How to Build Strong Relationships in a Remote Team
Voice and video calls can help you feel more in touch with your team and avoid the issues of asynchronous communication like time lags or misunderstandings.
However, you'll likely spend a lot of your day communicating via text as it’s a good way to interact without interrupting their work. So you need to be able to get your point across clearly and simply, show empathy and understanding, and be efficient to avoid wasted time.
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To better build rapport and counter isolation do the following:
Remote workers can feel overwhelmed by the amount of text they have to process. So finding ways to keep on top of what's going on is imperative for communicating efficiently with others.
Create archive lists and CC irrelevant emails to them, so you can save and share them without flooding non-involved people.
Hanlon's razor refers to the idea that we should always assume ignorance before malice. This is especially important in situations where you're missing context.
If you're communicating via text with co-workers who are multiple time zones away, try to always assume ignorance before malice if you have a misunderstanding.
One way to compensate for the lack of context in remote communication is to be more forward and open than you normally would. But doing so you're more likely to misread and bug people because you lack otherwise obvious physical signs that would let you adjust your behavior tactfully.
To reduce that issue it’s necessary to share that context explicitly with each other. An alternative is to set up rules for common issues ahead of time so everyone is more likely to be open about what they need and friction is reduced.
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A sense of connection and belonging are sentiments that are helpful for building “affective trust” – a form of trust based on emotional bond and interpersonal relatedness.
If your icebreaker questions are intriguing, cheeky, humorous – the answers you receive will be, too.
Many remote teams will kick off their weekly meeting with an icebreaker question or insert it during their morning stand-up meeting. Even more popular is asking a series of icebreaker questions during the onboarding process when hiring someone.
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... that's capable of executing in a remote setup:
In a remote team, you'll need the right tools to make sure everyone stays on the same page and can continue to execute without a physical person standing next to them.
You likely will need a tool in certain categories like group chat and video conferencing to make remote successful.
Good processes let you get work done in the absence of all else. They provide structure and direction for getting things done.
A few examples from Zapier:
Workers crave a sense of authentic connection with others and the best way to do that is by bringing people together in person. But it's not always a viable alternative.
One way to do that...
A co-located office develops its own personality through inside jokes, shared experiences, and a collaborative environment. A remote team needs to develop something similar.
Creating specific Slack channels based on interests and book clubs where the company funds the books are the easiest ways to do this for remote workers.
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