different levels and from different backgrounds to learn about one another and connect,” she explains. And for remote workers, “this is an ideal way to create or replace the water cooler moments that are becoming less common with virtual work.”

4. Be transparent in how and why your company makes its decisions. 

Big company decisions such as bringing on a new team member or client — or letting employees go — can “sometimes make more of an impact on your employees than you realize, especially when they’re not in the office with you watching your decision-making process,” says Satish. Being transparent about why things are happening, however, can have the opposite effect: It can make remote employees feel like they’re an integral part of the team. So, “make sure to always make your team feel like they understand why you made a decision,” says Satish, “and make yourself accessible for questions or feedback. And when in doubt, be overly-communicative.”

5. Conduct regular “temperature checks” with remote workers.

When communicating with remote workers, consider asking your them, “How are you feeling?” instead of “jumping directly into an update on deliverables,” says René. But taking a moment to ask employees about their emotional health, they will likely feel a sense of belonging. “People experience belonging when they are heard,” she explains. “You don’t need to have a solution or response. The question alone offers an opportunity for a team member to share,” and it’s that opportunity that makes people feel cared for. Plus, “vulnerability creates connection,” she says. “Virtual work requires more effort to build a strong working relationship. This is a great way to cultivate it.”

6. Recognize your remote employees’ efforts.

Parker-Griffin recommends that companies “prioritize recognition of your teams.” Here’s how: “When you see something positive happening, take a moment to send an email to your group and highlight the remote team members who are doing a good job,” she says. “This gives them visibility among others who they don’t see and can go a long way in helping them feel that they belong.” If you want to take things a step further, you can share your appreciation in other ways, she says, such as sending remote workers gift cards or company-branded promotional materials such as a notebook or pens to “give them a physical representation of your acknowledgement.”

7. Make your expectations of remote workers clear — and practice what you preach.

“It’s especially important with remote workers to make sure you’re making your expectations abundantly clear and following them yourself,” says Satish. Why? Because if you’re “telling your employees to do one thing but dropping the ball yourself, you’re going to start making those employees believe that your beliefs actually don’t line up with your behaviors,” she says, and that can lead to them feeling disconnected from your teams a whole. “For example, if you’re always telling them to be online at 9 a.m. but you don’t respond to emails until 10, then you might be sending them the wrong message,” she says. “That could lead to resentment from your team in the long run, so make sure your asks are standards you’ll be able to uphold yourself.”

8. Host virtual happy hours to foster connection.

Every once in a while, ask your team to join a virtual happy hour on Zoom or another online platform, suggests Parker-Griffin. “As a leader, you can set the parameters,” she says, but a nice idea is shipping your team snacks and drinks to enjoy during their time together. “A gathering like this facilitates discussion about topics other than work, and builds relationships,” she says.

9. Take time to recognize things that may be affecting your workers.

René recommends that you “take an intersectional approach to leadership by acknowledging any particularly traumatic public events occurring that affect the marginalized members of your team.” Here’s how: mention the event, then say, “Please let me know how I or human resources can be of support,” she says. If this feels a tad too personal, René urges you to reconsider: “Ignoring traumatic public events is the quickest way to make someone feel invisible,” she warns. “This is especially true when working with members of the BIPOC community.”

She adds that “compassionate leaders make those around them feel seen. People who experience being seen are more likely to feel they belong.” Plus, “remote workers are often navigating the personal and professional simultaneously, particularly when working from home,” she says. 

COVID Job Seeker Resources Banner

10 Companies Hiring For Remote Roles

COVID-19 has changed the future of work. Many companies are now hiring for remote positions. Looking for a new remote job? Companies need you more than ever before. Check out all the companies hiring right now. Apply today!

Atlassian
Industry:Computer Hardware & Software
Where Hiring:Remote
Open Roles:Business Systems Analyst Intern, 2021 Summer U.S. (Remote), Engineering Manager, Trello (Remote – U.S.), Product Marketing Manager, GTM, Senior Backend Engineer, Trello (Remote – U.S.), Software Engineer, Lead Product Designer – Buyer Experience (Remote), Data Scientist, Business Analyst & more.

Browse Open Jobs

Lionrock Recovery
Industry:Healthcare Services & Hospitals
Where Hiring:Remote
Open Roles:SUD Therapist – Telehealth, Production Specialist for CommUnity Meetings, SUD Counselor – Telehealth, Part-Time, Consultant Medical Director & more.

Browse Open Jobs

PubNub *Hiring Surge*
Industry:Internet
Where Hiring:Remote
Open Roles:Senior Site Reliability Engineer (US Remote), Software Engineer, Core PubSub, Senior Software Engineer, SDK Engineer, Senior Full Stack Engineer, Sales Development Representative & more.

Browse Open Jobs

GitLab
Industry:Enterprise Software & Network Solutions
Where Hiring:Remote
Open Roles:Area Sales Manager – US West (Enterprise), Channel Sales Manager (East, USA), Manager, Sales Strategy, Remote – USA, Area Sales Manager, Mid-Market Americas (Georgia, Carolinas, New York, NJ), Strategic Account Leader (Bay Area), Professional Services Technical Instructor & more.

Browse Open Jobs

Harness *Hiring Surge*
Industry:Computer Hardware & Software
Where Hiring:Remote
Open Roles:Customer Success Engineer – Remote, Enterprise Sales Manager – Southwest, Enterprise Sales Manager – NY/NJ, Enterprise Sales Manager – Federal, Enterprise Sales Manager – SoCal, Enterprise Sales Manager – DACH & more.

Browse Open Jobs

3M *Hiring Surge*
Industry:Manufacturing
Where Hiring:Remote
Open Roles:Production Operator, Plant Engineering Intern, Manufacturing Coordinator*, Sr. Quality Engineer*, Control Systems Engineer, Product Responsibility Liaison*, Strategy & Marketing Development Intern for Summer 2021 & more.

Browse Open Jobs

8×8
Industry:Enterprise Software & Network Solutions
Where Hiring:Remote
Open Roles:Director, Corporate Development, Senior Project Manager, Solution Delivery Remote, US East Coast, Salesforce Lead Developer – Remote US,Salesforce Lead Developer – Remote US, Sr. Manager , Revenue US Remote, Network Security Architect US Remote & more.

Browse Open Jobs

Calix *Hiring Surge*
Industry:Enterprise Software & Network Solutions
Where Hiring:Remote
Open Roles:Senior Software Engineer, Cloud DevOps Engineer, Software Application Developer, Sales Engineer, Customer Success Manager, Director / AVP, Product Management & more.

Browse Open Jobs

Rehmann
Industry:Consulting
Where Hiring:Remote
Open Roles:Government Solutions – Senior Associate, Accountant, Audit & Assurance – Manager, Clerical Support (Psychiatric Clerical Support – Client Opening), Case Manager – Client Opening, Chief Safety Officer (Client Opening) & more.

Browse Open Jobs

McKinsey & Company
Industry:Consulting
Where Hiring:Remote
Open Roles:Associate – Capital Excellence,Cloud Native Senior Software Engineer – Technology & Digital, Data Engineer – QuantumBlack, Intern – Data Science, Marketing Analytics (10 weeks), Data Engineer – RADAR Team, Senior Data Analyst – Social, Healthcare & Public Entities, Senior Software Engineer – ClienTech & more.

Browse Open Jobs

COVID Job Seeker Resources Banner

20 Top Companies Offering Remote Positions Now

While hiring may be slowing in some sectors due to COVID-19, many companies are eager to add hundreds or thousands to their ranks today. Now is the time to apply for a remote job. Here are the top 20 companies hiring for remote work! Apply today. 

Humana *Hiring Surge*
Industry: Insurance Carriers
Where Hiring: Remote
Open Roles: Security Advocate & Community Leader, Penetration Tester, Senior Project Manager, Senior Data Scientist, Principal Software Engineer, Principal Data Scientist & more.

Browse Open Jobs

Discover *Hiring Surge*
Industry: Financial Transaction Processing
Where Hiring: Remote
Open Roles: Lead Cloud Engineer, Lead Data Modeler, Lead Business Data Analyst, Lead Software Engineer – Full Stack, Senior Manager, Streaming Data Engineering, Principal Data Governance Consultant & more.

Browse Open Jobs

Argo Group *Hiring Surge*
Industry: Insurance Carriers
Where Hiring: Remote
Open Roles: Environmental Underwriter I, Underwriting Assistant, Construction Defect Claims Adjuster, Sr. Underwriter – Property, Assistant Vice President of Environmental, Senior Environmental Underwriter & more.

Browse Open Jobs

Varsity Tutors
Industry: Internet
Where Hiring: Remote
Open Roles: Test Prep Tutor, Algebra 1 Tutor, Marketing Tutor, Calculus 1 Tutor, Biochemistry Tutor, Social Studies Tutor & more.

Browse Open Jobs

Cyracom International
Industry: Telecommunications Services
Where Hiring: Remote
Open Roles: Hindko Independent Contractor Interpreter, Catalan Independent Contractor Interpreter, Palauan Independent Contractor Interpreter, Italian Independent Contractor Interpreter  & more.

Browse Open Jobs

ACADIA Pharmaceuticals
Industry:Biotech & Pharmaceuticals
Where Hiring: Remote
Open Roles: Director Product Communications Lead, Neuroscience Sales Specialist – Minneapolis SE, MN, Neuroscience Sales Specialist – Milwaukee N, WI, Neuroscience Sales Specialist – Poughkeepsie, NY, Sr. Manager, Patient Support Services & more.

Browse Open Jobs

Collage.com
Industry: Internet
Where Hiring: Remote
Open Roles: Lead Software Engineer, Senior Product Designer, Software Engineering Manager, Senior Full-stack Software Engineer, Senior Technical Product Manager& more.

Browse Open Jobs

Twilio *Hiring Surge*
Industry: Internet
Where Hiring: Remote
Open Roles: Site Reliability Engineer, Risk Analyst, Billing Operations Analyst, Platform Engineer, Software Engineer II, ServiceNow Administrator, Strategic Sourcing Manager- Hardware & more.

Browse Open Jobs

Twitter
Industry: Internet
Where Hiring: Remote
Open Roles: Senior Software Engineer – Ads Attribution, Machine Learning Engineer – Recommendations Platform, Salesforce Engineer, Senior Director, Global Accessibility, Senior Software Engineer – Python Engineer, Engineering Manager, Site Reliability Engineering – Databases & more.

Browse Open Jobs

PRA Health Sciences *Hiring Surge*
Industry:Biotech & Pharmaceuticals
Where Hiring: Remote
Open Roles: Project Manager, Proposal Manager, Principal Biostatistician, Country Lead Monitor (Oncology) Remote, Regulatory Labeling Specialist – San Rafael, CA or Home Based, Project Manager – Clinical Trials & more.

Browse Open Jobs

Appen *Hiring Surge*
Industry: Consulting
Where Hiring: Remote
Open Roles: Social Media Evaluator, Data Collection, Arabic (Gulf) Linguist/Phonetician, Web Search Evaluator, Work from Home-Project Aniva, Work from Home-Project Packwood & more.

Browse Open Jobs

CrowdStrike *Hiring Surge*
Industry: Enterprise Software & Network Solutions
Where Hiring: Remote
Open Roles: Field Sales Operations Analyst, Sr. Software Engineer, Data Analytics Engineer – TechOps, Systems Engineer – Production, Sr. Technical Editor, Intelligence Analyst, Engineering Program Manager – Ontology, Sr. Software Engineer- Linux Sensor & more.

Browse Open Jobs

Zoom Video Communications *Hiring Surge*
Industry: IT Services
Where Hiring: Remote
Open Roles: System Administrator, Enterprise Account Executive, Enterprise Account Executive, Channel Solution Engineer, Escalation Engineer, Network Engineer & more.

Browse Open Jobs

McKesson *Hiring Surge*
Industry: Health Care Services & Hospitals
Where Hiring: Remote
Open Roles: Program Manager, Senior Site Reliability Engineer, VP, Life Sciences Partnerships, Senior Director, Precision Medicine, Sr. Clinical Data Analyst, Biostatistician & more.

Browse Open Jobs

Vitamin T
Industry: Advertising & Marketing
Where Hiring: Remote
Open Roles: Proofreader, Content Creator, Program Manager, Social Media Manager, Editor, Project Manager, Graphic Designer, Recruiting Coordinator, Web Developer & more.

Browse Open Jobs

General Dynamics Information Technology
Industry: IT Services
Where Hiring: Remote
Open Roles: Data Entry Clerk, Program Manager, Senior Project Manager, Database Administrator, Senior Systems Engineer, Systems Engineer, Java Software Developer, Senior Administrator & more.

Browse Open Jobs

First National Bank of Omaha
Industry: Investment Banking & Asset Management
Where Hiring: Remote
Open Roles: Microsoft Azure Solution Specialist For FNTS Customer Acquisition, CRA Program Lead, IBM Technology Managed Services Sales Representative, Sr. Associate, Digital Analytics Implementation Specialist & more.

Browse Open Jobs

Home Point Financial
Industry: Lending
Where Hiring: Remote
Open Roles: Underwriter Support Specialist, Senior Processor, Disclosure Analyst, Conditions Coordinator, Project Manager, Warehouse Funder, Underwriting Team Lead, PCCD Analyst & more.

Browse Open Jobs

LanguageLine Solutions
Industry: Telecommunications Services
Where Hiring: Remote
Open Roles: Rohingya Interpreter, Kayah Interpreter, Pulaar Interpreter, Implementation Specialist, Chin Matu Interpreter, Cree Interpreter, Slovene Interpreter, Hawaiian Interpreter & more.

Browse Open Jobs

Kaplan
Industry: Education Training Services
Where Hiring: Remote
Open Roles: Live Online Content Teaching Assistant, Web Developer, Pediatric Case Writer, Executive Director of Patient Simulation, Online Classroom Moderator, Regulated (Part-time), Senior Marketing Manager, Product Marketing, Bar Head Representative – Irvine & more.

Browse Open Jobs

 
COVID Job Seeker Resources Banner

3 Ways To Become Friends With Your Coworkers While Working Remotely

Research has shown that when employees have friends at work, they are better performers, more engaged, and happier with their jobs. However, thanks in large part to technology, how we relate to our coworkers is changing due to COVID-19.

Working from home can be difficult. Even with a calendar filled to the brim with Zoom meetings and endless Slack chats, working from home can be isolating. It is particularly true if you start a new job remotely or transition into a new position where you are now interacting with a different group of people. The issue with making work friends and developing personalized relationships remotely is that you don’t have many organic and random interactions with people that allow you to engage in conversations that reveal common interests leading into a stronger bond. When working remotely, most of the engagement you now have with people at work is scheduled. To make friends, it’s essential to be open enough with colleagues to share some of your interests outside of the workplace. 

Additionally, you can intersperse your interests virtually through your Zoom background or through your Slack profile. If you’re having remote meetings with your home in the background, set up a few things that are visible markers of what is important to you, whether it is books, sports teams, musical instruments, or artwork. Those pieces of personal information can give people ways to connect with you organically and creates opportunities for more in-depth conversations that don’t have to do with work assignments and projects. Displaying your non-work self will make you come off more approachable and friendly. 

Here are some of our tips for building deeper connections with your work colleagues remotely. 

Reach out several colleagues to connect virtually. 

Catch up with your colleagues you haven’t spoken to in a while, by scheduling some time on their calendar for a virtual coffee or lunch date, or ask for an update through Slack. See how they’re doing with their workload, how their weekend was, or share an article or video they may enjoy to spark a conversation. 

Partake in virtual after-hour activities. 

Gather with colleagues after work hours to get to know each other more on a personal level. Plan game nights and happy hours to not only participate in team-building but to also connect with your coworkers. 

Join an ERG. 

Typically organized around a shared, immutable identity, such as race, gender, age, or mental health, ERGs serve as a haven of belonging, offering a space for underrepresented employees and their allies to find one another. Consider joining your company’s ERG groups to foster community, collaboration, and connection. COVID Job Seeker Resources Banner