INSIDE: How can you stay connected with remote teammates? These days, it’s easier than ever. Use these tips to ensure you stay connected.
Whether you have long been contracting a remote team or you are new to the biz, you may be feeling the need to create more of a team environment. It can be hard enough managing a remote workforce, and things can only get harder if everyone feels distant and disconnected from the company and their coworkers.
We long for a sense of belonging and camaraderie. That doesn’t go away simply because we are working from home. And feeling that fellowship and that you are striving for a mutual cause can increase productivity and quality of work.
So, how can you stay connected with remote teammates?
Luckily, it’s not too hard to bring your team together. There are so many great collaboration software available today. With a few simple clicks, everyone can feel like one of the gang.
Best Remote Working Tools for Team Building
There are so many great remote work software available to stay connected as a team online.
For day-to-day communication and project management, you don’t necessarily need a video component. You simply need a centralized place where your remote teammates can brainstorm ideas and keep tabs on a project’s progress. For that, you may consider:
- Private Facebook Groups
When it comes to team bonding activities and really creating a sense of community, video is an absolute must. The connection is so much stronger when you can actually see someone’s face and hear his or her voice.
Keep things light and fun. Bring in the pets and kids if you are getting together during non-working hours or lunch break. It’s so important to make everyone feel a sense of ease. A few remote working tools for these activities:
- Google Hangouts
Try this real-time meeting idea for better collaboration.
7 Ideas for Fun Team Building Activities
Once you have planned your first get together, you don’t want everyone sitting around silent. To know how can you stay connected with remote teammates, you’ll need to have a few team building activities planned to break the ice and get people talking.
1. Remote Teammate of the Month
You may simply feature a different remote team member every month and give them time to share a little about their personal lives and what their job and responsibilities are on the team. Or, you may take the reins and share a team member’s accomplishments if something special has taken place.
Who doesn’t love a friendly game of trivia? This is a great monthly activity and everyone can take turns hosting and choosing the topic. The Office trivia, anyone?
3. Take Turns Teaching
We all have talents to share. Help your remote employees identify strengths that may be of interest to everyone. These skills may be work-related, a hobby or helping everyone get healthy. One person may help everyone with meal planning or low carb lunches. The next meeting may be a yoga or stretching session. Next month, someone may have some simple tips for a more organized office, budget or shared family calendar.
4. Get the Fam’ Involved
Who doesn’t miss company picnics? How can you stay connected with remote teammates when you never see them outside of work? If it isn’t feasible to bring everyone together for a beach getaway, make those connections online. Set up a meeting where your kids or spouses can introduce themselves and chat. Perhaps they will find a new virtual penpal.
5. Book Club
A virtual book club is not only a great way to connect with others, it can also be a great way to get your team to unwind and focus on things other than work. It sounds counterintuitive, but having overworked and overwhelmed team members is not a good thing. You need your mental health time, so do they.
Not all of your remote colleagues may be interested in a book club. And that’s okay! This one can be voluntary and in addition to other virtual events.
6. Working Lunch
Working lunches were a regular occurrence back when I was in the office. Whether it was putting together mailers that needed to go out or listening to a presentation, there’s a strong sense of belonging when you share a meal with someone – even if it’s your virtual team.
Whether it’s breakfast or lunch, share a meal via Zoom on a regular basis to discuss projects and procedures. Another benefit is that it is a more relaxed environment and your team is more likely to open up with ideas or issues on their minds.
Feeling isolated is one of the biggest challenges for remote work. It’s likely at least some of your virtual team miss being able to ask a simple question on the fly or just long to hear typing coming from the next cubicle. So many remote workers feel so alone.
If you are managing a long distance distributed team, a real life coworking space may be out of the picture. However, you could set up a day where everyone logs into your favorite video chat platform and does their work. This one can do great things for rapport.
How to Deal With Different Time Zones
Your biggest challenge with arranging these get togethers will likely be dealing with different time zones and family obligations. For those extracurricular team building activities that need to be conducted outside of working hours, you may want to alternate evening or weekend meetups each month to give everyone a chance to attend on occasion.
How Can You Stay Connected With Remote Teammates?
Now that we’ve looked at several tools and ways to answer the question, “How can you stay connected with remote teammates?” let’s look at some final thoughts in relation to this topic.
One important thing to remember when creating a space to stay connected to your remote employees is to keep things positive. A negative space will only breed more negativity. No one wants that. Keep things light and institute boundaries of what will and will not be allowed. People are looking for a positive space online where they will not be attacked or belittled. They are looking for positivity and a sense of community.