Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses have experienced an unprecedented surge in remote working; helping to uphold the social distancing measures implemented and ultimately help tackle the spread of COVID-19.
Working from home had come with its benefits this past year, not only in terms of tackling the pandemic but also in the time and cost savings from daily working expenses like commuting. In fact, according to inews.co.uk less than one in five employees are wanting a full, five-day return to the office.
While remote working can offer up a whole host of different benefits, and has proven to work effectively for a variety of teams, one big issue professionals can encounter with this style of work is forming relationships with their colleagues.
Unlike in a collaborative workspace, remote teams can find it harder to connect, their main methods of communication via email, Zoom or other virtual workspace collaboration tools limited in how personal of a connection they can provide.
Getting to know your remote team, and building up good relationships with them can be tricky, yet important for the productivity of the business, and for employee satisfaction. Here, we list some useful ways to improve relationships for those working from home.
Set Aside Time to Catch Up With Co-Workers
When working remotely, it can be easy to lose touch of your team, being by yourself and focusing solely on your own tasks.
For those who feel they frequently, and unintentionally, slip into hermit mode, it might help to schedule in time to catch up with colleagues. Taking the time, whether this is weekly, every fortnight, or whatever you’re most comfortable with, to interact with co-workers can be a useful experience, helping to replenish your sense of connection to the team.
From discussing various work matters to catching up on a more personal basis, regardless of what you chat about, taking the time to reconnect with members of your team will usually always be productive.
Make Use Of Video Chats (but Don’t Overdo It!)
Various video conferencing platforms have popped up helping to support the collaboration of remote working teams. Having face-to-face chats with colleagues, albeit virtual faces, can go a long way in helping remote teams to connect with one another, providing a more personal interaction than talking via text or email, or even calling.
However, while it’s good to make the most out of video chats, and the added personal touch they can bring to work calls – it’s important not to overdo these! Remote workers have brought attention to the challenges of video chatting, and the intrusive intensity it can bring when done too much.
Finding a sweet spot with your team’s video chatting, perhaps giving people the option to have their cameras on or off when on calls, can help to encourage more personal interactions while also ensuring employees aren’t fatiguing from such interactions.
Organise Virtual Events
With many office parties and events having had to be put on hold for the past year, it’s important to still carve out time for celebrations to uphold team morale. One great, (and socially distanced) way to do this is to opt for fun, virtual team building events.
Some companies have even started to create virtual team building activities for remote working staff to enjoy, helping to reward employees with fun events, while helping to strengthen the bonds in teams – even when working from home!
It can be hard to boost team engagement and encourage people to connect while working from home, particularly during such a stressful and turbulent time. However, when done right and celebrating your team in an encouraging yet nonintrusive way, remote workers can build up strong connections with their colleagues, and furthermore their company.