3 ways to help your team feel together – even when they can’t be

By Robert Half on 5th May 2020

Staying together as a team during challenging times is, to put it bluntly, challenging. Many people are fortunate to have the opportunity to work remotely – and with the emergence of technology it can be a tremendous asset. Over the years, many businesses have moved their operations to the cloud to access company’s network, teleconference with clients and colleagues, and essentially operate as business-as-usual. But that investment has never been as crucial as it is today. However, we all crave the human element. We simply miss each other.

However, as a leader, we know the true value and resilience of any business is its people. And while managing teams remotely, the human element of being together is something that is top of mind for many people. While employee morale and a team bond doesn’t show up on paper, it can have a direct impact on the bottom line. So how do we promote a sense of camaraderie while living in a time when we’re encouraged to stay apart?

Here are a few tactics that might help:

1. Use technology to maintain the human connection

A Zoom or Skype group get-together can’t replace the 10-minute coffee run or going for lunch with your colleague, but it is important to try. Many people have quickly adopted these tools to transition their business meetings and continue their work commitments, but we should also spend time to keep in touch on a personal level. Use the technology to encourage casual conversation that you would normally share in the office – have a recap session of a popular show you and your colleagues watch together or share a few minutes chatting over morning coffee. As hard as it can be, try to replace those brief moments in the office when you connect with your colleagues while working remotely. It’s these small moments of conversation that can help to promote a positive work culture in trying times.

2. Don’t forgo employee recognition

While recognition might not be top of mind, it needs to be kept in mind. Right now, employees are dealing with unfamiliar circumstances, working under-pressure and in some cases with skeleton staff but that shouldn’t stop managers from recognising their efforts. Instead of a physical get-together, send a team-wide email or virtual recognition card. Or perhaps a gift card for takeout or an online retailer. While it might seem like a small token, these kinds of employee recognition tactics can galvanise a team and give everyone some sense of normalcy when business is different.

3. Acknowledge the chaos

These are stressful times for everyone, and that needs to be understood by management. Acknowledge that your teams are faced with challenges and distractions, both at work and at home and support your employees as they adapt to their new working arrangements. It’s becoming more common that children, pets, spouses, roommates and anyone else are being seen and heard during video chats and conference calls and has quickly become the new normal. While not what we’re used to, it can be nice to see a different side of my team members and let them know that it is okay for things to be a little chaotic right now.

Related: Survival tips for working from home with kids

With many teams across the UK working from for weeks, and trends that is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, it is important to ensure that the teams bond stays strong through these challenging times.

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