Staying connected with colleagues and team members is harder in a remote working scenario. While you might be able to have casual chats, arrange informal social events and organize meetings on the fly when sharing the same office space, there are more obstacles to navigate when everyone is holed up at home, huddled over their laptops.
With all that in mind, it makes sense to be proactive about building connections with your employees and coworkers, to strengthen existing relationships and establish new ones effectively. To help you achieve this, here are a few ideas that should overhaul your approach to working and interacting remotely.
Embrace Virtual Team Building With Accessible Activities
You are probably already spending much of your working day taking advantage of conferencing and collaboration tools to steward ongoing projects and touch base with employees, but it is also important to harness these solutions specifically for the purpose of team building.
The challenge in this context is to pick team building activities which are suited to be conducted while participants are in different geographic locations. Obviously, you cannot do trust falls and outdoor excursions at the moment, so you need to encourage team bonding in an accessible way.
Whether you go about this by playing scavenger hunt with your employees, hosting quizzes that are tailored to the interests of attendees or even get involved with a virtual escape room event, there are lots of tailor-made team-building experiences that will keep colleagues closer during this difficult time.
Have One-On-One Catch-Ups
Hosting virtual get-togethers with employees as a large group is definitely sensible, but there are pressures and expectations that come with this that can leave some people feeling more isolated. Videoconferencing allows those with the biggest personalities to dominate proceedings, and because only one participant can realistically contribute at a given moment, it is necessary for managers and business owners to set aside time for one-on-one catch-ups on a regular basis.
Such meetings will let you get to grips with the progress that individual employees are making, as well as giving you an understanding of the challenges they are facing and any feedback or concerns they want to raise.
It is important to be open to hearing what others have to say about the state of play, and smaller-scale meetings can be the best way to do this while continuing to build on your relationships in a way that will boost morale as opposed to allowing it to stagnate or shrink.
Delegate Responsibilities To Keep Things Fresh
You might feel that it is your duty to be the one who bears the lion’s share of the burden for keeping geographically dispersed teams connected while working remotely. However, this can be problematic for two reasons; first, because it will be another stress for you to cope with, and second because others may feel left out from having their say on how virtual events and activities are organized and executed.
This is where delegating can be a useful approach to adopt, as offloading the process of picking what paths you take and who is involved in what aspects of setting up online events will allow employees to feel involved and invested.
Opening this up even further and allowing all participants to vote on what you do as a group in the future can bring a level of democracy to proceedings which everyone will appreciate. So resist the temptation to micromanage and you should allow entire teams to remain connected and engaged.
Finally, it is worth remembering that different personality types will respond in their own unique ways to the challenges of remote working, so while some employees will crave a more intense and involved approach to communication and virtual socializing, others will bristle at the thought of having to hang out with their colleagues for online events outside of office hours week on, a week off.
It is all about being flexible and striking a balance that encompasses as many viewpoints as possible, rather than taking a more draconian angle. And most of all, if your strategies are clearly not working, then switching them up is better than staying the course.