In today’s work environment, it’s more commonplace than ever to not only have a majority remote workplace but to also have members of your team whom you have yet to meet face-to-face. Many organizations have realized the countless benefits of remote work environments for everyone involved. Although there are many reasons to operate remotely, such as optimized employee work-life, and overhead and operating cost savings, running remote work environments can offer challenges as well. The primary challenge is fostering a sense of community and engagement among teams.
When entering the remote workforce, if someone would have told us that team members who lived in the same state or city would be virtual strangers to us, we may not have believed them. How could we work so closely with someone we’ve never physically met? Wouldn’t it be difficult to collaborate, brainstorm, or even build a healthy working relationship with someone who didn’t share the same workspace? Today, we realize the importance of making sure that all of those things and more are a part of our work dynamics in order to ensure we operate a seamless team.
Here are four best practices that are sure to help you:
- Establish a buddy system. When it comes to getting to know your team, nothing does the job quite like pairing up. With the buddy system, members of a team who may not regularly work together commit to linking up for a monthly check-in via video chat or phone. It’s important to use this time as an opportunity to learn more about their background, skills, or personal goals. You can discuss anything you like, as long as the goal is to gain a mutual understanding and learn more about one another.
- Using professional messaging programs to foster daily conversations. These days platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Hangout are a great way to communicate with members of your team during the day to ensure everyone can weigh in on projects and updates in a timely manner. They can also be used as a fun way to make announcements, share funny stories, or celebrate achievements. If used correctly, you can use these communication tools to build camaraderie, have fun, and get the job done—all in an honest day’s work.
- Make special announcements extra special! Everyone is welcoming of a good distraction every now and then—especially one that calls for celebration. We invite you to take full advantage of special occasions such as birthdays, life events, team spotlights, new hire welcomes, and landing brand new clients. So, the next time you have some good news, send a mass email to your team with a fun GIF, inviting everyone to chime in and acknowledge the good news. This helps build morale and lets the team chime in on your celebration. It also reminds you of the fact that you have the full weight of your team’s support behind you.
- Stay up to date on team collaboration tools and resources. Think of how helpful project management software like Trello and Asana are at keeping your team on track to hitting your goal. By using a visual aid to map out the project details, everyone is aware of who to contact for an update on the project and who is responsible for each task. File sharing tools such as Google Drive and Microsoft OneTeam are ways to work as a team on one document to centralize and streamline the process to save time and keep the lines of communication open.
When it comes to working on a remote team, it’s important to keep an open mind, communicate openly and honestly, and seek out ways to connect with your teammates on a consistent basis. Keeping a desire to understand the viewpoints of others is the best way to foster a collaborative environment that benefits everyone involved.
If you’re interested in joining a network of professionals who can assist you in reaching your goals of thriving in your role with helpful tips and community support, check out The Admin Community.