Bringing People Closer From Their Home Offices
In a society where many companies encourage and even prefer remote work, we can’t help but wonder how to bring coworkers closer and improve workforce dynamics. Going for a few drinks after work or chit-chatting over a cup of coffee in the breakroom isn’t feasible anymore in many cases. And if coworkers can’t engage in some face-to-face conversation, the quality of their daily collaboration might be affected. Finding new ways to communicate and exchange ideas and opinions is the new norm, and instead of fearing it, we should embrace it wholeheartedly.
7 Ways To Assist Bonding While Working Remotely
Creating A Welcoming Space For Open Communication
In traditional workplaces, people would typically go to the office and be greeted by their colleagues with a warm smile and a “good morning.” How can this be replicated in the digital world? Well, one great way is to have a common space where all colleagues can contact one another and share personal and work-related matters. Maybe the entire company can send a simple “hello” and “goodbye” at the start and end of the day. Building these spaces is only the first step though, as it’s equally important to make sure that everyone feels free to share their thoughts without the fear of being judged. Don’t wait until you need something to contact your colleagues. Instead, check in on them to ask about their well-being. Also, keep in mind that giving and receiving feedback will most likely keep an employee more engaged and focused on improving their work performance.
Organizing Fun Activities For The Team
Being geographically divided might go hand-in-hand with certain restrictions. However, there are a multitude of ways to overcome these hurdles. You can create games and other activities to improve remote team dynamics. For example, ask each person to write down a fun fact about themselves. Then, either during a team video call or on a shared communication channel, mention all these facts. You can proceed by asking everyone to guess which one belongs to whom. Even such a small and seemingly insignificant game will delve deeper into every person’s personality and help others get to know them better. Another fun activity would be Secret Santa. Pair up your team members and have them send gifts to each other’s homes. You can set a cost limit so that people won’t feel pressured to buy something extravagant.
Setting Daily And Weekly Video Meetings
Sending emails and messages might not always be enough to communicate your thoughts and worries to your colleagues. Frequent video calls, on the other hand, diminish that geographical distance. People can explain themselves more effectively through the spoken word. Keep in mind that these meetings don’t have to be excruciatingly long, but just 15–30 minutes. This way, you can host them multiple times per week. Participants should feel free to share some aspects of their personal lives. This is important to remove some of the exterior layers and reveal what’s at the center. Furthermore, no matter how trivial and unimportant it might seem, small talk is also encouraged. It just helps you unwind before diving back into your scheduled activities.
Arranging “Accidental” Run-Ins
Now, you might be wondering, “How can someone arrange something accidentally?” In traditional workplaces, coworkers would stumble upon one another and chat about personal matters. In the digital world, you can arrange a 15-minute video call now and then for the sole purpose of building camaraderie. Another option is to set up monthly virtual lunches. Give everyone a budget to order in and make it a team bonding event. These meetings can even involve people from different departments that do not necessarily collaborate daily. Everyone should be familiar with one another to improve remote team dynamics.
Managing A Team With Honesty And Transparency
You might hear words like honesty, transparency, trust, and clarity often, but you won’t fully grasp their meaning until you see them in practice. Managers should be the first to open honest dialogue and pave the way for employees to do the same thing. They should also be able to listen closely to their coworkers and show them that openness is valued and appreciated. That’s how the fundamentals of trust will be built and maintained in the long run. And while managers are expected to offer feedback, they should also be open to receiving it. Accepting comments from their colleagues will make their opinions feel important. Furthermore, managers must be transparent and clear about the company’s and the individual’s goals. This way, they create a path towards the achievement of these goals.
Cultivating Empathy Within The Team
In the past, you would go to the office and notice when a coworker was going through a rough patch. You would give them a nice smile, tap them on the shoulder, or even hug them to let them know you were there for them. In remote workplaces, these actions are unavailable to us. But does this mean that we can’t be empathetic towards someone? Of course not! It’s enough that we feel physically disconnected from our colleagues; we don’t have to feel the same way emotionally. So, when someone expresses sadness, the very first thing you need to do is listen to them. Then, convey your support verbally and let them know they can contact you whenever they need to. In written form, emojis can assist a bit in your effort to show empathy. All these behaviors will result in improved remote team dynamics.
Embracing Flexible Work Schedules
One study concluded that up to 80% of workers are more engaged when they work from home instead of at the office. Additionally, they mention that they make much better progress when they don’t have to spend too much time at the office. So, it is clear that hybrid employment, if not fully remote, will benefit overall success rates. Also, keep in mind that many employees might have children at home. Offering them the flexibility they need to take care of work and their personal obligations will make them feel valued. Last but not least, they will feel less stressed and thus more productive. Another survey found that 90% of people believe that a more flexible work schedule would boost their morale, while 85% declare that their productivity has indeed improved due to flexibility at work.
Workspaces and remote team dynamics keep changing thanks to evolving technology and the new mindset surrounding productivity. Managers don’t need to hover over their employees’ heads to check the quality of their work. Many online tools can keep track of this. However challenging the geographical divide might often be, there are ways to power through it. The goal is to create meaningful connections between coworkers. Open communication, active listening, unwavering empathy, honesty, and team-building activities are just a few of the tools available. And while conversing about work daily is vastly important, it is also crucial for colleagues to open up about their personal lives and create bonds that go way beyond the shared workplace.