How To Stay Connected with Your Remote Team
By Sally Hurley, CEO, VIPdesk
During a time of crisis, keeping the human connection with your team is essential to ensure they feel supported.
This is blog #4 in our series about remote work and how to best support your remote workforce during this Coronavirus outbreak. Especially now, when many cities have issued stay-at-home orders, employees are increasingly anxious about what is happening. Keeping your human connection is really important to help ease fears and anxiety.
Even though we’ve had a remote team for many years, we have never faced anything quite like this. We’ve produced podcasts and posted blogs about how to develop a great culture with a remote team. But the new element of not being able to leave the house has created even greater pressure for companies still operating remotely to help their team by expanding ways for them to feel supported.
Here are a few of our time-tested tips. Since we are learning, we would love it if share what you are doing with your remote team so that we can steal some of your ideas too.
- Use Video Please: If you look at our past blogs about home office set up, we consistently say that video conference calls are a simple, amazing practice. No one cares what anyone looks like and I think we can all agree that talking with someone eye-to-eye (or monitor-to-monitor) deepens a sense of connection
- Host Virtual Gatherings: We have always hosted virtual happy hours as well as a virtual book club. Those are still quite popular… especially the happy hours. However, we added a few more virtual gatherings and the team loves them. These include:
- Coffee Hangouts
- Virtual Cooking Class
- Virtual Talent Show
- Meet My Pets
- Meet My Family
- Music Class
- Wellness Sessions- Yoga, anyone?
- Conduct One-on-One meetings: Group gatherings are fun, but most people enjoy a direct conversation with one other person. We are encouraging our leaders now, more than ever, to connect with their team on a personal level at least a few times a week. Now that other things don’t fill our collective time, our anxieties increase and team members need more support from their managers. In addition, if there is an issue, they are unlikely to share it in a group setting.
- Leverage Social Chatrooms: We have dedicated chat rooms around topics, but our most popular 2 are Cheers for Peers and Wellness. Cheers for Peers is a chatroom that allows team members to give a shout out to their fellow team members for any reason. Nothing feels better than having a co-worker say something nice about you. As for the Wellness chatroom, it has become increasingly popular. Our team is sharing wellness habits, at-home workouts, movies, TVs shows, activities for kids, live concerts, and more.
- Provide Video Updates: During this time of crisis, I am sending out a short video to our team to keep them up to date about what we are focused on and to give them insight on our daily shifting priorities.
- Lend Support from People & Culture: Our version of HR stays on top of all the government support programs and leads Q&A sessions with the team to help them understand the new Sick Leave and FMLA programs. We are increasingly aware that some people now find themselves in danger of a domestic violence situation and we want to provide access to resources, help and support.
- Share Happiness Tips: Every Friday we share happiness tips with a strong focus on providing calming techniques, self-care ideas and good mental health tips. This is a format we use for sharing content from others
- Hold a Spirit Week: Consider adding fun to the week by mapping out theme days during the week. Maybe it’s something like Wacky Hat Wednesday (who doesn’t have a fun hat to pull out and show off for meetings.) Or Fancy Friday. Brainstorm with your team about what’s fun and relevant to them.
If you’ve yet to read our other blog posts about creating a successful remote workforce, we suggest you read them. Here you’ll find “5 Proven Tips To Set Up a Remote Workforce Successfully.” You can read “5 Best Communication Practices for a Remote Workforce” here. And finally, you will discover “10 Tips for Remote Workers To Keep Their Sanity” here.