Working remotely is an undeniable source of flexibility and work-life balance! But if it’s poorly managed, it can quickly harm teamwork and team cohesion… 44% of the employees surveyed by Ipsos recognizes it is difficult to maintain team connection when employees are working from home. Here are 5 actions to implement now to maintain team connection with remote workers.
1.Create new rituals to maintain team spirit
The principle is to set up rituals to set the rhythm of the days and recreate a culture that will be the common thread of these new working relationships! You can, for example, organize informal thematic meetings to maintain team connection between remote employees by organizing team games, celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and departures.
New rituals that will build off of the typical casual Fridays! Let’s be creative. On Fridays, everyone dresses crazy at home! Then, for example, share your employees’ outfits on social networks… You can also set up virtual challenges to maintain team spirit while working remotely.
We think about it less often, but the rituals also bring new ways of working! If you use videoconferencing for your daily exchanges, you’re more likely to use instant messaging in case of an emergency. Managers can also share with their employees the best way and time to reach them during the day. This helps to better frame the tools to be used according to the circumstances.
Ideally, during the first online exchange session, it can be useful to establish rules of engagement with the team, especially if some decisions and rules may be more appropriate than others. In order to maintain team connection while working remotely, all employees must have the same expectations in terms of communication!
2. Share social moments to maintain team connection between colleagues
When you’re a remote worker, getting the answer to a question seems pretty simple… but sometimes it can be a bit of a struggle! This observation is not only limited to the tasks to be accomplished but also applies to interpersonal difficulties between remote employees. Indeed, researchers have found that a lack of mutual knowledge between colleagues results in greater distrust intense situations…
A simple example: if you know that your office neighbor has a busy day, you’ll only see, in his rather abrupt e-mail, the logical consequence of his stress. On the other hand, if you receive the same e-mail from a colleague whose situation you don’t know, you are more likely to feel “attacked”.
This is why it is essential to exchange on the feelings that you are having, the difficulties you feel, and to share moments to keep the link with your teams while working remotely. This will allow you to strengthen your listening skills and the bonds that keep you all together! To do this, build strong moments where your team can create a remote link: organize video cafés several times a week for example. These virtual coffee-meeting breaks will be used to keep in touch with each other.
3.Talk about your hobbies in order to maintain team connection
It’s all about giving a little bit of yourself, to create confidence and connect teams together while working remotely. Motivation, creativity, productivity, loyalty…
It is in the company’s interest to see its employees develop friendly and benevolent relationships or at least cordial ones. Before lockdowns, many companies were already inspired by start-ups, where fun is a key value. In fact, it is a key asset since it contributes greatly to their appeal!
Why not maintain the social link thanks to digital technology?
We can already see colleagues sharing hobbies, cooking recipes, or even tricks to keep the kids busy! Even if camaraderie should not be confused with friendship, it is desirable to maintain working relationships based on understanding, trust and professionalism.
4.Plan regular meetings to promote exchange and sharing
The easiest way to maintain team connection while working remotely, and to establish social interactions, is to spend some time on non-work-related issues! Indeed, it is considered that a good remote manager regularly calls employees. This can be a series of individual calls, -if your employees are relatively independent of each other- or calls with all members of the team -if the work is highly collaborative. One 15-minute chat per day is enough to create time for exchange and sharing!
The important thing is that these calls are regular and predictable. It should be a privileged moment where your employees know that they can consult you and that their questions and concerns will be heard!
To maintain the social link in working remotely and ensure that everyone is well, managers must remain very careful about the psychological state of their employees. Especially in these times…
5. Congratulate, encourage, and support
Last but not least, encourage and support the people around you! It is important that managers take into account the stress of their teams and listen to them. If an employee has recently started working remotely, they might be having trouble adapting, don’t hesitate to ask how he or she is doing.
Don’t forget that optimism is contagious! Research on emotional intelligence shows that employees react to sudden changes, or crisis situations such as Covid, according to the signals they perceive from their manager. So, if your mail speech sounds a bit too dramatic, it will have a “trickle-down” effect on the whole team…
It is the employer’s duty to maintain team connection, and to reinforce the confidence of their employees! Thank and congratulate them for the work accomplished. Share the positive feedback from customers or managers. This kind of support will help employees face difficulties with determination and motivation!
To maintain this social cohesion and team spirit, organizing once a week a digital Team Building activity can be very unifying for the company.
You want to know more about reward and recognition. Read our previous article.