Team Building for Remote Workers

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Modern Rules for Team Building When Employees Work Remotely or at Home

Teamwork increases camaraderie and productivity, but how can employees work together when if they’re not in the same place? With the increase in remote work, many organizations are looking for new team building strategies.

There can be many advantages to remote work. You may enjoy greater flexibility and reduce your environmental impact due to decrease in commutes but, if you’re operating out of a home office now, you may also feel isolated and find it difficult to collaborate.

Learn how to succeed with remote teams.

These techniques can helop with maximizing cohesion and cooperation.

Informal Strategies for Remote Team Building 

In a conventional office, employees can drop by each other’s cubicles and hang out in the break room. Try these alternatives for encouraging casual socializing that helps develop healthy work relationships:

EASE INTO MEETINGS

One of the most convenient times to engage in small talk is before group meetings, even online ones. Encourage participants to arrive early, so they can describe their weekend plans or talk about their hobbies.

PLAY GAMES

Provide opportunities for a little friendly competition. Divide employees into teams for online games. Host cooking contests and talent shows. Just be wary of the less "outgoing" employees. Think of competitions that could suit the more introverted of your workforce. Singing may not be there forte but sudoku might!

THROW A PARTY

Keep in touch with virtual happy hours and staff birthday parties. Just as you would if staff were in the office, just no it's online via Zoom or Teams.

Think about conducting employee surveys to find out what entertainment they enjoy or just make not of what is talked about before meetings (see note 1).

PROMOTE FITNESS

If you're staff have been more sedentary at home, why not bring them together for online exercise classes or a desk-based stretching session?

SEND GIFTS

Inexpensive freebies can let remote workers know how much they're appreciated. Gift cards are a good option or even just a coffee mug with the company logo and employee's name on.

We know of one company that sent food hampers to all employees to celebrate holidays such as Easter and Christmas and the hosted an online quiz and photo competition for all employees to get together over lockdown.

BE INCLUSIVE

Whatever methods you use to promote socialisation amongst your at home / remote workers, ensure that you create an atmosphere where diversity and inclusivity prevails and/or is celebrated. 

How can you ensure your employees embrace different viewpoints and empathize with each other?

[SEE ALSO: SPOT THE DIFFERENCE]

Formal Strategies for Remote Team Building

Effective team building also requires more structured approaches.

These activities can be customized to the needs of your team and the nature of your work:

1. Create a plan.

Takes a systematic approach to team building, so you can evaluate your progress and stay on track. Develop a written plan with specific metrics and milestones.

2. Agree on ground rules.

Work with your team to agree on ground rules for communications and other major issues. For example, remote employees might be asked to turn off cell phones before meetings or return messages within 2 working days.

3. Set goals.

Pursuing common goals is one of the main criteria for turning a bunch of individuals into a team. Ask employees how well they understand the organizational vision and mission and how it applies to their work. Discuss the purpose behind daily tasks.

4. Show impact.

Help your remote team to see how their efforts make a difference. Reward high performance and share success stories. This can also help reduce burnout and embed company culture.

5. Meet one on one.

How often do your supervisors and managers meet privately with homeworking employees who report to them? One on one meetings are an important tool for bonding together, as well discussing project updates and career development plans. Coworkers may also benefit from sessions with each other for support and soundboarding.

6. Change the channel.

With so many ways to communicate, it may take time to figure out which options are most effective for different tasks. Give remote working employees the freedom to experiment with video calls, instant messaging, and Slack channels to find the right mix for your team.

You can enjoy being part of an exceptional team while you work remotely.

Team building based on communication and collaboration will help you to learn from each other and pursue shared goals successfully.