Team collaboration in a virtual reality: remote teamwork tips
Strong team collaboration is a cornerstone of success; it’s what turns talent into innovation and sets a company apart from the competition. …
As your company shifts to remote work, it’s understandable to feel uncertain about the impact it will have on how you manage your team and keep employees engaged. The good news is that as work becomes more flexible, technology is evolving, and the workforce is adapting. So even if you don’t feel totally prepared, there are tools and tactics that can help you and your team make the jump.
We’re here to support you in leading your remote workforce, and in this article we outline the most impactful ways to engage remote employees—with actionable tips each step of the way.
You’ve got this, and we’ve got you. 💙
Now more than ever, you want employees to feel connected—to you, to each other, to the team goals, and to the company’s culture and purpose. Remind your employees that just because you’re not together physically, it doesn’t mean you’re not still stronger as a whole. Keep an eye on your team’s working dynamics, and support them as they adjust to collaborating with their new work methods.
In addition to creating alignment on goals and initiatives, you want to promote a sense of community and connection among team members. When everyone is working remotely, employees can start to feel isolated and lonely. This impacts team performance as much as employees’ personal wellbeing, so be sure to stay connected with your remote workers on a human level as well as a professional one.
💡 Quick tip: break the ice
Starting calls with a quick icebreaker is a simple way to stay connected. Ask what everyone had for lunch, or how they disconnect at the end of the day.
Those daily or weekly recurrences help your team find their rhythm and offer opportunities for human connection. We made this list of reminders and ideas to help you stay on top of your team’s touchpoints:
This transitional period is about finding your team’s new normal, outside of the workplace. Remember that it will take time to get there, and check in frequently with employees to see how they’re adjusting.
Keep a pulse on your remote team’s engagement with Officevibe.
Communication is crucial to any team’s success, but on virtual teams, it’s even more essential to keep internal communications clear and intentional. Part of managing remote employees is helping to establish the most effective communication practices for your team.
Encourage information sharing, and regularly communicate priorities and progress reports in a rhythm that works for your team. Clearly establish which communication channels serve what purpose, and ask employees to be specific with their updates and requests. You can even create message templates or try out a template for one-on-one meetings if it will help your communication with employees, and your team’s communication with each other.
💡 Quick tip: opt for video calls
Tone and demeanor are hard to gauge through text, and the more face-to-face interactions employees have, the more connected they’ll feel!
Set a baseline for virtual communication collaboratively with your team, and revisit these ground rules frequently to ensure they’re still relevant. Consider the following questions:
Share your team’s communication norms in an easily accessible place, so everyone is reminded of them on a daily basis.
As you shift to remote work, some meetings might become irrelevant, others will need to be adapted, and you may discover the need for some you weren’t having before (at least not officially). Start by taking inventory of your team’s recurring meetings and the formats you use, and note where you see potential flags for turning them remote.
From video conferencing to online polling and virtual whiteboards, there is a lot of technology out there to help facilitate remote collaboration. You don’t want to overwhelm your employees with tech, but you do want to ensure they’re set up with the tooling they need to collaborate effectively. Seek out software and other tools that will enable your employees in maintaining their day-to-day.
💡 Quick tip: prepare ahead
Online meetings take a little extra preparation. Make sure that everyone in the meeting has the software and context they need to participate ahead of time.
We recently went remote at Officevibe, and we’re learning to adjust. Our team coach, Simon, shares his best practices for hosting a productive virtual meeting:
It will take some time and practice, but the more your team collaborates virtually, the better they’ll adapt, and start amping up performance.
When employees start working from home, the lines between “work” and “not work” can become blurred. It gets easier for employees to bring their laptop with them to the couch at the end of the day, only to realize that they’ve been ignoring their favourite Netflix show as they mindlessly sort through emails—and this can lead to burnout.
On the flip side, working remotely can give employees the opportunity to structure a personal wellness routine that enables more focus and higher productivity. By promoting this mentality on your team, you can help employees become more personally accountable to their own wellbeing and engagement.
💡 Quick tip: check in with employees
Ask your employees how they’re adjusting to working remotely, and what challenges they’re facing. Offer support or talk them through problem-solving when you can.
Share this checklist with your employees to help them build a routine that keeps them productive, engaged, and healthy while they work remotely.
Encourage your employees to make the adjustments they need to find a healthy work-life balance, and open up space for communication around wellness and mental health.
Shifting to a remote team setting is a big adjustment (we know, we’re in the process, too). But with the right mindset, you can help your employees see this as an opportunity to challenge themselves to become a stronger, more resilient team. Who knows, you might even discover some benefits you hadn’t considered!
Share your team’s experience, challenges, and successes in the comment section below. 👇