(This is a contributed post)
As recent events have unfolded, managers across industries have been left with no choice but to turn towards the remote world. It’s a shift that might have been coming for a while, but the speed with which we’ve had to implement this change has left some pressing questions unanswered. Most notably, you’ll likely be wondering the basics, like how you can keep capabilities afloat and avoid downtime. You may also be considering how exactly you can keep your team working as one closely knit unit when they’re on different sides of the city, or perhaps even further afield. After all, team work is fundamental to success.
The good news is that you have the upper hand here in that your team has worked up close and personal in the past. Still, with no one quite sure how long-lasting this remote transition could be, you’d be amazed how fast those relationships begin to crumble. Not to mention that anyone you bring on board from now may feel like an outsider from the off.
As well as damaging morale, this distance and lack of team comprehension can cause significant internal issues. After all, you may still need your team to come together on some projects, or even work face-to-face at a gift fair or other such event. If they’re entirely disconnected, this is never going to work. Unless, of course, you get your head around the following remote-based team-building exercises.
# 1 – Video meetings
Video meetings and the like might not be a new tech trend exactly, but they are gaining new traction in this remote landscape. The fact is that, with the right conferencing software behind you, you can host morning meetings between the entire office, just like you would in real life. Even better, options like Skype and Google Hangouts allow you to do this without spending a thing.
Make the most of these meetings by encouraging inter-colleague chats, or even telling everyone to bring a hot beverage to their desks on time so that this feels like a chill, fun part of the day. By simply making the time for this during half an hour of at least every other day, you make sure that the whole team stays connected in some way, no matter where they’re working from.
# 2 – The remote office
Many managers also find that creating live-streams of everyone else’s remote offices throughout the day can be helpful. It might not sound thrilling, but you’d be amazed by how much the ability to see each other working can keep those employee communications strong. Not to mention that continually having each other on camera allows them to communicate/ask questions, etc. whenever they need to.
Even better, this goal couldn’t be easier to achieve. Using the same video software we already discussed, this simply requires a group video conference that continues through the working day. While team members will likely want to mute their microphones while they get on with things, just being able to see each other like this is a fantastic mimic to the real office. It can help for motivation and, ultimately, keeping relationships within that team strong. This is certainly a more appealing option to many managers than just asking colleagues to communicate through text on the screen!
# 3 – Pair team members in any way you can
In the office, relationships typically form between employees who sit next to each other or simply work nearby. This is a benefit that’s sadly lacking in the remote workplace, but it’s one you can overcome by using programmes like Slack’s ‘Donut.’
By pairing individual team members for 15-30 minute conversations every one to four weeks, this extension can work wonders for connecting members of your team who might not ever come across each other otherwise.
Donut can even take this benefit further by encouraging team members living in the same city to meet up for lunch or coffee on the odd occasion. This provides a team-building incentive that your remote workplace is guaranteed to miss otherwise.
Whether you’re trying to keep a newly remote team close together, or are attempting to introduce a new team member down the line, this tool really does take care of team building for you. As simple as that, you may find employees start making even more of an effort with each other than they would if they were just chilling in the office.
# 4 – Leave work behind sometimes
Of course, decent team building is about more than merely what happens in the office. Managers should also spend ample time encouraging employees to spend some downtime together, too. This way, they can genuinely get to know one another and build the best relationships for positive joint working in the future. This is where trust, friendship, and all those other vital factors really come into play.
The good news is that remote work doesn’t stop you from signing up for those corporate team building weekends, or even just hitting the town every payday if that’s your office tradition. Even if you’re working across long distances, though, there are pretty easy ways to get that out-of-work fix.
As people across the world are discovering right now, platforms like Zoom are fantastic for providing fun remote chats that include everything from crazy filters to pub quiz settings. Equally, using a platform like this to watch a film together long-distance can keep you close no matter how far you are.
Without once talking about work, these remote techniques can see you all opening up, finding familiar footing, and generally working better together as a result.
If the experts are to be believed, 2020 and all the events that have unfolded within spell the start of the remote revolution. Ensure your team morale survives by implementing these techniques and others like them from the moment your remote processes commence. As simple as that, you may find that this significant workplace shift isn’t such an extreme change, after all.