"Coming Together Is A Beginning; Keeping Together Is Progress; Working Together Is Success." – Henry Ford
There's been an exponential acceleration in remote working and while there are comforts involving pyjamas and ice cream, there are also a lot of things that have been compromised due to the lack of experiential and emotional intimacy amongst the coworkers. With remote teams working around the clock without having seen their peers ever or for a long time, there have been some adverse effects that everyone could do without.
Stress is very common in the workplace when work lacks the social factor. This even affects moods and emotions outside of work. The absence of culture in the team has proven to be dangerous to firms. There have been staggering statistics about the impact of the stress caused by no or significantly less culture at work. Culture affects employment, too with a lot of people seeking other jobs if their current one doesn't have a positive culture or doesn't align with their own goals.
The air of professionalism sometimes prevents the workers from progressing towards a more personal relationship as they find it inappropriate or uncomfortable to ask about personal life if they only talk about work. That prevents them from bonding closely and hence makes space for a weak culture and morale. This sometimes makes it difficult for the peers to ask for big favours, which can sometimes be damaging to the company.
One of the first steps you can do to make them open up more, and be honest about even their work suggestions make an 'unofficial group' where they can share memes and jokes, or other forwards that will be outside of work and will provide a good break from work. If you are the manager or the employer, you don't need to be in that group, and in fact, it's better that way. Employees never talk about personal things in front of the boss, even when the boss previously used to be their friend. An unofficial group provides to be just the right place for employees to have fun amongst each other without constantly being scrutinized.
It is important for members of the group to feel like they belong somewhere. If the firm is all about work and goes no further than that, it is common for the employees to feel like they can't share anything to their peers. At this time, people are relying on the ones that they interact with often. For some, it's family or friends and for a lot of others, it's their colleagues, due to the constant interaction they do with them every day. If there is a detachment between the peers, there wouldn't be room to talk about personal things and lack of communication about things outside of work and this can make a team with a rather negative culture.
Have coffee breaks between the meetings you arrange so that employees can talk to each other about something other than work. Arrange one-on-one video calls for peers to get to know each other and catch up; these meetings don't need to be held frequently, even monthly holding them will work. Have short weekly meetings among team members that involves everyone but keep work out of it. Avoid using phone calls for longer or casual conversations and try to keep some time aside for video conferences instead because they offer the intimacy that is close to when the employees meet face-to-face. As a manager, you need to assure that the employees feel comfortable working in the specific environment and if their needs match amongst themselves.
Various things can be done to cultivate the environment present at the workplace but one of the best ones is virtual team building activities. It is of prime importance that your employees have fun while working and outside of work. Since there isn't much to do for pleasure outside of work, one seeks to substitute that with their peers. Everyone wants to be friends with the people they work with due to the constant communication and interaction that teamwork requires.
To establish a good relationship amongst the team members, there isn't a more fun option than virtual team building activities. Peers will come to know personal things about each other and they will know how differently they all behave outside of work. When the hidden side of the person is revealed, the person no longer feels vulnerable. On the surface, these games are simple and reveal only the very beginning of a person's nature, but experts claim that the foundation of a relationship established while playing these virtual games is vivid and vital and something that isn't broken easily.
It is of utmost importance to know the people you are working with because it determines how you will be sharing, scheduling, and submitting the work. For the relationship dynamic should be smooth and it should enable space for conversations that might be controversial or difficult to establish a healthy relationship as friends as well as co-workers. As a manager, you have to keep coming up with ideas to ensure that there is a good vibe that follows to give rise to optimum productivity because of the close relationships of the employees.
To make this happen, you can host a small debate in a month where the team is divided into two or there are pairs to discuss their contrasting views on a particular topic. You can start with easy topics that don't have the chance to get heated, for instance, if it's a marketing team, you can hold a debate over the best technique that is done by someone or they perhaps have done. Further on, you can go to more controversial topics that are more global.
You can even simply have discourses on a topic, instead of a debate if you don't want them arguing over something. Keep a topic a month and end the month with those unique moments. These debates reveal the parts of people that never come up in conversations. The team members and you will understand the inner workings of each other's minds and that is the last step to having a good relationship with someone.
Once you take these steps, there will inevitably be good relationships and therefore a sense of togetherness in a team, helping it function like a well-oiled machine.
If you want to look into more of our virtual team activities, please head to our page on virtual team building activities. We assure you, they are completely worth your while.