As we continue to grapple with the impacts of Covid-19 community outbreaks, it is useful to consider how you will ensure your team remains connected while working from home. This should be a priority because of the many advantages that flow on from a team staying cohesive – such as improved knowledge sharing, collaboration and innovation, which in turn impacts efficiencies and productivity.
Key information is often shared incidentally when everyone is in a shared space, so when that is not happening, it is important to ensure information is still being shared with everyone. Top tips to achieve this are.
- Regular formal online team meetings are not just practical for sharing information, but also help your people feel part of the team. Just as important are less formal get togethers.
- When staff are not physically together the opportunities to share information incidentally and build relationships are limited. Creating opportunities for staff to gather informally will allow them to share information and build relationships.
- This is important – for example, staff are much more likely to respond quickly to an email request from someone they know and like. What seems like ‘wasted time’ on a Monday morning as staff discuss their weekends, is money in the bank later when a problem needs everyone to work constructively together.
- There are loads of ways to keep the team connected such as;
- Shared virtual lunches
- Digital board games
- Friday work drinks and quiz nights – maybe with a theme.
- This is not a waste of time and resources, rather it is an investment in the team dynamic and culture and therefore in the team’s productivity.
Building trust will also help staff feel they are part of a team. Monitoring software is one way to keep staff productive when they work from home, but the message this gives is that staff are not trusted. A different approach is to let staff know they are trusted – by trusting them. Staff will be much more likely to go the extra mile when they feel trusted and valued as part of the team.
As we move into an uncertain future, having remote teams of people that can work productively together towards shared goals might be the point of difference that enables your business to gain competitive advantage and thrive, so it’s worth investing a little time and energy into keeping your teams happy and whole.
Written by Jo Karl, HR Advisor