slack, bot, employee engagement, appreciation, values,

Reintroduce Watercooler Talk to Remote Teams

Stas Kulesh
Stas Kulesh Follow
May 16, 2023 · 4 mins read
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​​Watercooler talk, or informal conversations that take place in the workplace, may seem trivial, but they are important for building relationships, boosting morale, and promoting creativity and collaboration among colleagues.

These casual conversations can lead to the sharing of ideas, brainstorming, problem-solving, and even provide an outlet for stress and social connection. In a remote work environment, intentionally creating opportunities for informal conversations can help to replicate the benefits of watercooler talk and enhance remote team dynamics.

What is the defining factor in remote employee engagement

The defining factor in remote employee engagement versus watercooler talk is the level of intentional effort and structure required to foster engagement in a remote work environment. Watercooler talk happens spontaneously and naturally in a physical workplace, while in a remote work environment, social interactions and communication need to be intentionally facilitated to ensure that remote employees feel connected, valued, and engaged.

This may involve implementing communication tools, scheduling virtual team-building activities, and creating opportunities for informal conversations to take place in a remote work setting. While the format may be different, the goal remains the same: to create a positive and supportive work environment that fosters engagement, collaboration, and productivity.

5 steps to foster remote employee engagement

To ensure that your remote team members feel connected, valued, and enthusiastic about their work, here are five tips to help you improve employee engagement:

  1. Keep communication flowing

Keeping communication flowing at the workplace is essential for building a positive and productive work environment. It helps to improve collaboration, clarity, problem-solving, morale, and innovation. Here are some examples of what you can do to involve you team in effective communication:

  • Use instant messaging and chat tools for quick and efficient communication
  • Utilize project management software to track progress and communicate updates
  • Set clear communication guidelines and expectations
  • Encourage open and honest communication, even about difficult topics
  • Provide opportunities for feedback and input from all team members
  • Foster a culture of listening and understanding.
  1. Show appreciation

Make it a habit to recognize your employees’ hard work and achievements. Showing appreciation for your employees’ hard work and achievements is crucial for building a positive and productive work culture. When employees feel recognized and valued, they are more motivated, engaged, and committed to their work. Besides saying “Thank you”, you might as well try to:

  • Organize virtual celebrations, shout-outs
  • Celebrate accomplishments and milestones
  • Schedule one-on-one feedback sessions.
  1. Support work-life balance

Working from home can blur the lines between work and personal life. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial for the well-being and productivity of employees. As a manager or employer, it’s essential to support your team members in achieving this balance. Here`re some key elements that may help:

  • Encourage breaks and time off
  • Set realistic work expectations and deadlines
  • Offer flexible work arrangements
  • Create a supportive and inclusive workplace culture
  • Promote wellness and self-care practices
  • Respect personal boundaries and off-work hours
  • Provide access to resources and support for mental health and wellness.
  1. Build a strong company culture

Building a strong company culture is important for the success of any organization, as it sets the tone for how employees interact with each other, with customers, and with the wider community. In a remote work environment, building a strong company culture can be challenging, but it is still possible. Here are some ways to build a strong company culture at the workplace that you might find useful:

  • Define and communicate core values and vision
  • Encourage open communication and transparency
  • Foster teamwork, collaboration, and mutual support
  • Recognize and celebrate diversity and inclusion
  • Provide opportunities for professional growth and development
  • Encourage innovation and creativity
  • Emphasize work-life balance and wellness.
  1. Provide growth opportunities

Providing growth opportunities is crucial for retaining top talent and ensuring that your team members feel valued and invested in their careers. Even in a remote work environment, there are many ways to offer training and development resources to your team members. Here’s some tips you might want to try:

  • Offer training and development programs
  • Provide mentorship and coaching opportunities
  • Encourage networking and collaboration with other professionals
  • Offer job shadowing and cross-functional training opportunities
  • Provide opportunities for employees to attend conferences and workshops
  • Provide access to resources and tools to support ongoing learning and development
  • Offer career advancement opportunities and paths.

Wrapping up

Remote work has become a common reality for many organizations, and building a strong connection with remote employees is crucial for engagement and productivity. Those five tips mentioned above, can help improve remote employee engagement.

However, it can be challenging to implement these strategies on your own, which is why we`ve created Karma, a recognition and feedback platform that can help you build a strong culture of appreciation and recognition. With Karma, you can easily recognize and celebrate your employees’ hard work, promote communication and collaboration, and support employee growth and development, all while working remotely. Try Karma today and see the positive impact it can have on your remote team.

Try out Karma for Slack with our demo and subscribe to your 30-day free trial:

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Stas Kulesh
Stas Kulesh
Written by Stas Kulesh
Karma bot founder. I blog, play fretless guitar, watch Peep Show and run a digital design/dev shop in Auckland, New Zealand. Parenting too.