It can be pretty challenging to keep a remote team happy and together. Working far from your coworkers makes it hard to connect with them. They start feeling less and less like real people and only like text or voice from a virtual machine.
This can be frustrating for a team leader. After all, we want our team to work well together and get along, which is almost impossible if they are disconnected because of working remotely. So how do you keep your team connected and personable despite not meeting in person?
I talked with Koen Vanpraet, founder and managing director of Limitless Consulting to get his expert advice on this subject. Koen Vanpraet is a business leader, executive, and management consultant with years of experience in the game. He was one of the first to adapt and create strategies for remote work and was more than happy to give me some fantastic advice.
Let’s see what he had to say.
Inviting your team to join you for a virtual coffee break is a great way to boost morale and encourage chat. Virtual coffee can be just as nice and relaxing as a classic coffee break in the break room.
Encourage your team to create their own coffee breaks and mingle with the other team members. Just because they’re at home doesn’t mean they need to stay completely isolated from one another.
Everyone needs to take breaks sometimes, and they might as well do it together! Remember not to force the issue; some people just like being alone, but maybe you can find another way to promote team building.
Maybe your team has some gamers who play the same games; perhaps some people enjoy the same music and would like to listen together. Being remote actually opens up opportunities for your team that wouldn’t be possible in the office.
Start a daily or weekly prompt and encourage people to answer and discuss. Your prompt can be fun, silly questions like “Cats or Dogs and why?”
Keep things light-hearted, don’t force answers, and just have fun with it! This will let everyone get to know each other, stay in touch, and keep them talking with each other.
There are so many benefits of having a team that enjoys each other’s company, and this is a great way to help them get to know each other.
Beyond daily public discussions, Koen Vanpraet likes to encourage breakaway groups and group chats. This gives members a chance to talk privately and build more personal relationships with each other. You can share a lot of things in these group chats, like your favorite movies, books for inspiration, and many more.
Koen Vanpraet says that most of the time, the daily prompt will result in members personally messaging each other and building their own group chats. Like always, he highly recommends not forcing the issue but instead gently encouraging it.
Although, if you do force the issue, you’ll give your team a common enemy!
The ugly sweater contest is one of Koen Vanpraet’s favorite office traditions, and he refused to break it just because his team went remote. Having fun little contests like this is a great way to keep your team’s morale up and encourage them to have fun and intermingle with each other.
Have a pet day where everyone can show off their pets. Have a Halloween costume contest and other team building activities. There are so many ways to have fun, even if you’re not in the office. If anything, people can enjoy themselves more while they’re at home!