Remote staff benefit fr om the flexibility and self-direction they have in their jobs; but they can also be at a distinct disadvantage if they feel disconnected.
It's important to make sure that your remote workers are not only equipped, but engaged and aware, fully part of the team.
1. Hold regular team meetings with all staff.
A regular meeting offers all the staff, both on-location and remote, a chance to stay connected with each other and with the team leader. If you want your team to work together well, this is not an optional exercise. Use the time to review goals, explain areas of focus, set agendas and timelines, get input and reports, and discuss any issues or ideas.
Choose a regular time: weekly, bimonthly, or monthly could work. Set it as a recurring event so that everyone can put it on their calendars.
Limit the meeting time: there's nothing wrong with a bit of socializing (in fact, that's kind of the point) but if you let the meeting eat up more than 60 - 90 minutes, people will start to resent the loss of valuable work time. Respect everyone's time by setting a clear starting and ending point, and sticking to them.
2. Set up virtual break rooms and command centers.
What remote staff tend to miss out on are the "unofficial" interactions that take place, daily, in an office environment. Help them find a meaningful way to interact by setting up a virtual “break room,” such as an instant message service used by all team members.