Remote workers can stay in the picture

Woman's hands keyboarding on net-book while sitting in cafe

People working remotely are sometimes out of sight, out of mind.  This works both ways.  Those in the office can forget about their remote colleagues and so leave them out of key discussions and decision making.  Those who are working remotely can feel isolated and disconnected from the team.  In the office interaction is easy and so there are frequent micro-interactions: you can ask your neighbor a quick question or pass on a comment in a very natural way.  Communicating remotely with someone could involve ringing or emailing them without knowing if they will answer right away – potentially wasting your time or getting a response too late to be useful.

Technology can help to overcome these issues.  Video chat rooms are very powerful for interacting at a distance, although they need to be arranged.  Things like status indicators can help show when people are present and available.  The most accurate form of status indicator is a recent photo.  Nowbridge exchanges small still images between contacts every few seconds to convey the illusion of being together.  Remote workers have to compromise a degree of their privacy just as they do when they are in the office but they gain a visual connection to those they work closely with that can overcome the distance between them.