Remote working, or telecommuting, is quickly becoming a normal part of our professional lives. We’re seeing it first-hand: Technology enables so much collaboration to occur from anywhere. As many teams gain their footing in a newly-remote working environment, things keep rolling along. But in an age of work-from-home, how do you keep your team feeling all-in-one?
Below are 5 ways to keep your remote team connected, engaged and motivated.
- Get creative with video (or don’t depending on each person’s comfort level).
- Enhance your process by using project management pro tips, like the Pomodoro Technique and others.
- Promote collaboration by asking open-ended questions and sharing advice.
- Create fun traditions, like a Question-of-the-Day, share ‘my current view’ pictures or have a team contest.
- Encourage mutually beneficial mentorship connections when people show initiative.
1. Get Creative Over Video
Video is nothing new in terms of staying connected. But if you can’t or don’t want to show your face, there are other creative ways to stay in touch through tech. Teams across the world are doing more daily stand-ups, ad hoc discussions, and even remote happy hours through conferencing platforms like Zoom, WebEx, and Google Hangouts just to name a few. Whatever your tool of choice is, pick one and plan to meet up regularly for business (and some personal) chat time.
PRO TIP: Whenever possible, use a headset or AirPods to reduce the amount of feedback that could be coming from your laptop’s mic/speakers.
On the flip side: Don’t force it. Be flexible. If you get a sense that certain people on your team aren’t comfortable being on camera (either they always have their video off, or when they do, they’re sitting far back from the screen), find other ways to stay connected. Maybe they’re more comfortable syncing up over instant messenger or old-fashioned phone calls. More-introverted folks may not be as comfortable close-up on video. And since true creativity thrives within a trusting environment, seek to help team members feel most comfortable.
2. Enhance Your Processes
Another tech-related tip: Use (or expand your usage of) a project management tool, like Asana, Trello or something similar. These tools have a slew of features that can help boost productivity and keep your remote team feeling connected and aware of each other’s work.
Here are some of our favorite PM pro tips:
- Work in long sprints using the Pomodoro Technique.
- Reserve time in your calendar for scheduled project work.
- Set Slackbot reminders with ease using the slash command ‘/remind [WHO] on [WHEN] to [WHAT]’ from any Slack message field.
- Keep a physical to-do list for the day and write the list the night before. Then, you start the next day with your list of priorities. Focus on the ‘big rocks’ first. It feels uplifting to cross things off your list.
3. Promote Collaboration
Promoting true collaboration in a 100% remote office environment can be challenging. But along the lines of building a culture of trust, you can take steps to encourage teamwork and openness.
Share advice and new tidbits you’ve learned. Encourage your team to also share what they’ve learned. It can be professional or personal. Consider adding this type of topic to your regular meeting agenda, or initiate a new IM thread. To promote team dynamics, some companies create a dedicated Slack channel or even host a recurring video call dedicated to non-business chatter like pop culture, news and events, or just light-hearted catching up.
PRO TIP: In case you’re not aware, use the Slack slash command ‘/giphy [KEYWORD]’ and let your GIF-flair soar!
Another way to encourage collaboration is to pose open-ended questions. Whether it’s a problem you encounter or a trending topic up for debate, when you elicit the input from others, you invite them into the conversation and ultimately you create space for growth and bonding all around.
4. Create Fun Traditions
Amidst rearranging your entire B2B marketing budget for 2020, don’t forget to have fun along the way. You used to laugh together in the office, so don’t lose that just because you work remotely now.
Share good news, achievements and other accomplishments with each other. Err on the side of over-communicating the wins to help boost morale and keep everyone feeling like they’re working towards common goals.
Here are some pro tips for creating fun traditions with your remote team:
- Take turns answering a particular Question-of-the-Day to get to know each other better.
- Post a #mylife picture on your team channel, to share something fun about your life with the team.
- Hold a team competition or contest (best Zoom background image, anyone?)
- Host optional team gatherings online, like virtual workout classes, a group meditation session, or host a lunch and learn (send out a DoorDash or Postmates eGift card in advance and encourage people to order in and eat during the session)
- Share cultural traditions with each other (cuisine, holidays, etc.)
5. Encourage Mentorship
During times of transition, the best team members will seek out opportunities for growth. If you have someone eager to learn more or train on a particular topic, work to cultivate that. As a leader, consider introducing them to a mentor within the organization, someone willing and eager to teach someone else. It’s a win:win since the trainee gains knowledge, and the trainer (if this type of person) will find intrinsic value in teaching others.
PRO TIP: Try and identify mutually beneficial mentor relationships as much as possible. Of course one will always be more experienced than the other, but in an era of rapid technology innovation and social changes, even the most experienced professionals can benefit from getting the perspective and embracing input from the younger generation.
If a mentor relationship isn’t feasible, help them secure an industry training course or two (many of which can be done online). Deloitte’s research found that a key factor in retaining Millennials in the workplace is mentorship: “Those intending to stay with their organization for more than five years are twice as likely to have a mentor (68%) than not (32%).”
So there you have it: Five (5) different areas of professional life that can enhance the connectivity between your remote team members. Did you find something new on the list? Give it a try and tell us how it goes! Connect with us on Twitter or LinkedIn.