Thanks to affordable technology, more and more companies have been allowing employees to work remotely in recent years. It’s become feasible to procure laptops, set up security protocols, use cloud servers, and rely on employees’ home Wi-Fi connections to create functional virtual workspaces. In turn, many of these businesses have lowered overhead costs such as office rent and utilities.
Of course, with the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many companies have had to mandate that any employees working from home do so. As a result, virtual team building has become more important than ever.
When employees work from home, many of the processes they use to complete tasks and fulfill duties may change slightly — or even drastically — to fit the technology used to execute them. This can cause confusion and lead to mistakes or conflicts that affect employee morale.
Make sure every virtual team develops and follows processes that produce results consistent with those generated on your physical premises. Doing so may require a concerted effort that slows work productivity temporarily while everyone gets on the same page.
Meanwhile, reinforce with workers that your expectations of them are the same whether working remotely or on-site. They shouldn’t feel as if they must work extra hard from home to “prove themselves,” but they do need to demonstrate that they’re getting things done.
Among the biggest challenges for work-from-home employees is feeling disconnected from their fellow team members. Brief, regularly scheduled Web-based meetings are a good way to address this dilemma. These gatherings allow everyone to see or hear one another (or both) and provide employees with the opportunity to voice concerns and contribute ideas.
If a given team is relatively new at working remotely, or you just want to bring any group of employees closer together, you could also hold special meetings specifically geared toward team building. There’s a wide variety of icebreakers, games, and activities that teams can use to learn more about each other and to gain comfort in communicating.
For example, you can invite participants to share stories and photos of their pets, hold trivia contests, or even sing karaoke. Just be sure to tailor such team-building efforts to your company’s culture and be wary of pushing remote employees too far out of their comfort zones.
Whether your business has had employees working in virtual workspaces for years or just recently had to ask workers to stay home because of COVID-19, there are plenty of ways to help them communicate better and enhance their performance as a team. We offer assistance in measuring productivity and making smart investments in the right team-building technology.