Chances are that in the last year, with even a small remote work component, you now have teammates you’ve never met in person.
In many ways, your team may have found an excellent rhythm, but your company may have also hired new staff during this time. You or your staff may find yourselves in the odd position of not knowing if you’ll ever meet your work colleagues in person.
So how do you connect? Luckily, the combination of intentional effort and collaborative project management software can help you make a strong connection with remote colleagues.
Excellent co-worker connections are a combination of strong work-related skills and strategic socializing opportunities to build common ground. Use both as you work to connect while working remotely.
If you lead a team or are used to doing social events in the office, consider social video calls. Yes, many people are "Zoomed out" at this point, but there are a few practices that might boost interest in your calls.
Make the call have a theme or activity, such as group trivia, which is easy to administer virtually. Plan to offer a perk, like a discount code for food delivery, if you would have had catered meals in the office otherwise.
Especially for teams that shy away from more overtly social video calls, one way to encourage connections can be through more work-driven one-on-one chats or virtual coffee dates. Managers can team more experienced coworkers with new coworkers and give them either an open forum or let them focus on particular knowledge sharing. What happens during these conversations is a strengthening of trust in addition to knowledge transfer.
For example, Accelo has a program called "Hello it's Me" where employees can opt into a bi-weekly call with an employee they likely haven't met in person. The People Operations team pairs team members up to chat over coffee at a time that suits them best!
Whether you get anonymous feedback from a large team through a survey or individually call the few team members you have for an in-depth discussion, you need feedback to find out how connected or disconnected your team is.
In many cases, more socializing isn't the thing that your team needs. They may need particular team members to check emails more often, or for everyone to pick between two project management platforms and stick with that single system to communicate in.
The key is to find the pain points and help to solve them, rather than expecting everyone to become best friends while working remotely. Friendly work interactions are great, but the goal is trust and respect between colleagues who are trying to get things done.
If you are trying to make remote work environments effective, you can't just expect people to seamlessly transition from in-person check-ins to using a complicated system. Make training your number one priority when you want strong uptake on a communication system.
Those first few weeks with a new system are critical because they are how you establish the expectations and culture around that system.
Team members build trust each time something goes right during a collaboration, even if they didn’t have an interesting conversation or create a strong friendship throughout the process. One of the ways that you can build your connections is to always be equally up-to-date on the expectations of a project.
Excellent project management and client communication systems that share the same key details with all project stakeholders can foster collaboration. Everyone should have access to a cloud-based portal where they can see any updates, approvals, or new requests.
If your team seems distant, don't automatically assume that more socializing will help — often, the challenges that strain co-worker connections are actually work-related. Are they all staying in the loop on project needs? Building trust as they work to accomplish a common goal? With Accelo, you can ensure that they have scheduling details, clear task descriptions, and easy client communication for fast approvals.
Want to see how Accelo can help your remote workforce connect and bond through collaborative productivity? Try a free trial today!