With the foundations in place, build.
Remote working has many upsides. It allows more flexibility, improves work-life balance and can help staff stay productive. However, it can make it more difficult for employees to build and maintain personal connections with their colleagues. There are a few things as a manager you can do to help bring your team together.
Virtual coffee breaks. Don’t make all your meetings about work. Schedule virtual coffee breaks or sessions where team members can come together and chat informally. Not only is this a great way to build camaraderie, but it could have a positive business effect too. For instance, it might help people feel more comfortable reaching out to colleagues and asking questions where they might have been hesitant before. On a larger scale and where possible try and get people together in person for a social activity like bowling or dinner. You can make a quick poll to find a time that suits everyone.
Team building exercises. Consider incorporating team-building exercises into your virtual meetings. It doesn’t have to be something that requires a lot of planning, but a quick icebreaker can help people feel a little more relaxed before getting down to business. This can be a fun way to promote collaboration - even in a work-from-home environment.
Non-verbal cues. In virtual meetings, it can be more difficult to read non-verbal cues. In fact, during the COVID-19 pandemic, so-called ‘Zoom fatigue’ grew exponentially. Make sure to pay attention to body language and tone of voice during virtual meetings. If you notice someone seems a little stressed or not quite themself, reach out to them.
Regular check-ins.Checking in with staff is important - especially in a remote setting. Schedule regular 1:1s with your team. This can be a great way to keep everyone connected and to ensure they feel heard and valued.