An increasing number of organizations, both small and large, are recognizing the umpteen benefits of having remote teams. Dramatically low overhead costs, freedom and flexibility to employees, access to a bigger talent pool are some of the many benefits of a virtual staff. However, it involves many unique challenges as well, the main being creating a sense of community amongst your remote team. We are essentially social beings and there's always a need to stay connected with our colleagues to have a sense of belongingness. A manager or an entrepreneur can make use of technology to stay connected with their remote staff. Today's technology indeed plays a great role in bringing a virtual team together even if its members are miles apart or are in different time zones.

Over the years, a substantial number of companies have preferred to hire employees in India and create their virtual team to efficiently handle their work.

Let us see what all can be done to create and maintain a sense of community amongst a remote team:

1. Make an effort to know your remote employees
Whether you are the owner or the manager, when you hire employees in India, you should set aside a specific time to know them well. Make it a point you talk about things other than work. Keep the conversation light and interesting by talking about hobbies or sharing any interesting anecdote. Such conversations strongly send this message to remote employees that their manager puts people first. This in turn creates a strong foundation that can help build a larger sense of community.

2. Make new recruits feel comfortable
Once you have hired new remote employees, make it a point to introduce them to the whole team in one go, most preferably through a video call. This helps in establishing the face and the name of a new employee in the minds of the current team. Discussing their profile with the team will ensure a comfortable and natural integration of the new joinee with the team. Transparency is paramount and open communication ensures the same.

3. Throw virtual parties
It is a great idea to host an annual virtual party during summer or other holidays. This would be a great opportunity to showcase the team's achievements while sharing fun stories simultaneously. Every member can have their own video time to show their face and share their views or anecdotes, reminding everyone that they are real, physical humans. You can go even a step further and send everyone a gift like a fruit/chocolate basket or a home/office gadget before the event.

4. Ensure employees talk to each other
Just as it is important for remote employees to stay connected with their manager, it is equally important for them to get to know one another on a separate, dedicated platform. Allot a special online channel (on Slack or any other media platform that you use) to share non-work-related talks, jokes, or comments.
This could be your perfect 'virtual' place for chitchat. Make sure your team knows that this non-work communication is encouraged completely. Sharing life's anecdotes, suggestions, advises or simply chatting is a very basic way in which humans get to know one another and create lasting bonds that reflect well in their work too.

5. Industry conferences
You could also take advantage of the several national and international conferences. Invite your employees to these (relevant) conferences so that they can learn, communicate, share, network, and have fun together.

Even if your budget is limited, you can still register your remote employees for virtual conferences and even organize post-workshop sessions reiterating how to apply the lessons learnt in their daily activities.

Human resource is a valuable asset, be it remote or local. So, consciously plan, take out time, and make use of technology to stay connected and bond with your virtual team to create a much-needed sense of belonging and team spirit.

Author's Bio: 

John Tie is working as a Digital Marketer and content strategist with Virtual Employee, virtual staffing company, offering affordable and scalable remote staffing solutions for mainly Small and Medium Businesses (SMEs) around the world in over 150 domains. He is a versatile tech writer and loves exploring latest technology trends, entrepreneur and startup column.