It has been said that remote work will be here to stay at least for a while, and we all need adapting to new ways of working. While we can learn to telecommute effectively, it is not a given. It takes creativity and effort to stay connected and engaged with one another.
It is already a challenge to create a positive physical work space, and to manage remote work teams dynamically seems untenable. Nevertheless, there are companies that have successfully thrived in creating great remote work spaces.
Here are some common denominators:
1. Show Empathy
Remote work is new to many, and not everyone is tech-savvy. For some the learning curve is steeper than others. It is important to show empathy, patience and availability to help during this time of transition.
This may be a stressful transition for some, thus keeping open communication channels for dialogues and addressing concerns is good practice.
2. Stay Connected
One of the biggest transitions for remote working is the lack of human interactions and structure. By encouraging employees to stay connected with one another, as they would do when in the physical office space alleviates isolation.
A good way to help your remote teams feel less cut off is perhaps to create “coffee-breaks” during the week to “meet” and “chat”.
3. Mimic in-person meetings
When creating virtual meetings, it is good to mimic how in-person meetings are conducted. It means, to encourage your remote teams to have video calls instead of just phone calls. This will help to create a “face-to-face” connection for better assessment of how each other is doing physically, emotionally and mentally.
“Face-to-face” connections certainly help in better communication and collaboration, just like how it would be when in-person.
4. Build a “Virtual” Camaraderie Spirit
Besides work meetings and “coffee-breaks”, apportion time as a team or an organization where people “get-together” in a virtual “pantry” over lunch to chat about non-work-related matters.
You might even consider creating interests-based channels on your internal messaging platform (if you have one), so that employees can post and share pictures of things that they have been doing besides remote working.
This becomes a creative and fun platform where teams can be connected by sharing their lives more than just the work they do. It is a small but powerful way of building a camaraderie spirit, albeit remotely
5. Have Fun although Physically Apart
It is definitely easier to physically connect with physical and personal interactions. With video meetings, while there is sense of detachment; it also opens a window of opportunity for our domestic selves.
Some of us do our video calls from our dining table, living room or balcony. These backdrops could be turned into conversations pieces that allow us know each other better. Or, if you are more comfortable using a virtual background image, you can consider uploading a holiday scene you took, or a family meal photo; and these images can be refreshed every other week.
They are non- intimidating and fun icebreakers that help ease the sometimes-awkward silences in virtual meetings. Occasional virtual team building, bonding events, or social activities can also be fun when we are physically apart from each other.
While this pandemic has created a plethora of new challenges for organizations and individuals, it is not unsurmountable to make remote work meaningful, engaging and fun. We just need to stay focus, resilient and support each other on till we see the light at the end of the tunnel!
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