With the economy slowly rebounding and companies taking on new hires once more, connecting with coworkers has become an even greater challenge. You might find yourself working with someone you have never met in-person before. How do you connect with new team members, and how do you maintain relationships with existing coworkers? We have compiled a few tips to help you keep your remote team connected.
6 Tips for Keeping a Remote Team Connected
- Host Virtual Social Events: Schedule time for a low-pressure non-work-related activity, such as a happy hour, lunch, yoga class, or book club. Provide employees with whatever supplies they may need — offer to order lunch to their house, send out books, etc. — and make sure not to overly formalize the event. Keep it relaxed and treat it like an in-person social break from work.
- Encourage Group Chats: People have a life outside of work; they have families, hobbies, and unique interests. Ask employees about their personal life and create social groups so that they may bond with their coworkers over shared interests.
- Company Contests and Challenges: Games are a great way to get people involved and entertained, especially when it’s a competition. Try a company exercise challenge, a journaling challenge, or even an ugly sweater contest as the holidays roll around. Find ways to make beloved office traditions virtual.
- Make Time to Recognize Coworkers’ Achievements: Even before COVID, employees struggled to feel appreciated at work. Now, as spontaneous encounters are gone, they receive praise even less. Carve out some time to celebrate your teams’ successes.
- Give People a Zoom Break: While encouraging employees to turn on their video is a way to reduce awkwardness on calls, it is also important to be understanding. Allow people to turn off their cameras when they need, and find non-video options to meet, like over the phone.
- Create Spontaneous Connection Opportunities: Gone are the water cooler and printer chats, which research suggests is crucial for our overall happiness. Try to create these natural micro interactions from home by making Zoom/Microsoft Teams/etc. more relaxed and informal at times. Send out sporadic coffee chat invites or start an open zoom in case anyone wants to stop by and chat.
Working at home is often lonely, but it does not have to be. Don’t be afraid to try something new in an attempt to build a strong team culture. Courage and outside of the box thinking are what will foster meaningful virtual connections. Reach out to people and get creative because remote work is here to stay.