Remote teams might be far in distance, but that doesn’t mean employees can’t have great connections with their team members.
Having an on-site team that’s able to eat lunch together and see each other in person on a regular basis certainly fosters a relationship. But, there are thousands of businesses around the world who have figured out how to create a company culture without the office.
They traded conference rooms for virtual meetings, and things are working out well.
So we’ve gathered together their best tricks to creating connections among employees spread out across a city, country, or the world.
Here are 5 ways to foster a remote company connection.
#1: Leave room for small talk during meetings
It’s easy to fall into the trap of looking at meetings as a place for only productivity. And that’s definitely the case for most on-site companies with offices. BUT, when you’re remote, when else are your employees meeting face to face (or screen to screen)?
Pretty rarely. Which means that this might be the only time they actually talk to each other, versus just messaging one another.
Leaving room for small talk during meetings isn’t going to derail the productivity of your meeting; it’s just 3–5 minutes of letting your team talk to the people they work with daily, but don’t get a chance to see outside of work.
#2: Have everyone talk about the peak of their day or week at meetings
Another way to let employees bond during their minimal face-to-face time is having everyone talk about the peak of their day, week, or weekend (depending on how often you’re meeting or what day of the week it is).
It takes a few minutes, and everyone can say something great that happened to them recently. Not only does this foster gratitude, but it lets your team members get to know what’s going on in each other’s lives.
You wouldn’t know that Becky rides horses or that Amanda has a cute dog named Ruth if you didn’t get a little insight into what makes them happy on an ongoing basis.
#3: Create separate channels for employees to talk about non-work related topics
If your entire team was watching the last season of Game of Thrones, then why SHOULDN’T they have a channel to talk about what happened?
The more your team integrates with each other, the better they’ll perform. Who’s more likely to win a charades game—two best friends or two strangers? The best friends are going to be able to read each other’s minds, and you can cultivate that same relationship with a distributed team.
But only if you give them the space and freedom to do so. With that said, keeping these conversations in separate channels can make sure productivity goes on.
#4: Set up virtual employee nights out and play games
A team that knows each other and likes each other is going to be more than happy to put work to the side, come together, and have a virtual employee night out.
Houseparty has integrated games right on to their video calls or you can find trivia and other virtual multiplayer games online.
If your employees can’t hang out during lunch breaks or meet up after work for some appetizers, it’ll be hard for them to create real-time connections with each other. Playing online games while on a virtual call gives employees a chance to experience each other without deadlines approaching or project updates pinging them during a meeting.
#5: Ask them how they want to create relationships with each other
Just like you ask your customers what content or products they want from you… you can ask your remote employees what THEY would want to create better relationships amongst themselves. You can either give them a few suggestions or ask them to come up with ideas on their own.
Even the sky isn’t the limit when it comes to virtual team bonding.
From digital tea parties to travel stories or “Bring a picture of your pet days,” let your team get creative about how they want to spend more time with each other and get to know their team.
A remote team doesn’t have to feel remote.
You can foster a great relationship with a remote team, even while everyone works from their home offices.