Remote Teams: Keeping in Touch with Your Team Despite the Distance

Offices can boost employees’ well-being by providing the benefit of socializing. Humans, by nature, are social beings. We are wired to communicate and seek interaction with people. For us to thrive and grow in a society, communication and cooperation are essential. That is why offices put the effort into designing collaborative workspaces where employees can work freely in shared areas.

Until after a bit, due to the pandemic, we found ourselves doing work isolated in the four corners of our home, physically away from our colleagues. We are no longer working in a place where we can easily huddle with our team and check how everyone is doing. The benefits of working in an office such as being able to monitor work and share knowledge face to face are found to no avail.

The pace at which leaders must adapt to the challenges that the global pandemic continuously brings is accelerating. Having that said, it amplifies the need for sustainable human performance. Leaders and their teams have to be mentally agile, know how to effectively manage stress, find methods to engage, and improve resilience while running a work-from-home setup.

We know for a fact that to achieve the team’s sustainable performance, communication is key, but the real question is, how can we keep in touch with the team despite the distance?

 

1) PROMOTE TAKING MINDFUL BREAKS

In a successful organization, everything great that gets done is done by collaborative effort. Therefore, when we look for an approach to maximize performance and camaraderie, we have to look at the employee’s overall well-being including mental health.

Analyze what employees are feeling and what fatigue teammates are experiencing. Try to patch energy leaks by promoting mindful breaks and holding regular office hours. Honor people’s time by building a work-life balance into the team’s culture. Educate them that there is life beyond their working schedule.

If your team acknowledges your genuine effort to encourage personal time, these can bring them from exhausted to empowered; frustrated to in control.

 

2) CHECK IN WITH YOUR TEAM REGULARLY

Proactively reach out to your team by simply greeting them good morning every day before starting your work. Letting them know you are on a break or once you are done with the day’s tasks keeps an interactive vibe.

Another way is to map daily, weekly, or monthly calls with your team. While different employees have different communication preferences, have a consistent schedule to meet by involving them in planning. Get everyone’s input and commit to staying connected in ways that work for you and them. Don’t forget to also establish rules and observe proper meeting etiquette while at the same time keeping the mood light in your conversations.

 

3) HOST A VIRTUAL COFFEE HUDDLE

If you want to bring fresh ideas to the table or break the monotonous flow of your work, host a virtual coffee huddle with the team. When creating this activity, set it with the intention of having a relaxed conversation outside the realms of work-related topics. Make the conversations engaging by allowing teammates to share what they’ve been currently up to – basic exercise, must-try recipes, films to watch, a new hobby to try, basically anything they would like to share with the group. Group breaks keep your team connected, create a solid support system, and help them recharge the mind and the body.

 

4) ENCOURAGE LEARNING A NEW SKILL

There’s no reason for your team not to use the time spent working from home in upgrading their skill set. Provide them with resources that will help them get productive during their free time. Share self-help books, online courses, learning platforms, or even mentor them on a skill you know you are good at. Afterward, have them exchange outcomes and learnings.

Leverage on swapping teammates skills so that everyone learns something new and useful, it doesn’t have to be work-related. When you help them get better at something, they show up at their best. They get more creative and collaborate better. No one knows for how long we are working from home, so why not make the most out of it by learning and honing a new skill.

 

5) EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT ACTIVITIES

If the conventional team-building is gone, you have to get creative and resourceful on how to host one.

Make it possible to stay connected and keep the fun by taking advantage of online communication platforms. Have a specific group chat where you can share inspiring tips and daily motivational words. There are also numerous applications that can accommodate groups where you can play virtual games, have casual hangouts, solve a mystery, and even sing along. You can suggest as well doing virtual yoga sessions and teamwork out. This will not only serve as a team activity but will also help your team maintain an active lifestyle.

Empower your employees by letting them know you care about them not only as employees but as a person who needs time to unwind and enjoy.

 

6) KEEP YOUR LINES OPEN

Remember that working from home is a challenge itself. Create a safe and open space where your teammates can comfortably reach you with any concern about their work. Encourage them to speak up and let them know that they can rely on you.

Whether you are dealing with an active employee or managing an employee on leave, consistently touch base with them. Check on their well-being and see if they need any support. Talk about relevant updates currently happening within the organization and keep them always in the loop.

Remind employees of assistance programs that the company has. Bridge them to someone they can call or communicate with if they have policy questions, personal concerns, need information, or support. Helping employees with these issues requires a great deal of trust between team leaders and associates hence, keeping your inbox open for them is of the essence. See to it that employees feel valued and taken care of even from a distance.

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Written by Kat Sarmiento

Kat is a Molecular Biology Scientist turned Growth Marketing Scientist. She's the current Operations Director at Galactic Fed. During her free time, she loves to write articles that will bring delight, empower women, and spark the business mind. She loves to bake but unfortunately, baking doesn't love her back. She has many things in her arsenal and writing is one of her passion projects.

June 18, 2021

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