Updated: Aug 25
Running a remote team might be a challenge for many team leaders. But it can also be helpful and beneficial for a company that isn’t able to provide office space for more than a certain amount of employees. Additionally, during times of public health crisis (ahem, coronavirus, we’re looking at you), there may be additional reasons to have your employees work from home.In order to make sure that your team works well together, you need to work on making them feel like they are an actual team. Even if there are thousands of miles separating them, they need to feel united. Team building activities are the best way to achieve this.Here’s how to join up your team no matter where they are.
Use a common communication platform
The very first thing you should be doing in order to make sure that both you and your local team members are able to communicate efficiently with your remote workers is to offer them a way to communicate easily and effectively.
While emails might be a good option, there are plenty of other tools they can and should use in order to be able to stay in contact all the time. Some of the most popular options include WhatsApp Messenger, Facebook Messenger, and Google Hangouts Chat.
All of these communication tools are essential to the bonding of a physical team with remote workers. In order to bond your team, you will need to make sure they have a way to stay in touch and help one another whenever they need it, even if they are not at their office.
Assign new remote members to a “buddy”
We know, we know, this sounds like something you might do in primary school on a field trip. But welcoming new team members and teaching them how everything works is something that can prove to be a difficult task if the team isn’t working in the same office space. This is exactly why the “buddy” system is a good solution.
The point of this idea is to assign a new team member that is remote with a seasoned team member who will be able to show them how to get things done. It will also help them understand any complex aspects of the job.
You can even go as far as assigning a new “buddy” to your new employee each week so they can come in contact with the working style and responsibilities of each existing team member.Not only will they get to know the work better and the responsibilities of their colleagues, but they will also feel more included. Another benefit is the existing team will also feel more connected to the new remote member. Taking this step to include them in the work-flow will help everyone function better as a whole.
Hold meetings when everyone is available
Meetings are an essential part of tracking and evaluating a team’s performance. But when some of the members of the team are not there physically, this can prove to be tricky. One of the main issues many teams with remote workers face is managing to hold meetings at a convenient time, because of the different time-zones the members might be in.
The best way to overcome this issue is to try and find a convenient time to hold team meetings. This could mean that they have to be during the weekend, late at night or an early morning and that every member will have to participate from their homes.
In fact, this might be a strategy that will help even the remote members feel more included. They won’t have to worry about being the only ones who will not be present physically in the meeting room.
Team meetings can help any team function with more unison. So making sure to include everyone in the meetings will be of great benefit to your team.
Communicate with all members individually
Remote workers might often be in need of help but they might not feel comfortable asking their team members they don’t know very well. As a team leader, it is your job to make sure everyone feels comfortable enough with one another and asks for help when they need it.
This whole philosophy should start with you as the main example.When welcoming someone new to the team, it is essential to remind them that they can reach out for help or guidance whenever they need it. Keep your messaging apps and your emails open and reach out to them to check up on their progress.The more open and approachable you are, the easier it will be for your team to adapt to this mentality and adopt it too.
Communicating with each member individually and helping them out with whatever they need will show them how they should be helpful to their coworkers. This is especially relevant to the ones that aren’t able to work in the same office space as them.
Share daily updates
One of the most important things a team leader can do is keep their team updated when it comes to the things they have achieved together. By giving them daily updates of their progress, your team will be able to see what they have achieved as a whole. It also reminds them of how important it is to work together.When it comes to your remote workers, daily updates will help them feel even more included. They will be able to see that they work they put into your project pays off, even if they are further away than the rest of the team.Daily updates can also be about upcoming projects, future team meetings or any changes in your original plans. Whatever you have to share with your team, even if it is a simple reminder for them to keep working just as hard, it should be shared on a common group chat. Then everyone will be able to share their opinions and come in contact with the rest of the members of the team and provide encouragement or input.
Make every member feel included
There are plenty of team building activities you can do in order to make your team members feel more comfortable with one another. It is essential that you try and make everyone feel more comfortable and included in everything that the team does on a daily basis.
Working with remote workers might be new to your members or even to you. But it certainly is an experience which can help your team move forward and allow you to establish new, beneficial habits to your existing strategies. This will work out even better when your team has established a great system of communication and trust.
Kristin Savage is interested in writing and planning to publish her own book in the nearest future. Also, she has been a reviewer at Pick Writers for a few years and is known for her thorough approach to accurately assess newcomer translation services. You can find her on Facebook.