Remote working isn’t new. It has continued to increase in popularity and statistics each year as it allows more flexibility, better work/life balance, and less time spent commuting. The amount of people who work remotely at least once per week has grown by 400% since 2010. (GetApp) As of 2019, more than half of full-time in-office employees want to work remotely. (Owl Labs)
So, why does this feel so hard? Lack of human connection. Even for those who previously worked remotely full-time, they had natural human connections through coffee shops, running errands, visiting friends, going to the gym, and meetings with clients. Those catapulted into full-time remote working not only lost all of those instances of human connection, but also their workplace environment, office culture, and face-to-face interaction with their teammates.
But that doesn’t have to be the case. Whether working remotely is a regular occurrence for you, or a whole new world, staying connected with your team through this time is vital professionally – and personally. Here are our top 8 tips to keep you ON Point and connected:
- Mix It Up: Every communication doesn’t have to be an email or a zoom session. Picking up the phone for a call can get you to a resolution more quickly while feeling (almost) like you went over to someone’s desk for a quick chat.
- Honor Your Culture: What makes your team or office unique? Why do people enjoy working there? Take your answers and translate them into our virtual world. Do you often eat lunch together? Block off lunch for a team zoom session. Not only will this keep you connected, but it creates a forced break in the day, which often goes by the wayside while working remotely.
- Create Space for Encouragement: It isn’t until it’s gone that we realize how many simple words and actions of encouragement happen throughout the day. Start your next zoom meeting with 5 minutes of shout outs. Create a Slack channel for giving praise. Start an email chain where if you receive an email of recognition, you send one.
- Use Technology Wisely: There is a bountiful amount of applications for remote project management and team communication. You don’t need to use them all. Using too many tools or springing new processes on your team while adjusting to working remotely can do more harm than good. Pick what works best for your organization and create a training session, clearly defining how you will be using these new tools.
- Emphasis on Communication: Don’t let the isolation of working remotely alter your regular communication. Have a question? Communicate. Have an issue? Communicate. Have an idea? Communicate. Have a win? Communicate!
- Be Supportive: This unprecedented time isn’t business as usual. People on your team may be juggling kids, homeschooling, grocery delivery to elderly parents, pets, and more – not to mention the general anxiety that comes with a global crisis. Be supportive and be flexible. Everyone is doing the best they can.
- Plan It Out: With everyone juggling multiple things every day, it is more important than ever to maintain your team calendar platform. Send out meeting planners in advance so people can coordinate with spouses or plan to set up in a quieter area of the house.
- Don’t Forget to Have Fun! Meetings don’t have to be all business all of the time. Taking time to check in with each other will protect your team morale and keep you connected.