Remote work has become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more employees opting to work from home or other locations outside of the traditional office setting. This trend has only accelerated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many companies forced to adopt remote work policies in the interest of employee safety. While remote work has its advantages, such as increased flexibility and reduced commute times, it also presents a variety of unique challenges for employers and employees alike. One of the most significant of these challenges is how to effectively build and maintain a sense of team unity and engagement when team members are distributed across different locations.
Remote team building is essential to overcome this challenge. By intentionally focusing on building relationships between remote team members, employers can increase productivity, reduce conflicts, and promote a positive company culture. In this guide, we will explore the different strategies that organizations can use to keep their remote workers engaged and motivated, no matter where they are working from.
Virtual Team Building Activities
Virtual team building activities are a great way to promote team unity, encourage engagement, and improve communication between team members who are geographically scattered. There are many online games and collaborative group activities that employers can organize to boost morale and build relationships among remote workers. Here are some virtual team-building activities that companies can try:
- Trivia Quizzes – This is an entertaining team-building activity that can be done virtually. Employers can organize a fun trivia quiz on any topic that interests their employees. Encourage teams to compete against each other, and ensure incentives are awarded to the winners.
- Virtual 5k – Work with your team to decide on a date for a virtual race. Each member can map out their own course and run at the same time. The goal is not the first one to finish the race, but the chance for your team to bond virtually.
- Virtual Scavenger Hunt – You can organize a scavenger hunt where team members have to find specific things within their homes. By giving the teams a set timeframe to complete the challenge, scavenger hunts encourage teamwork, creativity, and problem-solving.
- Online Pictionary – This is a fun and interactive game that requires teams to work together. One member draws pictures, and the others try to guess what the drawing represents. This game provides an excellent opportunity for remote workers to communicate, collaborate, and bond.
- Host a Virtual Happy Hour – You can host a virtual happy hour where team members can catch up with each other and unwind after a busy workday. You can use applications like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, or other similar software to host the virtual event.
One of the most significant challenges of remote work is the lack of face-to-face interaction. Since remote employees don’t interact with their colleagues physically, it’s essential to schedule check-ins with them regularly. Video conferencing provides a platform for teams to communicate effectively and build stronger relationships with their managers and colleagues. Here are some benefits of scheduled check-ins:
- Encourages trust – By scheduling one-on-one calls with employees, the team leader can create a sense of trust and offer support to remote employees.
- Strive for effectiveness – Through scheduled check-ins, team leaders can determine which available resources/ tools would be useful for employees’ remote and training needs, which leads to improved work effectiveness and productivity.
- Enhanced communication – Frequent communication can make remote workers feel more connected and enable them to be more productive. When workers feel valued and heard, they are more likely to be engaged, productive, and loyal to your organization.
Collaboration is critical to today’s remote workforce. Since remote employees work in isolation, it’s essential to encourage teamwork and collaboration among them. Here are a few ways to facilitate teamwork among remote employees:
- Assigning Group Projects – Remote employees can work together by assigning them group projects. With a goal and deadline, employees can collaborate to achieve the project objectives, discuss tactics, and pool their skills and competencies.
- Shared Tools – Collaborative software helps remote employees stay connected, share ideas, and documents. A few examples of shared tools include Asana, Basecamp, Trello, and Monday.com. Another popular app is Slack, a messaging, and team communication app.
- Virtual Brainstorming Sessions – In-person brainstorming sessions may be impractical, given the remote work situation. Virtual brainstorming sessions are a good way to encourage collaboration and creative thinking among the team. Encourage all participants to contribute to the session, regardless of their roles.
Recognition and Appreciation
Remote employees may feel isolated and disconnected from the organization, and an endless stream of company goals, objectives, and metrics could leave them feeling forgotten or unimportant. Recognizing the contributions of remote employees can help them feel valued and engaged. Here are ways to recognize remote employees:
- Public recognition – This involves recognizing employee achievements publicly, either on social media platforms or in a company newsletter.
- Providing Feedback – By providing constructive feedback, remote employees know where they stand, what they’re doing well, and specific areas they need to improve in.
- Sending Thank-You Notes – An unexpected thank-you note can go a long way to expressing gratitude and influencing employee morale.
Establishing Clear Communication
Effective communication is essential for any organization’s success, whether remote or not. Establishing clear communication channels can help reduce confusion, ambiguity, and ensure teams accomplish their goals. Here are some approaches to establishing clear communication channels:
- Company-wide Messaging Systems – Companies can create messaging systems to keep remote employees connected, such as sending updates on company goals, objectives, targets, and values. By doing so, remote employees can stay engaged and feel more connected.
- Strong and clear email communication – Regular, clear communication via email is vital to remote teams’ success. Team members should be clear with their expectations regarding email communication, including upcoming deadlines for projects and how long it may take to respond.
- Quick Response Times – Timely responses to emails or messages help remote employees stay on track regarding feedback, inputs, or deadline dates.
Virtual Training Sessions
Virtual training sessions provide the opportunity to increase remote workers’ productivity and upgrade their skills. By doing so, you empower your teams to be more effective and engaged. Here’s how you can facilitate virtual training sessions:
- Conduct Regular Training Session- Regular training sessions can help remote employees learn new tools to enhance job performance.
- Focused training – Focus the training on job skills that employees would use immediately. Training should focus on skills that help remote employees work more efficiently.
- Training/Session Feedback – Encourage feedback sessions to improve the remote training process.
Flexible Work Hours
Flexible hours can help remote employees manage their workload better at times that suit their schedules. Flexible working hours enable employees to balance work and home responsibilities, and deliver quality work. Here are ways to encourage flexible work hours:
- Establishing Flexibility – Through establishing guidelines, guidelines, or policies regarding flexible working hours, remote employees can have clarity regarding their work schedules.
- Trusting Your Teams – Trust your remote employees to manage their schedules effectively. Trusting employees can boost productivity.
- Coordinating Across Time Zones – Because remote employees may work in different time zones, coordinators or team managers can optimize the time zones, thus maximizing productivity.
It’s vital to remember that remote workers have personal lives outside work that require attention. Encouraging remote employees to take care of themselves, especially during the pandemic, can lead to more engaged and productive employees. Here are some ways to encourage self-care among remote employees:
- Weekday Breaks – Encourage remote employees to take breaks during weekdays by going for a walk, stretching, or meditating. This enhances productivity and work performance.
- Paid Time For Self-Care – Offer employees paid vacation or PTO to promote self-care, especially during times of stress and uncertainty.
- Encouraging Communication – Encourage remote employees to communicate their challenges, seeking help or information about mental well-being or health care coverage.
Remote team building requires effort and dedication. Remote workers may feel isolated, disconnected from their colleagues, and unimportant. Therefore, initiating effective remote team building strategies; including virtual team building activities, scheduled check-ins, encouraging teamwork, providing recognition and appreciation, establishing clear communication channels, virtual training sessions, flexible work hours, and encouraging self-care among remote teams can foster better productivity, teamwork, and employee satisfaction. By having these tactics in place, organizations can promote teamwork and foster stronger relationships with remote employees.
In conclusion, effective remote team building is essential to creating a successful remote work culture. By utilizing the strategies outlined above, employers can stay connected with their remote workers, promote a positive company culture, and achieve their business goals, even in a remote work environment. With the right tools and techniques, companies can build thriving remote teams that are productive, engaged, and connected.