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Ideas for Creating Workplace Connections for Fully Remote Teams

4 min read   |  
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With the Covid-19 pandemic, remote working became one of the most important topics in the corporate world. Almost overnight, whole teams and departments were forced to work from home.

And by 2022, employees were dealing with engagement issues and declined workplace connections. Therefore, it was necessary to figure out how to collaborate more efficiently, engage employees over long distances and keep them connected.

The Era of Remote Work & Covid-19

Post pandemic workplace culture is evolving and changing constantly.

Pre- and post-meeting chit-chat no longer exists, and informal "water-cooler" chats are no longer possible. Employees have to rely on other social cues because body language communication is lost when using videoconferencing. And Zoom fatigue is real. Hence, virtual outreach to everyone on the team is essential.

Most managers and executives are trying to address these issues by maintaining a "virtual open doors" policy, which is becoming a positive and well-accepted trend.

In fact, remote work culture is becoming its own niche. Remote team building, open communication channels, virtual work dates, employee wellness; there are many different options for companies trying to make employees feel like a part of the community.

The Art of Remote Team Building

Team building is one of the main techniques for employees to get to know each other and form a bond based on trust. Hence, during the pandemic, managers found a way to "relocate" this work tool into the virtual space.

It's not easy to create a cohesive team that works cooperatively to meet the customer's needs while employees work across different locations. However, it's essential because it improves efficiency and performance when groups trust each other and connect to a common goal.

Here are the top three virtual team building ideas that became very popular:

Online Office Games - or the "Office Olympics" are spirited challenges, virtual team games, and activities made especially for online bonding. Employees can enjoy fast-paced quizzes, Go Get It lightning scavenger hunts, and a communication sharpening game called "Can You Hear Me Now?" Online office games are rated as the best experience employees have ever had in a Zoom room.

Petri - A dedicated host plans a range of virtual team tasks, online games, and virtual happy hour activities each week. Pub trivia, tea tastings, superhero challenges, online murder mysteries, escape-style games, and other activities.

Five-finger showdown - Everyone on the virtual conference call puts out one hand with five fingers extended for this game. The host then lists particular and unusual life events, either alone or with team members taking turns. Players may say, for example, "has visited a beach this year" or "speaks more than one language." If any team member had that experience, they would raise a finger.

Here are some more entertaining phrases:

· I got a dog.
· In the previous 24 hours, I ate ice cream.
· He knows every word to "O Canada."
· I've been to three nations.
· Knit something you can wear.
· I made homemade pizza.
· Can express gratitude in at least five languages.

Fueling remote work culture by implementing employee engagement activities is a big part of building strong and independent teams. With isolation as the main issue, companies invest their time and money to make remote work more friendly and welcoming. It becomes a company trade that keeps retention down and brings in the A-players in the field when done properly.

How to Engage Remote Employees & Create Meaningful Connections?

Managing a remote workforce is not easy. The only proven way to do it is by keeping employees engaged, no matter where they're working. This requires a strategic approach and long-term commitment.

However, when organizations invest in their remote employees' long-term success and engagement, they are rewarded with happier, more productive employees that are in it for the long haul.

These are some of the popular ways to engage remote employees and connect:

1) Personality Tests

Many of us have taken a personality test at some point. A well-designed personality test can provide employees with the road to success. The test results can give insight into different personality types, productivity methods, relationships management, and other benefits.

For example, a personality test result might empower a hesitant but skilled individual to ask for a raise confidently.

These assessments may be used to promote collaboration between co-workers and establish bridges between management and those they oversee.

The top three most popular ones are:

· The Enneagram Personality Test
· The Four Tendencies
· The 5 Love Languages

2) Start New Virtual Traditions

If the company has established traditions, such as serving doughnuts in the breakroom every Friday, continue those traditions even though the team is working remotely and encourage new hires to participate.

Maintaining workplace traditions is an essential component of office culture. Moreover, starting a new virtual one to ignite connection is more than welcome.

3) Keep it Short & Sweet

There is nothing more disengaging than long hours in virtual meetings. This goes out to the fun part too. The virtual games, traditions, and team building need to have a precise timeline. Also, communicating the start and end times with all engaging parties is a must.

4) Help Employees Create Boundaries

Creating boundaries is a necessity. As much as it is fun sometimes to connect with co-workers and build a welcoming company culture, there must be limits. After all, everybody has their personal life and plans that the managers and co-workers have to consider.

5) A Chief Communication Officer for Every Team

Assigning a chief communications officer for every team is crucial. The chief communications officer oversees the inside relations of the group. This role enables team communication to run smoothly and engages workers to participate in all activities planned.

The officer also planes activities and makes sure that the timeline works for everyone. As a tool, the chief communications officer can use employee engagement surveys, and they are an effective technique for monitoring employee engagement levels and collecting valuable employee input.

On a Final Note

Whatever way the company chooses to build social workplace connections on a remote team, it will need some push in the right direction. Workplace connection for remote teams does not happen organically; it will necessitate thought and careful planning.
However, effort and time will only benefit the organization and build a strong and inviting company culture.

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