Lydia Martin, an Indy Hall member, initially worked on-site before switching to a virtual membership. She gave a talk at the People at Work Summit 2016.
With a virtual memberships, Lydia stated that it is 99% using digital online tools to stay connected to the community. She still feels up to speed about what is happening. Additionally, she is still able to contribute online to discussions. It is gratifying that local members still know who she is. Even local members she never met in person can recognize her. They see her name and contributions online which is rewarding.
The number one downside to virtual memberships is a feeling of disconnection that is common. They often feel as though the main community is wherever the physical community is and remote members are not a part of it. Virtual coworkers often adopt a passive stance because of this. As a result, they do not actively contribute to the community online and tend to only read the conversations. Additionally, it is harder to strike up a conversation digitally. When you are not crossing paths, there is no in person excuse to start talking to someone. Many virtual coworkers are afraid of putting themselves out there in fear of being rejected from the community.
- Check-in with your remote members.
- Empower remote members to be just as active as local members.
- Remind them that they do not have a second-tier membership. They are welcome to actively contribute.
- Encourage your remote members to own something.
- Ownership of a topic helps other members associate that person with that topic.