The rise of remote and hybrid working has been a gift for many workers who no longer have to commute long distances in order to be present at work. The downside to this trend, though, is that your workers are around one another a little less, which can mean that they’re less social with one another, harming team morale. If you’re interested in maintaining remote work in your organization while also building strong connections between your employees, this is the article for you. Below, we’ll look at the techniques you can use to do just that.
The key principle that you should take into account when it comes to making remote connections is technology. The key reason that remote and hybrid work is a trend at the moment is that technology can enable it. From Zoom calls and meetings to entire remote work databases based on the cloud, there are tech products out there that’ll help you connect to colleagues in a working capacity throughout the day.
It’s your responsibility as a manager or business leader to think about ways in which you can leverage this technology to help you build connections with your team. Think through the technology you currently use and consider ways in which you can organize social meets using it. Whether that’s an after-work remote drink or a scheduled Slack chat, these little touches can really help your team connect in novel and exciting ways.
Setting Aside Time
Many managers become disillusioned by hybrid work because they see that their teams are growing more distant. Yet it’s often the case that it’s the manager’s responsibility to connect teams, and you might not be utilizing time well if your employees aren’t socializing. Instead of hoping that this social activity will happen spontaneously, it might instead be wise to set aside some time each week for your workers to socialize in an informal digital setting. An hour will do it – just for your workers to let off some steam and discuss their personal lives.
Most workers feel that they ought to work during work hours. Many are so busy that every hour in their working day is spent getting tasks done. So, setting aside some time that you mandate for socializing can be an excellent way to put on the brakes and encourage workers to relax, chat, and reconnect over the digital platforms you have at your disposal.
Some workers will always shy away from work events, finding them a little formal and inconvenient. Others love them, as they’re a chance to let off steam and socialize without necessarily referencing work. Employees who like one another’s company have the opportunity to become friends during these events, which can both boost team morale and make your workers happier, more satisfied in their jobs, and therefore, more productive.
As such, organizing events should be high on your list of priorities when you’re thinking about reconnecting with your workers. Make sure these events are scheduled a long time in advance in order to give workers a chance to clear space in their diaries. Try also to make them as accessible as possible, organizing events that are both close to your workers’ homes and are something that everyone, no matter their age or circumstances, can enjoy. That way, you’ll create a safe space for people to socialize.
Another way to connect employees, especially in a larger organization, is to build a corporate wiki-style database that they can look one another up on, as well as relevant information about their job experience and the types of work that they conduct. Build a corporate wiki in order to give your workers a chance to connect, learn about one another, and work a little harder too.
These databases aren’t difficult to set up; in fact, there are companies that can do it for you, with only a little input from you as a manager. So, if you’re interested in using a database in order to help workers get to know one another, you could do worse than finding the right structure of an internal, wiki-style database to bring into your company.
A call is usually used in a remote company in order to get some important information from A to B. That might come in the form of advice to a colleague, or feedback that’ll help workers produce better work. However, there is another important function of a call: to check in on your co-workers. An innocent call, lasting about half an hour, can give workers a chance to speak freely about their worries or their successes, building confidence in your team.
Calls can be spontaneous or scheduled – it really depends on the type of work you conduct and how busy your dairies are. Make sure you’re encouraging them when you speak to your workers. You should tell them that it’s fine to take some time out every now and then in order to catch up and build those all-important social connections.
Finally, as a manager, you have the power to announce things to your team. Often, you’ll be talking to them about the tasks that they have to do and the things you expect of them. However, you can also announce awards during these emails and calls, drawing attention to a worker or a team that you feel has performed particularly well in the past weeks. This will give your team a chance to celebrate the contribution of a valued member.
It’ll also mean that you’re setting up the opportunity for your team to talk about positive things, like how hard everyone’s working and how well you’ve weathered recent storms. All of these factors make public recognition an excellent way, as a manager, to draw your team together and encourage positive connections. Make sure you’re doing this at least once a month in order to encourage and inspire your workers and to help them to see the worth in their fellow workers.
Make use of the tips contained in this article in order to build stronger connections within your team, even if they’re now working remotely and spending less time in the office.