When you work remotely, your team could be anywhere. Some might be working at home, others at Panera, and depending on your business, some might be in different time zones.
But staying connected throughout the workday is important. Here are several ways to achieve that no matter where your desk is.
1: Fun & Games
Virtual team building can be all fun and games. A quick Google search on the idea brings up endless options that have nothing to do with the job but can build camaraderie online. They range from escape rooms to Bingo to murder mysteries, Pictionary, trivia and more. These types of activities tend to last no more than an hour.
Remote working removes spontaneous chit-chat from the office space or en route to the restroom, kitchen or other gathering space. Consider using a messaging platform like Slack to engage with others during the workday. It’s less formal than email and you can go back and forth just like texting. Only it’s a nice change of pace from a group text and perfect for work hours only.
3: Virtual Brown Bag
A lunch hour on Zoom convenes everybody together in a less formal way. Just don’t make it mandatory. Open up an hour and invite the folks on your team to dine together. Shop talk works, but fun questions like, “What is everybody binging these days?” can start the conversation flowing.
4: Create Mentors
Onboarding is a challenge if you have to do it remotely. To keep your new hire engaged, assign him or her a specific mentor, and have that mentor reach out first. You want your new hire to have someone beside the boss to be able to go to for questions and concerns.
5: Happy Hours Off Hours
Off time is precious to employees. But if you think your team is willing and would like the idea, consider having employees host virtual events after work, whether they’re wine tastings or cooking classes or an online book club.
6: Let’s Groove!
If you’ve got creative folks in your group, you might ask for them to create a playlist and then encourage others to share their workday playlist.
7: Staff Meeting Tip
Now about those staff meetings. . . Collaboration never goes out of style, but a staff meeting for the sake of it often drains folks. If you’re going to hold virtual staff meetings, make them meaningful. Brainstorm something together. Be wary of calling on every single person if it’s a large group. Chances are if your meetings are efficient in the office, they’ll go the same way in a virtual setting.
8: Virtual Office Hours
In college, professors hold office hours. If you’re a manager, set aside a certain amount of time per week that you will be on Zoom or whatever platform you use so your team members can come to you just as if they were knocking on your office door. Maybe no one will come, but it’s good for everyone to know there’s a forum for open lines of communication if necessary.