One of the major challenges of leading a remote team is creating a sense of connection between team members, managers, and corporate strategy. While a physical office space allows for casual conversations and group breaks, virtual organizations require a little extra work to establish a sense of communication and integration. By being intentional, you can unite your team even if they work thousands of miles apart by enhancing these three essential connections. Here are three connections points that are essential for any team:
Connecting the Manager to Individual Team Members
When working virtually, it can be easy to let connections to your team members slip over time. I recommend setting up weekly one-on-one meetings with each of your employees in order to catch up with your employees and understand their personal and professional situations. Use this time to discuss their progress with current projects and track their current workload. if you are having a difficult time keeping up with all of your employees as well as their various projects and needs, then try implementing a project tracking sheet below. I recommend having each team member complete it on a weekly bases and share it with you. This can help you and your team members stay informed about the status of various projects and hold team members accountable. Additionally, this sheet will help you to move towards a more results-oriented management style. By remaining intentional with your connection to individual team members, you can stay informed about current projects, hold employees accountable, and effectively manage your remote team.
Connecting Team Members to Corporate Strategy
As we transition to working from home, our days can be consumed by task after task, creating a mundane routine of simply getting the work done. Many employees feel disconnected from the bigger picture of understanding the overall corporate strategy. This will make them lose meaning in their work and feel lonely and distant. To change this, keep the team updated on the organization’s key messages and spread this with your team at the start of department meetings or through motivational emails. Inform your employees about key changes in policy, so they feel integrated and included. Be intentional about communicating the upper-level strategy and decisions which may affect their careers. By making the effort to gather and share this information, you create a sense of belonging and purpose within your organization and empower employees by sharing how their specific task will contribute to the company’s success.
Connecting Team Members With Each Other
Without a shared break room or watercooler area, it may be difficult to stimulate casual communication between team members. However, this connection is integral to strengthening your team and creating a more cohesive workforce. The simplest recommendation is to set up “virtual watercooler time” at the start of departmental meetings. Once you have your team gathered in your video chat or conference call, set aside five to ten minutes to allow your employees to catch up with each other’s lives and current projects. Small activities like these can bring your team together even if they do not share a physical office space. Furthermore, encourage communication between team members by creating “accountability partners.” With this exercise, employees will select a peer to meet with throughout the week in order to discuss projects, provide support, and track the progress of work together. Utilizing these techniques will help you bring your team together and grow group bonds.
Through these activities, you and your employees will remain connected and productive when working from home. By remaining intentional and taking the time to reach out to your employees, you will strengthen team bonds and increase trust and productivity within your remote organization. With these three essential connections, you can lead your virtual team to success.
Dima Ghawi is the founder of a global talent development company with a primary mission for advancing individuals in leadership. Through keynote speeches, training programs and executive coaching, Dima has empowered thousands of professionals across the globe to expand their leadership potential. Reach her at DimaGhawi.com and BreakingVases.com.