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Breaking Down Barriers: Strategies for Building Connections Amongst Remote Teams

The concept of remote work has been rapidly gaining traction over the years, and the trend has been especially amplified in recent years. As more companies continue to embrace remote work, they are realizing that it demands a different approach to team building and collaboration. Remote work may come with flexibility, autonomy, and cost-cutting benefits, but it also presents unique challenges, such as isolation, a lack of engagement, and communication barriers, among others. As such, companies must establish strategies that foster connections among remote workers to ensure that the workforce remains productive, cohesive, and motivated. In this article, we explore various strategies that organizations can employ to build robust connections among their remote teams.


Effective communication is the backbone of successful remote teams. Communication errors can lead to delays, misunderstandings, loss of productivity, and can have a massive impact on employee morale. Therefore, it is crucial to establish clear communication guidelines that provide a framework for the entire team. Here are some of the ways to establish effective communication protocols:

Determine Optimal Communication Channels

There are multiple communication channels available for remote teams, including email, instant messaging platforms, virtual conferencing tools, and video conferencing. While all these tools are essential, they should be used appropriately, depending on the message’s urgency, complexity, and importance. For example, one may choose to use email for formal communication, whereas instant messaging platforms may be more suitable for brief questions or clarifications.

Schedule Regular Check-Ins

Regular team meetings are essential for remote teams to connect with one another and establish rapport. The meetings can take a variety of forms, such as daily stand-up meetings, weekly team meetings, or monthly town hall meetings. The frequency and format of the meetings should be determined based on the team’s needs and the project’s scope.

Encourage Open Communication

The lack of ability to read non-verbal cues during online communication means that remote teams may miss some essential communication aspects, leading to misunderstandings. Encouraging open communication channels and creating an environment where team members are free to ask questions, provide feedback, and voice concerns helps to address issues promptly and avoids communication breakdown.

Use Collaborative Tools

Collaborative tools like Trello and Asana can help remote teams remain organized and stay informed of updates and changes related to ongoing projects. These tools also allow for real-time collaboration, with team members able to access crucial project information like tasks, schedules, and deadlines.

Building Trust and Rapport

Building rapport and trust among colleagues is essential for effective teamwork, whether in a physical or virtual setting. However, creating an environment that fosters personal connections between the remote team members can prove challenging. Here are some tips to build trust and rapport amongst remote workers:

Create Social Interaction Opportunities

Remote workers miss out on the water cooler moments that allow for informal conversations, team-building games, and other office bonding activities. In place of in-office activities, employers can organize virtual team-building activities like online games, virtual coffee breaks, or even host virtual office parties. Celebrating employees’ birthdays or milestones is another excellent way to promote social interaction and help remote employees feel like they are part of a broader work community.

Encourage Informal Interactions

Encouraging remote employees to engage in more informal conversations can also help to build strong connections amongst the workforce. For instance, virtual watercooler sessions, where team members can chat about different topics unrelated to work, can help strengthen the bond between the remote workers.

Provide Shared Work Spaces

Providing a shared workspace for remote teams to work together can create a sense of camaraderie and build better connections amongst team members. Coworking spaces offer the opportunity for remote workers to work alongside others, providing a sense of community that is not typically available when working alone. Furthermore, coworking spaces can serve as a hub that allows remote workers from various companies to come together, learn from each other, and build a sense of purpose and belonging.

Establish Trust with Clear Expectations

When working remotely, it is critical that team members trust each other to carry out their responsibilities and complete tasks effectively. Establishing clear expectations, deadlines, and communication protocols can help build trust within the team. When everyone knows what to expect, it is easier to establish accountability, build trust, and collaborate effectively.

Encouraging Open Feedback and Constructive Criticism

Effective communication involves more than just providing clear messages; it also involves being receptive and responding constructively to feedback. However, virtual work can make it challenging to provide or receive feedback constructively, so it is essential to establish a culture of feedback and critique.

Set Clear Expectations

Remote teams must know what is expected of them and the criteria that will be used to evaluate their performance. Defining clear expectations ensures that remote workers are aware of what is expected, making it easier for them to evaluate their own performance and receive feedback constructively.

Provide Constructive Criticism

Whereas feedback should be constructive, criticism can be damaging to team cohesion and member motivation if not handled with care. Constructive criticism should be specific and actionable, providing clear guidance on what to improve or change.

Encourage Employee Self-Reflection

Self-reflection is a powerful tool that allows employees to evaluate their own performance and identify areas that require improvement. Providing employees with opportunities to self-reflect helps them to take responsibility for their actions, fosters accountability, and encourages individuals to seek feedback actively.

Use Praise to Motivate Remote Workers

While it is essential to provide feedback and constructive criticism, recognizing remote workers’ accomplishments is equally crucial. Praise and recognition help keep employees engaged and motivated, which can ultimately lead to a more productive workforce.

Establishing a Shared Vision and Setting Clear Goals

Shared work goals and vision are essential for remote teams to work together effectively, aligning their efforts towards a common goal. The shared vision provides a sense of purpose and gives remote workers something to work towards, ultimately building a sense of belonging and connecting the workforce in a way that is not possible with individualized goals.

Share Company Goals and Objectives

Sharing the company’s objectives and goals ensures that every remote worker is aware of the company’s direction and what the organization is aiming to achieve. Communicating this information also helps remote team members understand how their contribution contributes to achieving the shared vision.

Set SMART Goals

SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. When set correctly, achieving SMART goals can motivate remote workers, increasing their sense of purpose and engagement. Furthermore, setting a timeline for achieving the goals helps the team remain focused, prioritize tasks, and avoid conflicts that could arise from conflicting priorities.

Define Objectives for Individual Team Members

While setting shared goals is essential for remote teams, it is equally important to define objectives for individual team members. Defining specific objectives provides clarity and direction for remote workers, allowing them to focus on their specific responsibilities and stay aligned with the team’s overall objectives.

Providing Opportunities for Professional Development

Remote work can be isolating, making it difficult for remote workers to network, receive feedback, and develop their skills. Professional development opportunities can help to mitigate some of these challenges by offering opportunities to connect with colleagues, learn from peers, and engage in new training opportunities.

Encourage Continued Learning

Remote workers have access to endless online courses, webinars and other online learning tools that they can use to further their skills. Encouraging employees to undertake these initiatives can help boost their skills, making them more valuable to the organization in the long term.

Offer Employee Training

Providing employee training on new processes, tools and technologies can help employees stay updated and better equipped to handle their responsibilities. Moreover, providing training opportunities offers employees the chance to interact with colleagues in different departments and can create additional opportunities for building connections.

Encourage Professional Development Outside of Work

Encouraging remote workers to engage in professional development opportunities outside of work, such as attending conferences and joining relevant professional organizations, can help them to remain engaged and stay current in their field. Furthermore, it provides opportunities to network and connect with other professionals, promoting a sense of belonging.

Recognizing Achievements and Celebrating Success

It is essential to celebrate the achievements of all remote workers equally, as doing so can help to promote a culture of recognition and encourage team members to feel valued and motivated.

Celebrate Milestones

Celebrating milestones by recognizing employee achievements and commemorating anniversaries, or birthdays, can help to build bonds between remote team members. It helps to promote a sense of appreciation and recognition in the workforce, motivating them.

Stay Connected

Remote workers should be informed of the company’s progress and accomplishments through regular updates and newsletters. Small gestures like sending congratulatory emails or congratulatory virtual meetings can go a long way in boosting morale and creating a sense of belonging.

Celebrate Successes as a Team

Celebrating successes as a team helps to build team spirit and promotes collaboration. Celebrating a project’s success or a significant milestone also provides opportunities for employees to recognize each other’s contributions and accomplishments.


Remote work presents numerous benefits that help employees achieve a more balanced workflow, reduce commute time, and work according to their schedules. Still, it also comes with unique challenges that require an alternative approach to team building and collaboration. Effective communication, building trust and rapport, encouraging open feedback and constructive criticism, establishing shared vision and clear goals, providing opportunities for professional development, and recognizing achievements are excellent strategies that organizations can use to build solid connections among their remote workers. Implementing these practices helps increase the team’s sense of purpose and encourages them to be more engaged and productive, ultimately contributing to the company’s success.

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