Working from home is now a requirement for many,
how to stay connected with your colleagues remotely while working from home. Companies
transitioning to working remotely can maintain team cohesion and fulfil social
needs through virtual activities and communication
As the coronavirus continues to spread, companies
are feeling the pressure to work from home in order to stay safe. For those who
work virtually as a regular practice, this disruption may only be minor.
However, many small businesses are not as prepared or
experienced when it comes to working from home. In fact, only few people are
set up in a way that allows them to work from home. Thus, many may be
experiencing more severe disruption.
Here are some suggestions to maintain team cohesion
and fulfil the social needs of your teams while we transition to work from home:
Create new team rituals
Just like you have regular daily habits with your
team in the office, you’ll now have to create new routines and rituals that
work virtually. Here are a few suggestions.
Weekly virtual coffee
Consider setting a regularly scheduled time for
your team each week to catch up over coffee in a group video conference. This
time can be separate from your regular team meetings, and you can simply chat
over a coffee and talk about what’s happening in your life as you would in the
If you’re missing the socialization over lunch,
consider setting up lunch dates over video chat with people on your team. You
could also mention in your virtual company forums, that you’re interested in
having lunch over video chat with people as if you were in your company
Activities don’t need to be anything big. They can
be as simple as everyone reading the same article and sharing their thoughts,
attending a webinar, starting a book club, or participating in a weekly
meditation as a group.
While working remotely, it’s important to
over-communicate whenever possible. This can mean repeating your messages
several times, or reposting content and announcements on several channels and
platforms to make sure they reach everyone. Here are a few ideas to implement
within your teams.
Morning status updates
If your team is not used to working virtually, it
might be helpful to run daily/weekly morning updates over video conferencing
(example zoom, skype) to help keep people on track and communicate important
information to your team. These meetings keep people in touch, connected and
serve as a way to share wins/losses from the previous day.
Check in with your employees as often as possible
and share any updates and changes in the business. Also, make sure to follow up
on any announcements.
If you’re a manager, check in on employees at the
start of each day. Something as simple as “Good morning! How are things going
today? What can I help you with?” is a great place to start. Personal contact
is important at this time and should be explicitly practiced keeping people
feeling in the loop.
Personal schedules and boundaries
It’s important to be explicit about when your day
starts and ends in order to set the precedence around work boundaries.
Remember, just because you’re working from home does not mean people can access
you around the clock. The regular workday still applies, so colleagues should
respect when you end your day virtually and log off the same way as when you
leave the office.
All these suggestions will be contingent on having
the right technology and tools in place to support your workforce. This means
investing in collaborative file-sharing tools, video conferencing tools, and
instant messaging. This should be the very first step as we transition into
this new state of work and weather this storm.
Don’t let social distancing let you feel
disconnected at work. Get creative with how you stay in touch and make it fun.
While loneliness can be a problem for people who work remotely, making it a
priority to schedule virtual events with your team can go a long way. Also
create instant messaging group.