A lot of people on our team work remotely from France and UK. I've noticed that engineers with remote experience are able to embrace the team and be productive quite easily. It is absolutely possible for engineers outside of the office to join in our team spirit. However, this transition seems to be much more difficult for engineers who are working remotely for the first time.
I decided to create team-building experiences. Every three months, the whole team meets up in the same space for a week. In addition to bringing us together as a team, these meet-ups allow everyone to discuss, exchange and share much more efficiently. Productivity nearly doubles when we all get together in person. Taking the time to come together a few times a year has had a huge impact on our team.
The engineers truly enjoy getting know each other in person. They also seem to collaborate better once they physically meet. This was a surprise for me because I assumed some of them highly preferred working remotely. Instead, once we'd held our first team-building week, many team members requested we continue the practice in the future!