A year and a half into the pandemic, we’ve seen both the benefits and the drawbacks of working from home. Since it seems like remote work is here to stay (at least for the foreseeable future), the onus is now on team leaders to minimize any of those drawbacks. Employee experience should always be first and foremost, no matter where they’re working.
In our experience, the biggest pain point of remote work is the isolation and lack of camaraderie and communication that can take hold. Feeling like you’re part of a team is central to small business success, but this can be difficult when everyone is siloed at their kitchen table by themselves.
There are number of strategies team leaders can use to solve this main pain point of working from home. Here’s how our remote team stays connected.
Connection, Connection, Connection
When you think about your coworkers, you probably think about their quirky jokes or their funny socks or their habit of always bringing leftovers for lunch. In other words, you probably think about your personal connection with them and their unique personalities, instead of your last head-down work session with them.
The reality is that we work better as a team when we feel like we’re a team. To feel like a team, we have to feel like we know, like and trust our coworkers. And to feel like we know, like and trust them, we have to spend time with them.
We’re not talking about Zoom meetings and work calls, although those are important. We’re talking about all the fun, non-work-related interactions that go into building a good, organic relationship.
Slack is one of our favourite apps for keeping remote teams connected, but it doesn’t have to be for strictly business work. Use it to keep the ‘water cooler’ feeling alive by having some fun channels going. Get creative and let it be a space to share jokes, pet pictures, movie recommendations and the like.
Also consider annual retreats or semi-annual get-togethers to encourage socialization. We find that since our team is all remote, it’s refreshing and important to spend time and connect in person. We had a ‘selfie scavenger hunt’ on our last corporate event and loved it. And never underestimate the value of a collaborative online game. Maybe blowing off steam on Friday afternoons with a weekly round of Jeopardy! will be just the thing.
Coffee Shop Days
No office means no office culture. Many companies use remote work simply because they can’t afford real estate costs. But of course, there are many options today beyond the office.
So can you plan a day where you all work in the same coffee shop? Is there a local park near everyone with Wi-Fi? What about coworking spaces? Even meeting for a working lunch here and there can be great for morale.
Encourage Your Team Members To Develop A Routine
We all know the feeling of being busy at work, so that the day flies by. Similarly, when you’re not engaged, minutes can feel like hours. So, encourage your team members to get organized and be consistent in their routines. Staying productive when working from home can go a long way towards helping you feel more engaged and challenged (in a good way).
Finally, if you’re still struggling, see 6 more tips for leading your remote team here.
And remember that even though we’re remote, our team is always here to help with your virtual accounting needs. Contact us to learn more.