5 Ideas for Sustaining Team Cohesion While Working Remotely
It’s not always easy to maintain team cohesion when team members are working remotely. Fortunately, several actions can be implemented by the company to address this: informal contacts, video conferences, remote team building, virtual social gatherings… This article sheds light on the topic.
Since the beginning of the lockdown, remote work has been widely and urgently adopted. Today, it has become commonplace.
And that’s great because both employees and managers enjoy remote work. Less time wasted in commuting, improved quality of life, better work-life balance… The benefits of remote work are numerous.
However, not everything is as simple as it seems.
The drawbacks of remote work on team cohesion
While remote work offers many advantages to employees and companies, it also comes with some disadvantages:
- Direct communication is slowed down.
- Collective intelligence is hindered.
- Collective objectives can be forgotten.
- Company culture diminishes.
- Employees can feel isolated.
- Team dynamics decrease.
Building team cohesion is more challenging in a remote setup. Yet, its business impact is significant.
How to Maintain Team Dynamics Remotely?
To strengthen relationships and maintain team cohesion, even in a remote work environment, certain actions can be taken:
- Managers motivate their teams from a distance, maintain and encourage relationships among colleagues (as well as with hierarchy).
- They prioritize transparent and direct communication.
- As in-person meetings become less frequent, managers keep their teams aligned with the company’s values and take necessary measures to facilitate interactions.
5 Ideas to Preserve Remote Team Cohesion
So, practically speaking, how can team cohesion be maintained from a distance and how can a sense of unity be preserved when team members haven’t seen each other for weeks?
Here are 5 ideas to increase creativity, nurture warm social relationships among colleagues, and strengthen the sense of cohesion from a distance.
Hold Video Conferences
Video conferencing helps stay in touch and enhance remote team cohesion. Organize weekly team video conferences and invite your team members. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with each other in a less formal setting.
Arrange Remote Team Building
Team-building activities have significant importance in the workplace. They bond colleagues around a common goal.
And remember, team building isn’t limited to just sports activities…
To foster team cohesion remotely, plan a virtual treasure hunt. Organize team challenges. You can even invite your team members to visit a virtual museum like Buckingham Palace, the Belgian Comic Strip Center, or the Guggenheim, for instance.
Schedule Coffee Breaks
Coffee breaks provide a good excuse to gather with colleagues and chat about casual topics. You can take it a step further by organizing virtual team lunches: order pizza for each team member at the same time and use this opportunity to strengthen remote team cohesion.
Host Virtual Happy Hours
Want to talk about something other than work with your employees? Looking to boost team dynamics from a distance? Organize virtual happy hours! A good internet connection, an app like Teams or Zoom, and you’re all set.
These moments of relaxation allow for stepping out of the professional context. For added comfort, plan small-group happy hours. Encourage your team members to have some snacks and a drink of their choice ready.
Create a WhatsApp Group for the Company
Lastly, if you haven’t done so yet, create a WhatsApp group for your company. Your team members can share funny or amusing photos, anecdotes, or even jokes there. Laughter fosters team cohesion, so don’t hold back!
Remote work has its advantages, but also some drawbacks. Don’t wait for feelings of isolation to creep in before rekindling the bonds among your team members. To maintain team cohesion from a distance, make sure you have the right tools: a good internet connection, a subscription to Zoom, Teams, or Google Hangouts…
And most importantly, approach it with willingness, positivity, and energy. Be creative and imaginative. A united team brings a positive atmosphere to the company… and better results.