Do you manage a remote team? If so, you probably have the basics down pat. After all, tasks like project management and scheduling are relatively easy to implement when you have the right tools. However, that doesn’t mean remote work isn’t without its challenges. 

One of the biggest hurdles remote companies still face is helping their employees build connections with each other. And research shows that work connections are pretty important. 

When a person has connections at work, they experience:

  • 92% more professional growth
  • 36% better well-being
  • 34% higher goal attainment

Alternatively, people without work connections are:

  • 176% more likely to look for other jobs
  • 313% more likely to quit their jobs

Additionally, social connection is essential to engagement and productivity. Yet, despite these stats, Buffer found that most remote workers feel disconnected from their colleagues, even if they regularly interact in meetings. 

In our new remote world, you have to foster social connectivity intentionally. But how? In this article, we’re sharing some ways you can help your remote team build meaningful connections at work. 

10 ways to make remote employees feel more connected

Here are 10 of our favorite ways to build connections between your remote employees – no matter how far apart they are from each other. 

1. Team chats 

Make a team chat or communication channels available at all times, and encourage conversations. Slack, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams are a few popular options. Discord is an alternative that originated as a gaming chat app but can work for more informal remote teams. The team chat channel should be specifically for your remote team members to chat freely for general or work-related conversations.

2. Virtual chat or video apps, games, and activities

Making the channels available isn’t enough. Consider jumpstarting conversations, dialogue and interactions with polls, dice games, gifs, random facts and other neat activities. There are several tools to start conversations. For example, Google Meet has games, and apps like Polly Trivia work on Teams and Zoom. You can even throw team-building events like espionage games with virtual hosting services. But you can enhance any communication channel with just a few prompts or conversation starters. 

3. Hold regular video meetings

Host weekly, twice weekly or even daily video meetings to keep remote team members personally connected and in tune with each other. These meetings can be task-specific, catch-up sessions, strategy meetings, or just to boost team spirit. Do this even if there isn’t anything to talk about. It’s important to maintain video-based remote collaboration – even when utilizing other communication and teamwork tools. Video offers a way to get some face-to-face time.

4. Host a book or online streaming club

Want team members to share interests and nurture relationships during their downtime? Consider creating a book, movie or television club! Book clubs are classic ways to form communities. You can hold meetings via live chat or during work catch-up sessions. You can even watch or read together in downtime or as a perk. Built-in watch party features are available on services like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney Plus. Additionally, apps like Teleparty and SharePlay enable group watching on various platforms.

5. Fitness competitions, challenges and goals

Take care of two birds with one stone by encouraging remote teams to stay fit and healthy together. Shared fitness helps combat two remote collaboration risks – social isolationism and sedentariness. Low-key options include setting basic fitness goals, like drinking enough water, eating healthy for a specific timeframe or getting in enough steps at a treadmill desk. Or you can provide employees with holistic team-based benefits, such as virtual group running training or marathon prep. Make sure to keep these optional! As a remote leader, your role is to support their well-being, not pressure them into participating in certain activities.

6. Virtual brainstorming or creativity sessions

Help teams bring their minds together with virtual brainstorming and creativity sessions. Digital whiteboards, sticky notes and Kanban lists are ideal for this. For the best results, keep these sessions relaxed, informal and pressure-free. It should be okay to throw out ideas, even if they don’t work or get ruled out later.

7. Offer shared training, development and continuing education

Many modern employees want training, development and skill-building opportunities and view them as critical to work culture and a key factor in whether or not they’ll stay on. You can use group-based virtual training to provide growth opportunities while deepening remote team social cohesion and connectivity.

8. Partner them up

Using team partners, buddies or mentors is an excellent way to help integrate and engage certain employees – especially junior ones. See where employees might benefit from closer remote collaboration with someone else. You could do this for specific projects, for general career mentorship or during company onboarding.

9. Consider in-person remote team meet-ups, conferences or sponsored events

Have a few team members working remotely in the same city or area? Offer to throw an in-person meet-up event! Another option is to host yearly or bi-yearly remote team conferences and pay for everyone’s expenses. You can also sponsor remote professionals to travel to industry conferences or events. Any opportunity to get your employees working face-to-face is an option worth considering. 

10. Work in virtual reality

Want to recreate an office environment for a team working remotely? Plug them into a virtual reality workspace. VR workspaces enable dynamic, immersive remote work experiences. Distributed teams can use VR Workspaces for screen sharing, whiteboard sessions, mentoring and other remote collaboration activities. It’s one of the best ways to augment a real-life office environment virtually. 

Help your team feel more connected

As long as you’re thoughtful and proactive, remote teams can be as connected as teams working together in one room. There are plenty of tools on the market to make building remote work connections possible. 

However, building connections starts with building the best team. That’s where we can help.

At Outstaffer, we help companies find, hire, onboard and manage remote employees from anywhere in just a few clicks. With our Employer of Record services, you can hire employees from around the world and enable them to work with our #WorkFromAnywhere platform. 

With solutions like Managed Devices, Workforce Monitoring, and VR Workplaces, we give remote employees everything they need to thrive. Reach out today to schedule your free demo

Feb 14, 2023
Remote Work

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