Strategies to Encourage Employee Relationships in a Remote Workforce
Building relationships in a remote work setting can be an incredibly difficult hurdle for teams and organizations to navigate. In an in-person environment, employees can more naturally connect and collaborate with one another. Without the physical workplace, it becomes much more challenging for employees to sustain these interpersonal activities. As a result, remote teams often become less connected.
By taking the right steps, you and your staff can facilitate remote relationship building on your team, ensuring that you have a strong foundation to help achieve your business goals.
Establish Calendar Blocks for Casual Chatting
Unlike in office spaces, employees cannot virtually bump into each other or have impromptu chats. Blocking time on your calendar to dedicate time for these interactions can promote balance and collaboration in your day. This reserved time can also help make collaborating and problem-solving simpler in the future as employees are consistently connecting and building their relationships.
Know When to Pick up the Phone
Written communication has significant benefits for project interactions, but emails or instant messages cannot always convey the complexity of your intended tone or message. Consider picking up the phone for more complex or sensitive topics to help prevent possible challenges caused by misinterpretation or miscommunication.
Encourage Video Usage
While not every call requires video, utilizing this function regularly allows for your team to continue to connect in a more personal way and can aid in communication. In virtual environments, coworkers can go for weeks or months without seeing each other in person. Adding video into the mix adds back in a layer of nonverbal communication that can be critical to the continuance of team collaboration and rapport.
Make sure you are available when you are not actively working on a project so that you are able to engage in moments of connection and collaboration with your teammates. Maintaining this availability shifts your balance and invites these opportunities. This can be done through virtual “walk-in” hours, having a personalized Teams status, or sending out an email to communicate availability and interest.
Consider a Virtual Breakroom
Most businesses provide breakrooms to encourage employees to step away from their desks and unwind throughout the workday. Providing a digital break space could be a great substitute in the absence of a physical option. A “virtual breakroom” could offer a space for employees to hop on and have that same social break a physical space provides.
Make a Big Deal About the Small Stuff
With employee interactions being less frequent in a virtual environment, small wins can get lost in the mix. Pointing out and celebrating small things encourages your employees and helps them feel seen by each other, forming a stronger bond. These can be as simple as recognizing a great idea in a meeting or acknowledging the completion of a project or task. Additionally, regular affirmation and encouragement is likely to result in happier employees, which in turn will lead to a happier, more successful team and organization.
While most businesses will not be remote forever, providing the right tools can help build employee relationships, empower your remote workforce, and make your brand stronger and more resilient in the future.
Avtex understands that this isn’t always easy. That’s why we work with our clients to develop a solution that is right for their unique needs. If your organization is looking to improve your employee experience, we would love to support you.