Working from home has a lot of benefits, like maintaining a flexible schedule or relaxed dress code. But when work teams have only met through a Zoom meeting or email chain, it can be difficult to build a tight-knit, collaborative, and supportive dynamic. When a company builds a strong, trustworthy team, productivity can skyrocket.
Here are a few ways you can cultivate those relationships, near or far.
Encourage your coworkers to get to know each other past the bare minimum required for work. Check in with each other! Sharing a high and low of your day, what keurig coffee cup you’re sipping, or vacation plans for the weekend instill a sense of community and camaraderie. We work best with those we know– not strangers!
This can be done in a few different ways. One idea is to set up a “good news” channel on whatever messaging platform your company uses. This can serve as a space for employees to share personal, family, or work wins, where others can congratulate or send in their own! Similarly, you can implement a ‘daily snapshot’ challenge where colleagues can share their work-from-home outfits, meals, desk views– anything they want! It is a simple and effective way to promote lighthearted non-work related conversations on a regular basis.
One tip is to make a schedule and stick to it! It is easy to allow time to lapse during the rigors of the work week and it can feel like your to-do list is more important than team building sometimes. But don’t let it get lost in the shuffle! Weave team building into the fabric of your work day to ensure your group is meeting engagement goals. Your result will be a cohesive, hardworking team that genuinely enjoys their time together.
The goal is to have your work team cultivate an environment that employees are excited to log into in the morning. Host virtual company events to expand on that feeling of teamwork. Just as you would in person, recruit speakers, organize an agenda, and have employees attend virtually over video chat. Allow time for your employees to be proud of their company and the work they’ve put in!
Another route to recognize your employees’ commitment and build a sense of community is to celebrate individual work. Encourage the connections being made through recognition similar to an ‘employee of the month’ award. Not only does it feel good to score some praise from the boss, but it gives colleagues the opportunity to appreciate each member of the team. Lifting one another up and recognizing individual strengths is a great way to build a strong, multifaceted team.
While team building is for the sake of a positive work dynamic, who's to say employees can’t have some fun? Providing small perks, like Free Coffee Fridays, can go a long way. Not only does it keep employees happy and coming back for more, but it provides a commonality for coworkers to chat about in their spare time. Feeling appreciated in the workplace is important and offering fun rewards can spark conversations and contribute to a sense of unity.
If you’re looking to expand the personal connections between colleagues, try organizing a book club, workout classes, meditation sessions, fantasy sports leagues, or similar groups. This gives employees a foundation to get to know each other outside of the constraints of the workday.
Consider setting up quick, interactive games for your team. Ask everyone to send in a baby picture of themselves and have coworkers take a guess on one each day! Make quizzes pertaining to work or another related topic– whoever gets the highest score wins a treat! These games can act as quick icebreakers to get everyone feeling comfortable and ready for the work day.
The possibilities are endless and sure to get your team feeling right at home, literally!