5 Tips to keep your virtual team connected
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While the remote workforce has long been on the rise, recent events have rapidly accelerated the work-from-home movement. Successfully navigating the transition from physical workplace to virtual workspace requires that individuals and teams adopt new ways of thinking, working and interacting.
How can you foster a team that feels engaged and works cohesively when everyone is miles apart?
- Schedule regular check-ins. Normally, quick huddles and brief discussions happen spontaneously throughout the day. However, when the team is working in separate quarters, it takes intentional effort to keep everyone on the same page. Set up a time and a system to foster getting together. Schedule regular times but be sensitive to overload; too many meetings can be counterproductive. Finding the right balance will come… soon.
- Don’t be all work, all the time. For many, social distancing has made us realize how much interaction happens in an office. Sharing the latest binge-worthy series, our kids’ antics, the fabulous meal we had – these small interactions help build connections that make work-life more enjoyable. When you’re planning the agenda for any meeting, think about including a social component. Share stories. Talk about your kids, show a picture of your dog, or discuss a new hobby that isolation has kick-started – anything to just stay
- Offer a variety of communication channels. There are many options beyond email and phone. Platforms like WebEx Teams have functionality that makes tele-teamwork simpler and more robust. Instant messaging, file-sharing, screen-sharing, whiteboard sketches and more – plus they’re fun! (P.S. Remember these tools when things get back to normal; they work great in the office, too!)
- Picture Perfect! If you’ve spent years dressing up for the office, now’s your chance to be business casual. But please, stay professional; working in your PJs might feel good but it’s a distraction. Being more casual is nice – but don’t let it get in the way of maintaining some face-to-face interactions. Many experts feel that nonverbal communication cues are the most important indicators of whether you’re communicating effectively.
- Track projects and accountability. Not being able to monitor employees’ activities makes some managers nervous. Now’s the time to use technology to your advantage. There are many collaborative project management tools now available so it’s possible to keep track of tasks, responsibilities and deadlines that keep everyone accountable and give employees a big picture view of goals and team processes.
Consider adding video conferencing into your meetings to improve communication and ensure everyone’s messages are understood. Studies show that businesses that use video conferencing feel their workplace is more productive and connected.
The new normal is fast becoming just normal and the unprecedented is becoming commonplace. While we have no way to know what’s coming next, one thing is for sure, our relationship with work has changed. How we worked and where we worked, don’t seem to fit anymore. This blog series is dedicated to helping you thrive in uncertain times by creating new ways of working.