Keeping connected in a remote first business

Blog· 6min September 30, 2022

Clearly, remote work is here to stay! Not only is it good for business as it allows companies to hire employees in more locations and get access to bigger talent pools, but it’s also the top thing employees are looking for when seeking out new job opportunities. For me, working from home means that I don’t waste time travelling, and I enjoy using my free time  for my hobbies, which I probably wouldn’t have been able to do, had I commuted to an office 5 days a week.

However, remote work still has its challenges. It can take longer to form relationships with colleagues you’ve never met in person, and it can be difficult to uphold regular and consistent communication in the same way that you would with an office-based team. This can lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation and generally a lack of engagement with a business. Yet strong work relationships and great communication are essential to any individual, team or company doing well.

At Form3 we take a proactive approach to staying connected and take deliberate actions to build and maintain relationships. Here are a few things we do to ensure remote work works.

Our social calendar

Our social calendar is a new feature at Form3 and helps to ensure that there are enough opportunities for employees to spend time with colleagues socially, build relationships and gain new experiences. Our social calendar isn’t all about in person drinking, golf days and litter clean ups; it’s actually all virtual! We enjoy being able to contribute to our ESG strategy with engagement events and activities. These range from Form3 organised sign language lessons on International Braille Day to a sporting challenge that allows employees to amass kilometres which can be exchanged for the planting of trees, all the way to a virtual quiz night to celebrate the holiday season. It’s with these events that we’re able to involve as many or as few colleagues as would like to participate. Of course, all of these involve the opportunity to come into the office if you happen to live nearby, or even stay online after and enjoy an extended video chat.

Employee organised events

Form3 employees can organise events at their leisure which gives everyone the opportunity to organise events that they and others are passionate about. I really like having this option as it allows a group of people to discuss a shared interest, and then set up an event like a chess night or golf day, all without needing the company to organise it on our behalf.

Special interest groups

Something I enjoy about Form3 is our special interest groups which allow employees to connect via Slack on subjects they feel passionately about. These special interest groups provide a safe space for new joiners and tenured employees alike to discuss their subjects of interest, from gaming to music to coffee advice and DIY. These groups also replace the casual office chit-chat that would ordinarily happen in the office, but instead, are brought to life via Slack. One of our company values is “everyone matters” and that really feels true at Form3. Whoever you are, wherever you’re from, and whatever you enjoy, there’s a home for you at Form3 and this comes out through our special interest groups.

Monday meetings

We welcome all new joiners in the Monday meeting which typically occurs on their first day. New members of the team are encouraged to share a little bit about themselves; where they are from, their career background, hobbies, interests, etc. We take the time to do this as it is important to help new joiners as quickly as possible. In my experience, I spoke for my love of music and sport, and I was invited to special interest groups and having meaningful conversations within moments. Any feelings of isolation and uncertainty as a new starter at a remote first company were quickly pushed aside.

This is how we try to stay connected at Form3, but we expect that we’ll build on this more over time. If you work for a company that is doing great things to keep employees connected, please do share these with us – we'd love more inspiration!

Written by

Christopher Blain-Malloy Systems Engineer