Building harmonious relationships in the workplace and managing a team are always challenging. It’s not impossible, especially now that you’re working from home and sharing a virtual work environment, although it’s a big challenge. You can use your managerial skills and apply them to a slightly different surrounding than you’re used to. To learn how to build great rapport with your team, continue reading this article. There are even some essential tools and software to help you manage your remote team.
Try Pair Work
Pair work is an effective learning method that promotes knowledge sharing and collaboration. By putting two members to work together, you’re giving them the chance to connect in the first place. As they’re engaging in meaningful and relevant conversations, they’re also learning from each other. In this sense, pair work serves as a communication and collaboration booster. You can pair them for a work assignment or team-building activities such as lunch or coffee date. To pair them up, you can use a specially designed algorithm for random pairings or rely on your experience.
Welcome Fresh Ideas
Owning to the pandemic, the world is constantly and rapidly changing. To keep up and stay competitive, you need fresh and new ideas. While you’re swamped with all managerial duties and struggle to come up with new policies, your remote team might have an opinion or two. Organize a brainstorming session and motivate your team members to generate innovative ideas. Whether those ideas concern remote work policies or business strategies doesn’t matter. Let the concepts pour in. You can also create a virtual suggestion box, so employees can give them to you without waiting for another session.
Be Mindful of Different Schedules
When your remote team used to work next to each other, they had a sense of each other’s workload. That’s not the case now. Most of them carry out their responsibilities on their own. If you have team members working in a different time zone, they might receive hundreds of messages every day. Most of those messages and emails don’t even concern them. To make communication more efficient, be mindful of the different schedules of your team members. Send only relevant emails and concise messages and ensure the unobstructed flow of information. Find out more here about additional communication tips.
Encourage Natural Conversations
Working in an office, even a remote one, has a few positive sides. One of them is the ability to inspire natural conversations taking place at any time. Employees don’t need a special occasion to gather around and talk about various everyday topics. However, during remote work, the conversations might be more of a business than personal nature. Bring back small talk, start or end your meetings with individual questions or stories. Let the team talk and share as much as they want to. This way, you’ll learn more about your team and establish strong bonds with every one of them.
Meet in Person
Although you’re working from home, you can still meet with your remote team in person now and then. There are many ways to get your team to leave their houses and interact with their coworkers face-to-face. For example, corporate retreats or team-building strengthen employee relationships through engaging activities. Furthermore, why not bring new employees up to speed in person? It’ll make the onboarding process smoother and more natural if they can put a face to a name. After all, in-person meetings allow deeper corporate and personal discussions, which is beneficial to the business and internal relationships.
Focus on Feedback
There are two things you should know about your team. Firstly, their personality traits. Secondly, where they stand regarding the workplace and remote work practices. What do they want to accomplish? What do they find challenging? How can you make the workplace culture better? By keeping tabs on your employees, you’re gaining insights and building a relationship. That’s why you should focus on giving and receiving feedback. When employees provide you with feedback, you can prevent issues and conflicts. Also, you can be there for them and help with advice or suggestion. Make feedback a part of your daily meetings so that you can improve your remote work environment and business.
Practice Common Politeness
Having switched to remote work, you’ll face specific challenges such as written communication. You may think sending messages and memos is easy. Meanwhile, some of your transmissions or requests might come off too strong or impolite. For this reason, you have to be careful when communicating in written form. If you practice typical politeness, your messages will hit the right note with your employees. The same goes for directives. Employees are more likely to do what you ask of them when you approach them friendly and respectfully. The way you handle your communication will inspire others to do the same. It’ll lead to more respectful workplace culture.
Create a Remote Team Work Guide
Chances are, some employees are working from home for the first time. The transition might catch them off guard, and it might take them a while to settle into a new routine. To help them out, you can create a remote work guide. The guide should cover all relevant communication channels, policies, and instructions. While preparing the guide, make sure to answer all questions employees might have. Also, keep the focus pinned at the channel’s top so that every employee can use it as a reference. This way, your employees will have everything they need to get off to a flying start in their new work arrangement.
Make Use of Video Calls
Technology has many advantages. Thanks to its development, we can video chat with anyone no matter where they are in the world. All we need is proper equipment and a stable Internet connection. You and your team already have both, so why not use them to interact with each other in real-time. Instead of chatting with each other’s profile pictures, you can jump in on a video call and talk in person. With access to indispensable body language, the quality of your conversations will significantly improve. At the same time, you’ll learn so much more about them and build long-lasting relationships.
Do you keep track of your employees’ birthdays? What about the dates when you hired them? If not, it’s a good time to start now for different reasons. For instance, you can mark the occasion with a birthday cake and an appropriate present. Although you work remotely, you can still send gifts and celebrate milestones together. It’s an excellent opportunity to gather around in the virtual workspace, relax, and chat informally. Since employees are more likely to leave their jobs around anniversaries, you can use this celebration to give them a reason to stay. So, mark the dates in your calendar and prepare for the festivities.
Acknowledge Hard Work
One of the most excellent challenges managers of remote teams face is building healthy relationships with their team. It all starts with good communication leading to strong bonds and mutual respect among the team members. It isn’t easy, but once you manage to do it, you can reap the benefits in the long run.