This week’s blog will focus on providing leaders with helpful tips and activities to help keep collaboration and connection alive within a team working from multi-locations.
Earlier this week in one of our social media posts we commented on the changing workplace and how a change to flexible working conditions including locations, hours, etc. has changed the way we communicate, or in some cases how we have lost the communication rhythms that were much easier to maintain in an office environment.
The Monday morning chats between colleagues about the weekend past, a walk to the local café to grab a coffee, regular face-to-face meetings, a quick team catch up when important corporate news drops or the famous Friday after-work drink is a thing of the past for some workplaces. It hasn’t been deliberate, but it’s certainly one of the downsides to the new ‘flexible workplace’.
Where your team may have once had a fortnightly or monthly team meeting, that is no longer enough to keep the team aligned, focused, and motivated – especially for team members who aren’t physically in the workplace and privy to more information and connection. We recommend at least touching base twice as a team each week, and where possible always using virtual meeting technology such as Zoom, Skype, MS Team. Whilst not many people like to see themselves on camera, visual interaction is critical to building engagement and rapport, as well as picking up on body language and the overall wellbeing of your employees.
Here are some tips to kick off the week and keep your team connected when working in different locations.
Make sure you schedule individual team member catch-ups to keep one-on-one communication flowing effectively. If you are setting clear direction and providing regular support and communication to your employees, this doesn’t need to be too often. Setting the right balance is so important. You want your employees to still feel connected to you as their leader and informed about what is happening across the organisation especially things that directly impact the work they are delivering, but not feel as though you are micromanaging them or that you don’t trust them to work without direct supervision.
At the end of the week, try scheduling a ‘weekly wrap-up’ informal catch-up. You can run with a less formal structure and focus on recognising achievements and wins for the week, demonstrate your appreciation and thanks for the contributions of team members, share any notable corporate or team-based information and bring some social banter and fun into the team interaction. If this doesn’t work mixing it into your standard end-of-week wrap-up – think about a separate monthly activity to build connection and have some fun.
No matter what you choose to implement, make sure it provides you with the connection and alignment to your team that you need to provide the right level of leadership and support to your remote workers. This also very much applies to part-time staff or people doing a mix of work from the office and from home. You’ll find that your employees will be more motivated and engaged in their work and the organisation, the quality of the work they produce will be better aligned to your expectations, and the team will increase the much needed social and work connection, collaboration and camaraderie that we know translates directly to increased performance and wellbeing.
PS Despite the above – remember this month’s focus of checking in to see the value of meetings. If they are not adding value, find another way to build connections and provide updates that work for your team.