3 Secrets to Encouraging Camaraderie in a Remote Team
This story was submitted by Isaac Kohen and does not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork.
Freelancers, remote workers, and remote teams—this is one of the fastest growing trends in business. Many say this type of office structure could be the future. Workers are seeking it because they believe it will support their constant pursuit of life and work balance. Businesses are seeking it because it saves in overhead costs and employee turnover. A remote team might already be on the books for you, so here are three key secrets from my own remote team’s success in encouraging camaraderie.
Remote working is gaining traction. In Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace” report, 43 percent of Americans reported that they spent at least some time working remotely that year. This was up from 39 percent in 2012.
Whether your remote team is just newly formed, or long-time running, encouraging a feeling of camaraderie amongst your remote team members is important for functionality and productivity.
The reason for camaraderie—familiarness and good relationships—between team members is simple. When employees like each other and know each other better, they are more likely to work better together. Your team might be dispersed across the globe, but they are still people. People like working with people, and people work best when they’re familiar with each other. By increasing connectivity, we can boost employee cohesiveness and teamwork.
I’m going to share with you three secrets to success from my own team’s experience. It’s as simple as building trust, strengthening communication and creating process.
Start with trust
Trust is the fundamental building block of your remote team. People worry when talent works from home that there will be a decrease in productivity and focus. Contrary to belief, many studies have said the opposite, that rather remote workers are more productive and even put in more hours. None of the remote process is possible without trust. This is your first secret sauce to remote team camaraderie.
You should show your employees that you trust them. Consider assigning projects with a big picture view, instead of individual tasks and micromanagement. Being in the out-of-office environment, employees need to be entrusted with the tools and advice to complete the task, then given the freedom to make it happen.
Communication, communication, communication
Communication is the second secret sauce to your remote team’s success, because talent may be in different states and even continents. It’s important to bridge the communication gap through creative means.
This can be done in several ways and with different methods. Goals and expectations should be given to the team in all formats—visual, verbal, and oral. Being remote is not an excuse for a lapse of communication on goals; rather, it’s a new challenge. I like to organize my goals and expectations for the team in an Excel spreadsheet, then verbally communicate and share that information with my team.
Managers can boost communication through regular, weekly meetings with team members via video chat or telephone. Technology has bridged the gap of distance. Communication is now easy, because of the endless amount of technology at our fingertips to communicate effectively regardless of distance and build team cohesiveness.
My team uses several methods: Jira, Slack, and Google Hangouts to name a few. Telegram is my top go-to application, because it’s an easy way to communicate in group chats, has a mobile version, and is completely encrypted end-to-end.
I use Telegram for everyday team communication, but also to build team cohesiveness. All team members actively participate in a “water cooler” thread where everyone shares little successes, small wins and a funny gif or two. Through technology, we’re encouraging our team to socialize, which is a key factor in building friendliness towards each other.
Set a solid direction
Even in an in-house office environment, employees can become frustrated and discouraged when the work process doesn’t offer structure and direction. With remote workers, the story is the same, and I would argue that it’s even more important in creating a successful remote team. When members don’t see each other on a daily basis, they risk feeling disconnected from the purpose and goals.
This can be solved by creating processes and goals, then communicating them fully and consistently. This starts in the onboarding process of new talent. By communicating expectations clearly in the beginning, positive building blocks are grounded and the new team members are better integrated into the remote group.
But it doesn’t stop there. Direction can be communicated through several different means.
- Tech tools are again at your disposal and you have plenty to choose from.
- Schedule regular meetings to discuss goals and follow up on the progress of individual and organizational goals.
- Feedback is key to remaining on the right path to creating an environment of effectiveness and teamwork. It’s important to give consistent and regular feedback.
Creating a solid direction, communication, and building trust are three important factors to ensure remote team success.
This story was submitted by Isaac Kohen and does not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork. Find out how you can publish your content on Upwork.
Isaac Kohen is the founder and CTO of Teramind, an employee monitoring and insider threat prevention platform that detects, records, and prevents, malicious user behavior in addition to helping teams to drive productivity and efficiency. Isaac can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Connect with Isaac on social media: LinkedIn, IT Security Central, and Twitter @TeramindCo.View Isaac Kohen’s other articles