Rome wasn't built in a day, and strong teams aren't formed overnight. Fostering the same bonds and community when teams are not physically together requires planning, commitment, and time
Coffee chats, group lunches, and hallway conversations – all vital parts of office life – have been replaced by emails, instant messaging, and Zoom fatigue. Today, leaders are incorporating smart habits to build stronger connections and deeper team bonds. Here are four great ways to encourage connections!
Structured checks-ins can be the online equivalent of team huddles. Pre-pandemic, every organisation had a set of routines that were a big part of the workday. Whether it was morning briefings or monthly board meetings, everyone had some form of huddle to plan . These routines can still be integrated into our remote workplaces – it just takes consistency, according to a Forbes article. For example leaders should demonstrate they value an employee’s time by hosting frequent, short, and productive team meetings. This helps build stronger, if remote, bonds.
Collaboration is the key to strong team bonds. The Entrepreneur discusses six tactics to improve cooperation in remote teams. Most virtual groups are connected by project or task, so establishing communication channels with clear deadlines will help unite everyone towards a common goal. Leaders may ‘buddy-up’ members from different workstreams with complementary skillsets to encourage new professional relationships.
Similar to office work, remote working must also make room for casual dialogue. Niamh O’Keeffe, Leadership Advisor and author of Future Shaper: How Leaders Can Take Charge in an Uncertain World says that “Leaders need to encourage informal bonding time too and recognise that a lot of idea sharing, innovation and problem-solving takes place during informal time.” Managers should leverage online communication tools to cater for both formal and informal conversation . A NYT article suggests giving employees breathing room to take breaks, join discussion groups, contribute to projects, and get up to speed on their own time.
Taking the time to be more personal with team members helps bridge the trust gap. Asking questions related to daily activities, interests, or distractions may help leaders to learn the unique challenges remote teams face and how to best support each member. Browse here to learn how to foster serendipitous employee connections in a remote workspace to build stronger and healthier team bonds.