Prior to the pandemic, crossing paths with co-workers in the office or returning from a bathroom break was a momentary reprieve from the monotony of your workday. In some workplaces where remote workers are still returning to the office, they’re looking forward to those encounters. Working remotely from home has those individuals who prefer to hibernate from co-workers, experiencing a lack of teamwork.
Virtual meetings, while somewhat effective for meeting with team members, are often interrupted by the distraction factor. During presentations, attendees might check out the topic at hand or busy themselves with checking emails and social media accounts. Remaining in work mode has proven to be more difficult these days especially while working at home. One way to combat this is by finding a small office, workspace or meeting room to rent in order to reset one’s focus and regain the feeling of actually being at work.
So how do you rebuild relationships with the team and work effectively together again?
1. Make time to rebuild those relationships:
Creating an event whether within the office or outside the office, will bring staff together in a social manner leading to new ideas and a renewed social energy. Since it was recommended that we steer clear of each other during the pandemic way of life, so should recommendations now suggest we come together to get the business of work back on track and restore a sense of teamwork again. Not only to discuss business but to interact with each other on the new life events we’ve all experienced.
Taking part in “chit-chat” is as important in making our way back to each other socially, as it is in discussing business. If management is unsure as to how to go about incorporating the social element into daily business, perhaps one way to begin is to allow for a few minutes at the start of a weekly meeting or 15 minutes at the start of the work day to connect with team members about what’s happening in their personal lives which will make your team more receptive to the transition back into business a little easier. You may want to put an expiration on the 15 minute later start of the work day before it is interpreted as an ongoing thing. Setting up a Q&A period could also prove beneficial in reconnecting with your staff regardless of topic – work or life.
2. A file of information
Creating a file for your employees to access anytime to provide information on their latest project, is critical. Frustration will ensue if remote workers cannot access the information they need to perform a task or contribute to a project. Team members may also find sharing to the file, will create an opportunity to bond.
3. Share your goals broadly and specifically.
When team members know precisely what is expected of them, they become more confident in their roles. Allow them the opportunity to participate in setting their goals. They’ll have a better understanding of the ripple effect on their colleagues and your ultimate goals. Through collaborating with them, they’ll find the value of reconnection.
You might also want to set some high-level goals and ask your teams to come up with the steps to achieve them. This gives employees the chance to collaborate and brainstorm, as well as the opportunity to influence what happens to their departments and the organization. Without the proper resources, employees in the office will find it a nuisance when they can’t quickly find the information they need. Your remote workers will find it more challenging without the ease of a “go-to” file.
4. Shine a light on successful collaboration.
There are sayings that relate especially to the business world – the first is, “A person who feels appreciated, will almost always do more than expected.” The second is, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” Both of these are very true….when your staff members feel a connection to the rest of the team and their ideas are met with acceptance, the level of trust and collaboration rises. As your team’s leader, discovering and acknowledging the completed jobs where your employees collaborated would create a culture of recognition and appreciation. These little “mini-celebrations” will build confidence in your team and become insurance for future projects.
Balancing both in-person and remote worker’s requirements for success depends on their level of interaction, sharing ideas and excitement to reach their goals. Your mission is to not get lost in the day-to-day chaos, but to remain the fuel that propels your team forward with every project ensuring a confident employee and successful results.