5 Ways to Make Your Employees to be a Team. Even When They Work Remotely

by Sheila Marikar

”We encourage everyone to do team calls while walking-put on your tennis shoes and go outside when you need to be on the phone with co-workers, wherever you are. You’re going to be more productive. And a lot of our employees compete against one another in Fitbit challenges, so they get to fight for bragging rights. We’re salespeople–we’re highly competitive. That’s how we connect.”

Toni Jacaruso CEO, Jacaruso Enterprises (travel and hospitality)
No. 948 2017 INC. 5000 RANK
463.8% 3-year growth
$4.6M 2016 revenue

”We started a private Facebook group 10 years ago for people to feel the beat of what’s going on in all of our offices and for our remote co-workers–we have 154 worldwide–to feel connected. We see a lot of [funny] pictures, and Halloween is huge. We’re transitioning that Facebook group into an intranet.”

Tim Chi Co-founder and CEO, WeddingWire (consumer products and services)
No. 1,956 2017 INC. 5000 RANK
194.1% 3-year growth
$99.8M 2016 revenue

”Hire doers, people with a proven track record of getting things done. You don’t need to give them tasks; they know how to do the overall job. Pair new remote employees with a ‘work best friend’ or a work mentor, ideally someone outside of their department, and have the mentor check in with the new hires regularly. Figure out one or two times a year when you can gather new hires in person. Make sure that whatever physical setup they have at home reflects the culture of the company. Send them posters, T-shirts, any type of aesthetic swag that makes them feel more like a part of the organization.”

Julie Heneghan Founder and CEO, the Steely Group (human resources)
No. 166 2017 INC. 5000 RANK
2,494.2% 3-year growth
$6.2M 2016 revenue

”We schedule meetings longer than they need to be to recreate the informal discussion that you would have in the office. We’re OK having our meetings run 30 to 40 percent longer to foster closer relationships.”

Steve Yi Co-founder and CEO, MediaAlpha (software)
No. 1,858 2017 INC. 5000 RANK
206.9% 3-year growth
$116.5M 2016 revenue

”We’re a major GIF company. Even when you’re out on the road, you’re expected to send GIFs regularly to the entire company. They show up on our social channels. It’s for us to crack up with each other and get connected to other people’s personalities.”

Joshua Swanson CEO, GoToMyApartment (advertising and marketing)
No. 511 2017 INC. 5000 RANK
871.1% 3-year growth
$4.6M 2016 revenue