Remote work environments are more and more common these days. Some companies are pushing back to this trend, but many value the flexibility it gives their employees and the potential expense cuts it will bring to the business. Remote work has a lot of benefits, but it can create a disconnected feeling within the company if an effort is not made to establish and fortify those connections. In remote environments, it takes a concerted effort to keep the connections between team members and executives alive, healthy, and effective for creating a positive work environment. It’s not impossible, but it takes daily and weekly efforts in communication and engagement routines to help keep the company culture alive and well. To get inspiration flowing, check out these tips on staying connected in a remote work environment.
Virtual Ice Breakers
Virtual ice breakers are collaborative games that can be played during remote work meetings when companies have new hires that need to meet their members and begin establishing relationships. Collaborative questions, group projects, and storytelling are all examples of these games and there are companies that you can source from so the work is already done for you! Check out some of the options for virtual ice breaker games that your team can engage in to meet new employees and get to know each other a little bit better!
Companies that have traditions and get togethers typically last a lot longer than companies who don’t. That’s because employees enjoy feeling like the company they work for cares for the health of the relationships between employees. Traditions like holiday parties, weekly exercise groups, and virtual events are opportunities for employees to engage with each other outside of exclusively work related tasks and topics. This is essential for your company to have a feel of connection.
Weekly meetings should be a given at any remote company. Weekly meetings can be short or long depending on what’s going on that week, and are generally just a way for team members, managers, and company leaders to get on the same page and relay any pertinent updates regarding procedure or milestones. These are great opportunities to implement some of the tactics above as well, including playing virtual ice breaker games and casual event hosting. Most companies will likely already have a weekly or bi-weekly meeting schedule in place, but if yours doesn’t consider starting one right away.
Communication is of the utmost importance at any business, but especially as a company operating in a remote structure. Because of the distance between employees, it’s necessary to make sure you have workflow applications like Slack to help you communicate with your team throughout the day without needing to rely on lengthy emails. Set in place quick and easy forms of communications where teams can organize their conversations and get in touch with each other reliably. In some ways, it’s a good idea to air on the side of over communicating when working in a remote environment.
Create A Casual Chat Channel
To reiterate, employees stay connected by making friendships with their team members. For this reason, it’s a great idea to create a casual chat channel in your communication application so that coworkers can commiserate about their interests and lives. This can help coworkers break up their day and talk about things that aren’t related to work which will encourage deeper relationship building on a daily basis. Humans need to connect with each other over things other than work, and this kind of communication is built into office environments. Remote companies have to make a bigger effort to include these things in their infrastructure.
For new employees, coffee chats, sometimes called ‘donuts’, are a great way for new employees to meet a lot of current employees at the company under a casual setting. These meetings are meant to be a casual exchange of information and can help new employees feel like they’re being welcomed warmly into their new job. Even 15-20 minutes dedicated to introductions can go a long way in helping your team feel connected in a remote job situation.
Ultimately, remote companies need to make a concerted effort to establish routines that connect people and get them talking. A weekly meeting is a great place to start, but also consider establishing virtual ice breakers and games that can be played for new employees to meet current ones. Also consider creating casual chat channels so employees can further establish relationships and setting virtual coffee dates so new hires can get introduced to important members of their department. Remote companies that make an effort to establish these routines are much more likely to have positive and supportive environments among their employees in the long run.