remote work relationships

Virtual Team-Building: How to Improve Remote Work Relationships

Alan Melton

Remote work relationships have become a thing over the last few months. It is no longer news that most companies around the world have embraced the remote work policy. This is largely due to the coronavirus pandemic and the need to keep safe while still delivering on one’s assigned duties. Some of these companies have even decided to continue with remote working even when the virus eventually gets curbed. This is because analyses have shown that considerable cost is saved when employees work remotely. Every now and then, measures are being put in place to improve remote working relationships through virtual team-building practices. Ordinarily, the collective office environment would have easily taken care of some of these. Let us look at some of the measures.

Group chat socialization

Usually, when people arrive at the office, there will be good-morning greetings flying everywhere. Those who are closer than just hi-friends, go on to know how the night went and how their families fare. When you work remotely, there is a possibility that everyone just focuses on work and forgets about the usual greetings even if on personal chats. It is not only about the greetings but other regular chats that go on in an office environment. To make sure this continues even with remote working, the organization can create a group chatting platform where everyone visits every day to have chats with colleagues. It helps to ensure that the bond is not broken and members of the team look out for one another even when not collectively at the office.

Allocate time for social interaction outside of work

Improving remote work relationships can also be done outside of work. It doesn’t always have to be during work hours. Just like if you were working from the office, and the team decides to engage in some social activities after work. Examples of activities for social after-work gatherings that can be done remotely are doing movies, playing online games, and having online karaoke nights. They may look difficult to plan, but they are realizable. Having the time to spare and plan these team-building activities may be difficult for the employer. As the company’s Chief Operating Officer, you can work towards reducing activities on your schedule. An example is employing PEO services to help with hiring new employees and some other human resources duties. This will avail you and your HR team more time to plan different team-building activities.

Have online lunch dates

One of the few disadvantages of remote working is the inability to come together as a team to do fun things together. I mean meetings can easily be done virtually but what of things like the team going out for lunch? There is some improvisation in place nowadays which may not be as fun as everyone being present physically, but it sure creates something close to the feeling. Having an online lunch date for the team has to be planned. This is because the food for each participant has to be ready before the video conferencing call commences. You could order your food or cook something at home. About 60 minutes would do. You can even do this for coffee breaks too.

Expand professional skill sets together with learning circles

When working from home, it is easier to forget about sharpening your skills on the job or even acquiring more skills to help broaden your knowledge. This is most probably because you are not in the office to deal with banters in that regard. It could prove unprofitable for the organization in the long run if something is not done about it. Learning circles can help. Employees can be grouped into different learning groups or circles. There should be a veteran or two in each department. The younger employees will be encouraged to ask questions relating to work which can be answered by the more knowledgeable employees. The veterans of each circle can also offer occasional virtual pieces of training to help the others acquire new skills that can be used to improve work productivity.

Create times for physical meetings once in a while

While it is good practice to embrace remote working, it is necessary for team members to meet physically at times. It could be every quarter or twice a year. This helps improve the bonding with one another. If it is done twice a year, the first one can be on a workday while the other can be on a weekend. When team members meet, some tiny details that can not be deciphered during virtual meetings could become evident. For example, one could tell if a member of the team is passing through some tough times. It could also be the perfect time to iron out some remote working misunderstandings.

Final Word

A lack of motivation when working from home can affect the employee as well as the company he works for. Some employees usually don’t find it interesting when having to work alone so they still go to the office anyway. The reasons are not far-fetched. For someone who had been having a lot of fun with his or her colleagues when going to the office, it could be very difficult to adapt when working remotely. This is why there should be virtual team-building practices and measures put in place to improve remote work relationships. You get to save costs as a company and still be more productive. Your employees also have more time to spend with their families.

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