As a result, standing apart from others and not being able to read and relate to each other is difficult – context-relevant emotional details can easily get lost, and relationships with fellow employees can weaken without being in the same room together. Frequently, communication between employees feels stilted and transactional, and there is a strong likelihood you will feel guilty about talking about anything unrelated to work.
There is no denying the fact that bonding is a necessary part of teamwork – effective teams are built on meaningful connections, mutual respect and trust. You will be able to transpose your team culture into a remote setting thanks to the myriad of ways you have at your disposal. The following are just seven ways to keep in touch, human and sane when you socialize remotely.
Establish Casual, Non-Work-Related Spaces Just Like In The Office
If your team does not already have a “virtual water cooler”, then instant messenger platforms like Slack can be a good place to begin. Make Slack channels not just for work purposes, but also for communicating socially – for sharing news, discussing hobbies, exchanging playlists, swapping recipes, sharing inspiration, or even just venting. As you actively create a part of your workspace to create non-work conversations, you are showing your team members that it is vital to engage in human conversation – not just a co-worker discussion.
Make An Effort To Use Cameras
Even though a screen, it is vital to be able to see the faces of the people with whom you interact. It’s a wonderful way to reach out to people on a deeper level besides simply remembering that everyone you communicate with on a day-to-day basis is actually real.
Simple eye contact and open body language – or just hearing another person’s voice – facilitates meaningful and engaging interactions by providing vital emotional context that may not have been apparent before. As a result, when it comes to team meetings and one-to-one meetings, you should also use rich real-time media like video conferencing and voice calls so that you can catch up with your colleagues.
You Can Hold Virtual Lunches, Coffee Breaks, Movie Nights, And Cultural Festivals
Coffee breaks and lunch outings are only some of the ways office workers can stay in touch, but there is no reason for home workers to abstain from doing the same. The Virtual Lunches that Memory holds once a week are where our employees have a chance to gather via a video conference and chat as they would in the office.
Additionally, we schedule open virtual coffee breaks where different employees are paired up to engage in video conferencing simultaneously. As a result, it is particularly useful for strengthening bonds between people who are not necessarily working with each other regularly.
Similarly to how you would bond after work in person, you can also extend this formula to hold virtual games nights or watch movies together (e.g. by using video platforms such as Zoom screen share or Netflix Party). We highly recommend you extend it to include the different cultural festivals celebrated by your team, too!
The holiday season is a great example of how you can plan ahead for this as soon as possible. If your remote/hybrid workers are coming in to help out on a working holiday, you might want to consider hosting an online holiday party for them to enjoy. It is very likely that in the future, you will have more and more employees working remotely, not just locally but from all over the world. It is your responsibility to ensure all those in your organization take part in the work you do.
Explore Your Colleagues’ Home Offices Virtually
Why don’t we embrace our desire to peek into other people’s houses and schedule virtual tours of the properties that our colleagues live in to take advantage of our nosy instincts?
It is possible for employees to set up a Livestream in which they walk through their home, chatting with viewers about where they work and sharing some anecdotes about their personal lives. We use this not just for curiosity sake, but for the purpose of training people to be more empathic by giving them greater insight into the backgrounds of the people around them, which is extremely helpful to international teams.
There’s a word of caution; do not push the issue of people being able to see their workspace. Many people would rather maintain their privacy and are not interested in showing their entire home to you. Of course, this is perfectly fine as well.
Have Remote Competitions
Team-building exercises can be made more effective with the use of fun semi-competitions. Make sure that you get creative when it comes to team building activities for remote teams.
The Global Diversity team holds its own Memoryvision song contest each year, where employees submit songs by people who represent their nationality and vote on submissions by people living in the same country. I think it’s a great way to learn about different cultures and to be able to share new music with others in the process. Also, our team fitness competition proved to be very intense (likely due to the fact that there was an Apple Watch up for grabs).
Have Virtual Dance Parties On A Friday Or Payday
The majority of companies, such as Twitter, Dropbox, Yelp, give their employees free drinks during the afternoon on Fridays, known as ‘beer o’clock’. As the name suggests, al-desko drinking is meant to produce an atmosphere for light-hearted conversation – and just because you don’t have to go out on Fridays, you don’t have to give up the feeling.
Make virtual dance parties a regular part of your pay period: once you get used to the awkwardness of dancing on your own in front of your computer, playing some music with your co-workers and throwing some shapes is a great way to relax after a long and stressful work week.
Hold Virtual Wellbeing Classes
In the case of working at home, where you do not have that physical buffer between the time you spend working and your private time, prioritizing your wellbeing becomes even more important. In order to make this into a fun activity for groups, you can use a number of different methods. If you are interested in holding virtual meditation sessions once a week or remote yoga classes, you should think about setting them up. In this sense, it is possible to apply this concept to all aspects of living a healthy lifestyle.
Virtual Break Rooms
When we’re at work it’s rather easy to grab a coffee and talk with our colleagues. But at home, it can be hard to approach our coworkers for a chat, and reaching out to our colleagues can seem intimidating. Luckily, there are virtual break rooms for just such occasions.
Coworkers can socialize in this unstructured, pressure-free setting, which can ease some of those feelings of isolation. Utilize a platform like Zoom to create a virtual break room and share the link with your team. There are many ways you can set up the break room, including scheduling specific times for it to be open. As there’s no pressure, you never know who you’re going to meet and you never know what sort of conversation you’ll have.
The best part is that there is no pressure to interact, so even introverts can enjoy a coffee alone at their desk without being obligated to talk to others.
Encourage Praise And Appreciation
Create a space for some appreciation between your remote team members to start a constructive dialogue.
Make sure your team communicates their gratitude and praise to the rest of the team. Your meetings could begin by praising and appreciating your team, then opening the floor up to anyone else who wishes to speak. Be specific and sincere when praising your team, and they will be sure to notice.
Alternatively, your team could send you a message with how they appreciate one another and then have you announce all of them at the end of the week for a feel-good transition into the weekend. We can become more dedicated to the work we do if we feel noticed and appreciated by our team members.
Communicating effectively is the key to maintaining the culture of your organization while working remotely. A variety of studies have found that communications are an integral part of successful change management within organizations.
Additionally, it isn’t restricted to working hours. We have become accustomed to socializing with our coworkers outside work as well. Making an effort to connect virtually on evenings and weekends could truly make a difference-although remember that some people might wish for their space, so it shouldn’t be forceful.
Social connectivity is more important than ever now, whether it’s an eight-hour Zoom room open every day or a morning cup of coffee. Social wellbeing must be prioritized as we become more immersed in remote work environments. It’s both good for their sanity and for the company’s bottom line – from both a cultural and a financial perspective.