With the growing popularity of remote and hybrid work, leaders need to understand how remote work can affect team building and learn about activities that can strengthen relationships. Leaders must create a virtual culture that encourages employees to build authentic connections and an environment where employees are excited to come together and collaborate, no matter their time zone and geographical area.
When you’re in a physical office, you’re surrounded by your team and have a support system. You get to know each other’s personalities, quirks, and hobbies at the breakroom’s water cooler.
These daily interactions facilitate expectation-setting and relationship-building. Employees are constantly exposed to their peers’ behaviors and can grasp performance and communication expectations. Social interactions also foster workplace engagement, trust, and satisfaction. A Gallup study found that employees with an office buddy are seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs, better at engaging customers, and produce higher quality work.
Building relationships, no matter where you are at, takes work. Being remote can make it harder, making it essential that leaders engage their employees in team-building activities.
You can keep your employees engaged and connected wherever they are by building a fun virtual team-building plan. Consider these popular activities for remote teams:
When employees do not have opportunities to “bump” into each other at the water cooler, they miss out on those “getting to know you” moments. If you don’t work with someone regularly, interacting becomes even more challenging because they don’t have those few Zoom minutes to chat about life. Consider encouraging your employees to schedule regular calls with one another just to hang out. The point of the call is not to talk about work, though! You want to encourage them to talk about non-work-related topics. Another idea to consider is creating a virtual break room where people can hang out on their lunch break or if they need some quick socializing to relax.
One-on-one or small group check-ins are great for team building because people start to understand who others are outside of work. The check-ins can also create a snowball of new activities when people realize they have shared interests. Maybe some people realize they love movies or reading books; they can take that common ground and create a virtual movie or book club with virtual meet-ups or discussions over a company chat channel!
Consider peer recognition
A key benefit of being part of a team is the sense of community and spirit. Team members come together to support and celebrate one another. Nurturing this community and support system can be more challenging for remote teams, leaving remote employees to be 10% less likely to say someone cares and recognizes their contributions. Remote employees cannot freely get up and go to their peer’s desk to say, “Great job!” or “Thank you!”
One way to foster team celebrations is through peer recognition. When employees appreciate and celebrate each other’s hard work, it brings the team together, regardless of location. Peer recognition can also help with the negative impact of not working close to others.
Create non-work-related communication channels
Remote work can be lonely sometimes, and people need an outlet to share good news. You can give people this outlet by creating Slack or Teams channels for these conversations. The channel does not have to be merely for good news, though. You can create different channels to get people talking, such as a recipe channel or a random channel for people to send snapshots of their day.
No matter the message, it can be a great conversation starter and create a sense of community.
You can foster a team that thrives together, supports one another, and collaborates to innovate and achieve organizational goals by creating opportunities for your employees to connect. But your leadership does not end there!
Team building, nurturing connections, and maintaining relationships is a process that needs constant attention. Leaders need to implement team-building activities and encourage them regularly. Remind people about their check-ins, participate in the communication channels with your good news, and celebrate your team.
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