Due to its flexibility, remote working arrangements have become one of the most sought-after perks and benefits an organization can provide its team members. Not only do 75% of people feel there are fewer distractions when telecommuting, but they also find inspiration in the freedom to work at their own pace, from wherever they choose. Many professionals are willing to relook vacation time, wage raises, and even retirement plans in exchange for the opportunity to work from home. According to Global Workplace Analytics, the number of people working from home has increased by 140% since 2005.
While the benefits of remote working are endless, there are also some drawbacks. A lack of face-to-face interaction with coworkers could have a negative impact on productivity and performance, not to mention the added effect it could have on their morale or mental wellbeing.
Keeping remote team members engaged is a critical aspect of leading a remote team. It takes effort for team members to interact with coworkers because they can’t have natural chats in break rooms or meet at their cubicles. Isolation and loneliness, a lack of passion for the company’s vision or goals, and a feeling of unhappiness and underappreciation can result from a lack of involvement and social interaction.
Four power tips from the outsourcing pros
Here are some practical tips from the department leads at Boldr that could help to keep your remote teams engaged and connected.
1. End a productive week on a positive note
Everybody greets weekends with a sigh of relief. But Boldranian virtual teams look forward to the week-ender meeting always and finish the week with a thumbs up!
“Every last meeting of the week, every remote team member is encouraged to answer two questions :
- What are your plans this weekend?
- What must you do to close out your work week before you can enjoy your weekend?”
The first question is a good way to close out a week by reminding everyone that they have their own unique lives outside of work. The second question allows colleagues to support those who need it. This is not only an effective way to conclude a work week, but it creates a high-confidence environment where trust is nurtured, allowing each remote team member to be their authentic selves.
2. Have the right types of conversations with your remote teams
Managers must maintain contact with their remote team members to prevent them from feeling alienated from the organization.
Boldr Implementations Manager, Chatty Varona, engages in various types of conversations with her teams to keep them performing well, interested and productive.
“I run a bi-monthly 90-min sync with my entire team so we can catch up on our lives outside of work. Questions include:
- How were your previous weeks?
- How’s your overall health? (We normalize conversations about mental and spiritual health)
- What made you smile recently?
- Anything interesting you want to share? (We encourage people to talk about the most random stuff)”
By ensuring that everyone’s cameras are turned on and giving everyone an opportunity to talk about their lives, it creates an engaging atmosphere. The sync is scheduled on the more quiet days so there is no concern of running over time if required to do so. This establishes a norm that every individual’s time is respected and valued. Initially a list of questions had to be sent out prior to the meeting, but as time went on the conversations became more natural.
Grounded in the belief that the value of simple things should not be underestimated, Chatty further encourages members to attend learning sessions together, even when working remotely. She also sends out birthday gifts, like doughnuts, cake or coffee, especially to team members who live nearby.
3. Fostering connections through food
Boldr Philippines is gastronomically unique. They have employed a creative way to stay connected to their teams. It is common knowledge that nothing keeps Filipinos more connected than their love for good food. It is tied to their culture and their traditions. Team members who come to the office share a meal every day and upload pictures to their slack channel to foster connections with the global Boldr community.
“We share a meal everyday, mostly breakfast. Sometimes one person cooks and brings for all, or we buy from the same place and eat together. Once a month, as part of our team building, we head out to have a meal. And when working remotely, we have a quirk where we discuss random facts about each other, like mentioning the weirdest email addresses we’ve ever used.”
Aside from making connections with the Ortigas colleagues, Reema travels to Tacloban every two months to work with the team for the entire week and to participate in group sessions while there. This personal relationship and the face-to-face meetings are extremely effective during times where remote working is required. Not only has she established that trust relationship in person, but she has gotten to know everyone on the team and maintained a personal bond, which makes subsequent remote engagement so much easier.
4. Sharing laughters over Zoom Icebreakers
The marketing team finds virtual icebreakers to be the perfect way to stay connected. By injecting fun gameplay and rewards into their regular sessions, this fully remote team has learned to prepare for meetings in advance.
“Our team is scattered across 5 cities in 3 countries, with every person working fully remote from their respective location. That can make team engagement tricky. So, once a month, my team meets for a non-work-related call. I ask them to prepare slides on certain topics, like:
- Introduce Yourself
- Guess The Baby
- Defend Your Own Random Topic (my personal favorite)
We try to top this off with a fun game, or anything to end the meeting with laughter. This allows us to grow closer to each other, strengthening our bond as a team. During each fun activity, it doesn’t feel like we’re continents apart. The connection is beautiful, and it improves the quality of the work we deliver everyday. It keeps us happy and united – and that’s what work should be all about.”
Through these activities, she has discovered how creative and competitive her team is. Everyone strives to accomplish the best result, which has created a healthy competition among colleagues. This openness encourages every member of the team to share their most valued memories, which makes them even more connected.
A well-connected team benefits everyone
When remote working teams are able to collaborate and interact freely, it creates an interdependence that fosters trust. Ideas flow freely in this creative and stimulating environment, which benefits your employees, customers, and the bottom line. Loosely structured virtual activities and shared information help team leads or managers to better facilitate these interactions to build trust relationships among team members, and trust translates to higher employee engagement, retention, and productivity.
Over the years, Boldr has become a preferred global PEO for various international companies, spread across different industries. We have made it our responsibility to take care of the local nuances, like payroll processing, HR compliance and risk management, while you take care of the thing that is most important to you – your loyal team members.
However, we know how important it is for a company to engage with their workforce. That’s why Boldr also offers support with the people component of your business, allowing you to look at your revenue growth, product development, and sales. As a result, team members are more engaged because they believe their concerns and needs are being addressed. If you need to create the perfect remote team or need help engaging with your current teams, get in touch with us here.