4 Ways to Strengthen Connection in Remote Teams

By Mary Ellen Stockton

Creating connection in a remote team is now more important than ever. More companies and teams are working remotely, many for the first time. We wanted to share some best practices that will help you support newly remote teams, while also maintaining a sense of community.

1. Use Video To Connect Remotely With Your Team

One of the biggest things that I’ve learned over the last seven years of working remotely is that video is an essential to successful remote work. If you don’t have a video conferencing tool, set one up today. Video conferencing serves an important purpose in helping distributed teams to form meaningful relationships.

2. Create Remote Rituals With Team Members

Rituals are important, but they become even more important when you aren’t working together in the same location. Design rituals that support and connect your team. Birthdays and work anniversaries are a good place to start. Continue your weekly meetings but add elements of fun. Host a “Tuesday Taco” lunch or Friday “Coffee Talk.”

The other thing is to get creative. It is more difficult. It does take a little more time and planning, but it’s also fun. Create a yearly engagement calendar and think about what you’re going to do. Maybe you theme them out or maybe it’s quarterly. Think about what you want to do and what opportunities there might be for different people on the team to lead.

3. Cultivate Empathy and Take Time To Listen To Each Others Needs

Take time to connect on a human level with your colleagues (have a virtual coffee date or lunch using Teams or Zoom). Check in with your team and take the time at the start of each virtual meeting to see how they are doing. Be fully present. Actively listen.

Your coworkers, employees, or team members are going to be in widely different places during this time. Some people are struggling through homeschooling, while others are home alone day in and day out. This can cause frustration at the variation of working hours or ability to attend meetings and be present. Listen to where people are and try to help find work-arounds but most importantly, have empathy if their situation is different than yours.

4. Communicate Often, Communicate Clearly And Get Personal

Communicate well and communicate often. Keep the lines of communication open so that remote teams always feel connected. For people who aren’t used to working from home, it can often feel very isolating. Send regular messages of support and schedule time for casual conversation. You can also use tools like Slack or Gchat, or another chat tool to create quick casual conversation. I always suggest that teams set aside the first 5 minutes of a meeting for a personal talk before diving into what needs to be done.

Any way that you can find to bring your team together and create a human connection, do it.

 

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