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How to bring remote teams together: 5 ways to build authentic connections

Use Video

Weekly video check-ins or catch-ups are fantastic ways to create a sense of community and belongingness:

  • Start with a welcome and an agenda. Update everyone and set the tone by chatting a few minutes.
  • Celebrate accomplishments. Let people know about exciting news and changes.
  • Give a high-level update on the progress of company-wide goals.
  • Give each team a chance to share major updates, concerns, or questions.
  • Do a Q&A session, real-time or with anonymous forms ahead of time for sensitive topics.
  • At the end of the call, make groups of people who may not normally connect and let them talk more personally.

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How to bring remote teams together: 5 ways to build authentic connections

How to bring remote teams together: 5 ways to build authentic connections

https://blog.rescuetime.com/remote-working-community/

blog.rescuetime.com

7

Key Ideas

Make Time To Connect

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 is to try to give everyone the same day off, give people a “theme” for an activity of their choosing on that day, and find a way for the team to share their adventures. This could be during a team call or a shared photo library.

Communication

  • Set clear expectations and make an effort to be a good listener.
  • Set clear boundaries. Establish a preferred time for communications so you feel respected and acknowledged.
  • Get to know others. Remote workers often have purely transactional interactions. Listen to people and get to know them.
  • Update people on what you’re working on and your availability

Use Shared Experiences

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.

Take Advantage Of Special Events

Learning about someone takes time and effort. But it also helps you as a team connect on a deeper level. One of the best ways to do this is with a game called Conspiracy Santa, a version of Secret Santa in which the team works together to pick the perfect gift:
  • Set a budget for presents and a date for your ‘gift-opening party’
  • An email thread goes out to everyone except the receiver of the gift
  • Everyone replies about what they know about this person and then proposes gift ideas.
  • Agree on a gift (which the company will purchase)
  • Get together over video chat on the day of the ‘party’ to open gifts and talk about them.

Use Video

Weekly video check-ins or catch-ups are fantastic ways to create a sense of community and belongingness:

  • Start with a welcome and an agenda. Update everyone and set the tone by chatting a few minutes.
  • Celebrate accomplishments. Let people know about exciting news and changes.
  • Give a high-level update on the progress of company-wide goals.
  • Give each team a chance to share major updates, concerns, or questions.
  • Do a Q&A session, real-time or with anonymous forms ahead of time for sensitive topics.
  • At the end of the call, make groups of people who may not normally connect and let them talk more personally.

The Cons Of Remote Working

  • Remote workers often feel lonely without in-person connection and that can impact their abilities and productivity.
  • It takes more effort to bond with people you only interact virtually
  • Human beings need social and face-to-face interaction to build trust and understanding.
  • Remote working brings more instances of miscommunication due to the lack of physical feedback.

Psychological Safety

Research indicates that successful teams foster “psychological safety”. This is a culture characterized by interpersonal trust and mutual respect, where people are comfortable being themselves.

Teams with psychological safety are more creative. They’re more trusting. They’re more innovative. And most of all, they’re more connected. 

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Building Rapport Remotely

To better build rapport and counter isolation do the following:

  • smile, tilt your chin lower so you're not looking down on them, and slow down your speech during your vid...
Relying On Text The Right Way

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.

Staying Up To Date

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. 

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Assembling the Team

... that's capable of executing in a remote setup:

  • Hire doers: they will get stuff done even if they are working from a secluded island.
  • Hire people you can trust....
Software/Tools

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.

Processes

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:

  • Weekly Hangouts;
  • Weekly One-on-Ones;
  • Bring the team together 2 times/year somewhere cool;
  • Automate anything that can be automated.
Personal Connection

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.

It vari...

Statistics On Remote Workers
  • Loneliness was reported as the biggest downside for 21% of remote employees, and one of the reasons that makes them more likely to quit.
  • Most remote managers say they’d be more inclined to stay if they had more friends at work.
  • Individuals who have 15 minutes to socialize with colleagues have a 20% increase in performance over their peers who don't.
  • Positive social relationships are correlated with better life expectancy.
Dynamic Icebreakers

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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