Use Video - Deepstash

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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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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 video calls, so you come across as being more credible.
  • set a finish time before starting a conversation with someone new to reduce the initial wariness.
  • Be more likable and validate others by listening to them and suspending your ego. Put aside your wish to contribute to the conversation and ask short, open questions like how, when, and why.
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. 

Visibility As A Valuable Remote Work Skill
Visibility As A Valuable Remote Work Skill

Visibility at work is when you are included, recognized, and valued by networks within your organization. Its how you get credit for your work, get considered for advancement and build influence.

Visibility is also necessary for teams. Research points out that remote team members who don't feel "seen" are less collaborative, innovative, and supportive of each other. Remote teams can face isolation from company culture, lack of face time with management, fewer informal networking opportunities, time zones, and technological problems.

The Benefits Of More Face Time

Research found those who get more face time with management by being co-located are assigned better work assignments from their managers, are awarded promotions more frequently, and are less aware of their remote counterparts.

Many companies have learned how to integrate remote work into their business. Now is the time to set up structures to support the visibility and growth of remote teams long-term.

Creating A Digital Office That Feels Connected

There are four steps to it:

  • Communicate frequently.
  • Cultivate a shared identity and purpose.
  • Be dependable, reliable, and accessible.
  • Connect with others authentically.

To key to building a culture of visibility with your remote team is perceived proximity, where your remote team members feel connected to others mentally and emotionally. In the physical work environment, you feel comfortable talking to people, regardless of rank. However, you may feel more awkward to ping the CEO a question in chat when you've never seen them in the lunch line or said hi in the hallway.

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. And trust the people you hire;
  • Hire people who cand write: communication is one of the most important parts of a remote team - good writers are critical to a team's success.
  • Hire people who are ok without a social workplace.
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.