7 August, 2020

Innovative ways to stay connected whilst working remotely

By Jurgens Brune

How will our workplaces look in 6, 12 or 18 months? Will companies choose to keep operating on-site, remotely, or will they incorporate a mix of the two? Regardless of your position on this, our ability to keep our teams connected and engaged wherever we are remains a priority.     

With my team spread throughout the country, we’ve had to find new ways to keep in touch and foster our team culture. Here are some of my tips on what’s helped us stay connected in recent months.

Connecting through virtual coffees

Research from the Black Dog Institute shows that staying connected with co-workers has great benefits for the mental wellbeing of teams as well. However, for many leaders, trying to find innovative ways to connect with their teams remotely has posed a significant challenge during this time.

According to Jason Fried, CEO of the project management company Basecamp, “Managers should dedicate time during the workday to allow workers to connect, share ideas and provide support over personal matters during the pandemic. That could mean scheduling a daily check-in or replacing an existing meeting to touch base with one another and connect”

Luckily, we live in a time when staying connected has never been easier. With platforms like Zoom, Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams readily available, there are so many ways to keep in touch with your team and continue to foster company culture.

Consider setting up a time with your team each morning for a “virtual coffee”. Use this time to check-in on each other, set your goals for the day and flag any concerns. You can even send your team a reusable coffee cup which they can bring in to each session as another way to foster connection. 

Actively work on getting to know your team better

A key element in leading a team is knowing your employees well. Taking the time to find out more about them and showing an active interest in their passions, hobbies, and life outside of work will help to build a sense of trust between the team.

As a result of working remotely, you are invited into people’s homes and personal lives. This presents you with a unique opportunity to gain more insights into the lives of your team outside of work, which you can use to get to know them better.

Encourage or even lead the way in starting group chats for your team to share more about their passions, interests and hobbies. This is especially useful when you have new team members join who have not had the opportunity to meet the rest of the group face-to-face. It provides them with a platform to share, get to know the dynamics of the group better and feel engaged.  

Sending a token of appreciation

With all that’s going on, sending a little gift to your team as a ‘thank you’ for all the work they’ve been doing will definitely go a long way. 

Whether it’s the latest in phone cleaning technology, a personalised mug, notebook, or even some facemasks and hand sanitiser to help protect them during these unprecedented times will no doubt be appreciated.

Finding new ways to have fun as a team

Whilst team dinners, after-work drinks and quiz nights may not be possible in person, you can still find ways to facilitate these virtually. 

There is strong evidence that shows creating a little office competition, be it a weekly quiz or worst jumper of the week, can actually increase productivity as long as it’s something that gets people involved, entertained, and engaged. 

So consider organising a weekly quiz, virtual workout or maybe even virtual happy hours with your team. This would give them something to look forward to each week and help shake-up the routine. 

By Jurgens Brune

State Sales Manager VIC & QLD 

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