Since the pandemic began, working remotely has become a way of life globally. Aside from emergency services, most organizations implemented a socially distanced modus operandi. Some places have resumed work at physical locations while many are continuing to or have permanently become remote.
While organizations are gradually adapting to these transitions, many are struggling to figure out how to build trust among employees and stay connected virtually. This is especially valid for workers who were recruited by companies remotely and have had only virtual interactions with their employers. In addition, balancing daily meetings with household work has led to stress, fatigue, and reduced productivity among most employees.
In such situations, building engagement with teams requires developing a relationship-building strategy and collaborating with department managers to determine how to effectively implement that strategy. In this article, we shall explore why it is important to organize team-building projects even when your team is fully remote and how you can build a better relationship with your remote employees.
Importance of engaging with teams that work remotely
Team building is an extremely crucial component of managing and developing a strong relationship with your team. This applies to both physically present and remote teams. Team building is often neglected because of an absence in prioritizing needs or time constraints.
Spending time on maintaining trust with remote teams can have a significant impact in addressing some of the issues employees face. Research indicates that loneliness and maintaining a work-life balance make up the two biggest concerns facing 38% of physically distant workers.
To address these issues, social activities and exercises centering on team building can be implemented. A strategy for strengthening teams that identifies the needs and issues of employees can help you develop techniques that could keep your employees motivated, energized, and on track to accomplishing their goals. Executing these techniques can help your workers navigate some of the challenges commonly faced due to remote work. Your team members will feel empowered to create their own methods for improving productivity and happiness at work.
The importance of engaging with remote teams cannot be emphasized enough. Team building activities can improve communication and creativity internally. It helps to break down barriers between various departments in an organization and reveals hidden talents. In the long term, it will also enable your employees to handle and resolve conflicts better and build trust.
Developing a strategy for connecting with your employees: Translating trust into action
When developing a strategy for building momentum with your team, there are three questions you should consider with your managers:
- How could we translate trust into action within our team?
- What team-building activities are working well for our team?
- What can we do to inspire trust in each other?
Let us look at the significance of each question and its connection to our objective. When thinking about trust, it is worth mentioning that trust does not develop immediately. Teams are constantly working through obstacles while adjusting to remote methods of communication. Adjustment becomes easier when shared principles guide them through the conflict resolution process.
Trusting teams can grow by engaging in healthy conflict. They can negotiate viewpoints, discuss how to move forward, and later, hold each other accountable for results. Since you are hoping to build trust virtually, you may need to communicate and clarify things more often than usual if you were working in person.
You can eliminate troubles facing your co-workers by asking explicitly what obstacles they are facing, regardless of how minor they are, while working remotely. Schedule quick check-ins with your team members to replicate casual, everyday conversation. You can text or use video chat to touch base with your team. You can also create a shared organizational calendar to inform others when you are busy or available.
Many employers are transitioning to a remote work system for the first time. It is understandable if the rules for communicating need to be re-written several times before arriving at a solution that works best for everyone. A high level of productivity over a virtual work system can be achieved through effective communication.
In addition to proper communication, it is important to keep people’s well-being in mind. Try to give at least two meeting-free days in a week. This will allow people to be more productive at work. Many people are taking care of children or assisting elderly parents at home. Give your employees the flexibility to step away from work when they need to. Minimize phone or video calls when not required.
Remember to appreciate your employees for their efforts and show empathy when they need it. The relationship that you build with your employees will reflect upon how they will feel about working for your organization and its teams. TalenX can help determine how you can strategically organize your workforce in a manner that will enable your employees to trust you more.
Choosing the right team building activities for your organization
Building teams remotely is more difficult since every team has its unique character. Having multiple types of teams and diverse behavior profiles imply that varying solutions will apply to the problems faced by each team.
In remote work environments, managers and CEOs need to be more intentional about engaging with their employees and organizing events. Unlike office spaces which offer more enhanced team-building opportunities, meetings over video calls may not be as conducive to relationship development. As a result, leaders need to ask themselves what kinds of activities are functioning well for their organizations and which ones are not.
A useful way to determine whether your team is engaging well with each other is by identifying certain aspects of your team. Consider the number of employees in your organization and how many separate departments are there. Find out the length of the activity you are planning to do and how much preparation you need to execute it.
Based on the personality of your group, open-ended activities might be ideal for you since people who are extroverts tend to enjoy these activities. Or it may be better to have activities that involve a high level of sharing or collaboration since your group functions well together. You can also try several virtual icebreakers that would enable people to refresh their minds and focus better. When you try a range of activities, you learn what works best for your team. It also indicates to your team members they are cared for, which will make them want to stay connected with the organization.
Inspiring trust within each other
Organizations that trust each other can achieve a lot more than those which do not. Fostering trust among your team members prevents people from questioning others’ motives, actions, and leadership. It also teaches your co-workers to have confidence in themselves and each other.
To instill trust among employees, an employer needs to establish a baseline for inclusion within the organization. Inclusion means creating a space where people feel safe emotionally, physically, and mentally in making contributions. It also means giving people a voice to share their grievances or issues they encounter. TalenX provides solutions for building an inclusive workspace that combines diverse human potential with better productivity.
Employers should give remote workers opportunities to interact and a platform to openly discuss issues. Provide leadership opportunities to your newer employees, whether it is at organizing events or delivering a presentation. Organize a social event on the last Friday of every month. Also, touch base with your team members and individually (depending on your organization’s size) and ask if there is any other project or task they would be interested in doing. In this manner, you can make the most use of your employees’ talent and inspire them to do good work.
Other ways to cultivate trust within a remote team
When transitioning an existing team to a remote system or building a new team virtually, use your team’s onboarding time to establish a clear sense of purpose and unity. You can achieve this by outlining goals and letting your team know that it is their job to collaboratively attain those goals. As an aid, highlight what strength each employee brings to the team and clarify how contributions made by each member will play a role in influencing the outcomes of that team.
Remote teams may have an advantage when it comes to how they can communicate. Unlike in office environments where unnecessary meetings can consume a lot of your time, working remotely enables people to connect with you only when they need something, thereby saving time. There is a vast range of tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc., that you can use to communicate with your co-workers. Establish a uniform system or channel for communicating within the organization.
It is also beneficial to have opportunities for building personal connections with your employees. In addition to monthly socials, you can have a private group on Facebook for sharing birthday reminders or fun content. By engaging with your employees on a personal level, you can make them better invested and united in achieving success for the organization.