Creating a remote working strategy is something many organizations were thrust into and did so by the seat of their pants. Some were more successful than others in this area. From learning new tools to juggling the home and office under one roof, many of us have adapted and sought out solutions that worked best at the time.
Having addressed the immediate concerns of the pandemic, we are now seeing what could potentially be a new norm for where we work and how. Now is an excellent time to breathe, look at what is and is not working in this new digital workspace and how to improve upon it.
Research suggests that face-to-face meetings and get-togethers are essential for building trust and strong cohesion in all relationships, including our coworkers. “Zoom fatigue” is real and should not be the only tool to rely on. The majority of relationships built happen at the water-cooler, over lunch, or in the small chit chat that happens. Without these opportunities, it is easy to see how a remote setting can hinder this.
Building a cohesive team requires folks to think about their coworkers as people with distinct personalities and not just robots that can take on tasks. Start meetings by allowing people to take about what is happening in their lives, both professionally and personally. Avoid going around the circle and letting everyone have a turn, as some will not want to share.
Communicating should be about quality, not quantity. Since most of the ways the teams connect are over a video chat, it is essential to allow for time for natural small talk and casual conversation. Schedule in 10 minutes to allow for this type of interaction.
Members must feel safe to add to the conversation. Rules on conduct need to be clear and concise. This will seem silly in the beginning, but there will be those that appreciate this little attention to detail.
If the manager or boss is always leading the videoconference, how about switching it up? Shifting the pendulum on perceived power will drive the trust fact up a few notches. You also might find some talents that have been hiding in the face to face settings we were accustomed too.
Taking the time to carry out these small changes may seem unnatural or forced. In person, we often do not have to think about any of the initiatives mentioned above. They happen naturally. Creating an environment for building trust will go a longs way of setting the stage for success.