When millions of workers around the world shifted to remote arrangements in 2020, many were unexpectedly stepping into the new profile of the modern workforce. Nowadays, fully remote teams are commonplace, with colleagues collaborating on projects from across the country and rarely, if ever, meeting in-person. Technology has allowed businesses to hire more broadly and innovate more consistently through the proliferation of remote teams.

However, satellite work welcomes a host of difficulties as well. Coordinating schedules, interpreting email communication, and most importantly, creating a strong team bond can be tricky in a fully remote environment. The organizations that can foster inclusion and camaraderie across time zones stand to leverage that advantage, increasing performance and employee satisfaction. Here are 5 tips for nurturing a solid connection among your remote team.

Video On!

Every firm has become accustomed to Zoom, Google Meets, Skype…you name it. Video calls are the new meetings, and the simple effort of leaving your video camera “on” can make a big difference.

Especially if you are leading or supervising a team or project, take the opportunity to lead by example. If a manager has their camera and microphone turned off, there is little incentive for employees to show themselves. Instead, make it a habit to be well-dressed and well-groomed during video meetings and foster engagement through thoughtful questions and a smile. This simple trick will positively influence your team to do the same.

Leave Space for Non-Work Talk

Being in the physical office allows your employees to interact at lunch, at the water cooler, and even in their workspace about personal matters – not just work. When navigating a remote setting, create space for the same non-work talk.

Begin your meetings with personal recaps of each member’s weekend, a “high” and “low” of the day, or other similar icebreaker. Encourage the development of specific chats on a messenger app like Slack that are not related to a specific work task or project. Lots of baseball fans in the office? Start a conversation about the standings. Wild episode of The Bachelorette? Talk about it! These small invitations to make work more fun will go a long way towards fostering a healthy team dynamic.

Host a Virtual Happy Hour

A virtual event for your employees, when done the right way, can work wonders. Keep in mind that if done improperly, these events can feel like an additional hour on-the-clock instead of a relaxing release, so make a special effort to go above and beyond when hosting team events remotely.

For starters, make your virtual happy hour or game time during the last few work hours of the day, as opposed to tacked on at the end. Your team will feel better about spending their time on Zoom if they aren’t wishing they were somewhere else! Make any games or conversation starters approachable, appropriate, and fun. It sounds simple, but take an extra moment to think through how each team member might respond to the prompt, and ensure the game is a good fit.

Ask for Input

As with in-office setups, employees love to feel like they have a hand in designing their work life. Ask each member of your team directly for ideas on fostering connection among your team. You will likely hear some interesting suggestions you would not have thought of on your own, as well as insights into the types of events and games each member would prefer.

Asking for input is a win-win: employees will feel included and in control, and your job of designing activities will be easier.

Flexibility Is Key

A culture of “face time” does not work well on remote teams. If your employees are made to feel like they should be at their desk at all times, they will either A) do so begrudgingly, or B) make it look like they are, and foster a culture of dishonesty.

Instead of fighting the flexibility that remote work affords, embrace it. Strike a healthy balance between defined deadlines and a flexible work timeline to get there. Allowing your employees to enjoy the benefits of working from home will help cultivate an appreciation for your management team and a positive company culture.

Let’s Build Together

For the last fifteen years, Accountability Resources has been a finance and accounting recruitment leader in Austin, Texas. Our female-founded and owned firm has differentiated itself through our ability to partner, listen, and understand the needs of our clients to deliver results that exceed expectations. We strive to create long term, lasting relationships that help your business thrive.

Our accomplished recruiting team includes former accounting and finance professionals with CPAs, MBAs, and Big 4 Experience, so we understand the specific industry needs and pressures your business faces on a daily basis. Learn how we can help grow your team today by getting in touch with a recruiter, or explore other job market insights here.