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How to Create Connection and Community in Remote Teams

Looking for effective strategies to shape up your remote team? Building a community with a strong connection can be a challenge in a remote work setup. What efforts should you administer to keep the group connected and prevent them from getting the feeling of detachment?

A recent study has proven that people need social interaction to maintain a high level of efficiency and productivity. It’s easy to focus on the tasks, but isn’t it better if your people feel a fun and rewarding environment that could make them love their job even more? 

As a remote team, having each member look forward to another workday is already an awesome achievement. But how can you do that? By trying out effective ideas and hacks to build a culture of trust and connection. 

Having Coworkers is Different from being a part of a Community

If you are getting a little confused about whether or not your team has achieved the level of community, this is what you have to take note of: Having coworkers is different from being a part of a community. Coworkers only mean working the business processes together, sharing resources to complete the tasks, and earn. On the other hand, the community is all about having a strong connection with each other, having shared visions, and doing activities as a team with unity and camaraderie.

How Does a Community in a Remote Team Improve Business?

A remote team is more likely to be productive and efficient when there is a sense of community. Some of its benefits to businesses are the following:

  • Higher employee retention rate
  • Higher productivity and efficiency rate
  • Reduced conflicts in the workplace and within the team
  • Increased collaboration and innovation
  • Healthier work culture, and many more

All of these helps create a better impression and drives your business towards growth.

10 Keys to Build a Great Culture and Community in a Remote Team

The future of work setup now looks different from how we imagined it before the pandemic started. Today, at least 1 out of 5 workers is a part of the distributed workforce, but this will not hinder people from interacting with others. We always seek ways to connect, learn and grow. 

Here are the effective and top hacks for remote teams to stay connected and foster a sense of community: 

1. Communicate Honestly with Clear Expectations

Communication will always be at the top of the list for an effective remote team. One way to do this is to set a schedule for weekly team meetings. An effective virtual team meeting allows you to discuss challenges, brainstorm processes, and celebrate successes together. 

Moreover, setting clear expectations will boost productivity. Take some time to talk about the goals of your team including the specific target per task. This way, you can achieve both building a strong group connection as well making your team high-performing.

Nowadays, there’s no way for you not to connect as remote communication is now easier. As a result of the continuous development in technology, many sites and applications have emerged to keep us connected whether through chat, video calls, or emails such as Gmail, Slack, Viber, WhatsApp, Zoom, and many more. 

2. Create a Dedicated Random Channel

A non-work-related group chat would greatly help create a lighter aura within the team. It is more important than it may initially seem. Remote work can sometimes make employees feel lonely. This channel can help improve team collaboration and workflow.

Here, each individual in your group can ask questions and share thoughts, stories, and random things they want to share such as everyone’s favorites, new movie releases, pets, kids, celebrities, and many more. 

A dedicated random group chat helps create connections and community in remote teams. It can make you feel as if you are all together in the same room, eliminating the barriers of working and having conversations virtually. Just a tip, promote a positive vibe within the channel to encourage everyone to read and get along. 

3. Show Up and Smile for the Camera

Human leadership is what impacts the most during challenging times. Your presence as a leader and your effective strategies to properly manage the team are what your people need in a remote work setup. When they see how dedicated you are, it significantly influences the way they work. This is why you must show up with a positive aura and attitude towards work and colleagues. 

Weekly video calls, seeing everyone’s faces also create a different level of connection and belongingness. 

4. Facilitate Fun Engagement Activities

Take a few minutes of team break at least once a week. Use this time to have some fun games or any non-work-related activities that can hype everyone like a trivia session, quick bingo, and many more. Make use of the collaborative tools you can find online. 

There is nothing wrong with infusing a little fun into everyone’s day. Keep in mind that a team that laughs together, innovates together

To get the energy up high, reward the winners with something useful or in demand. A gift certificate in an online shopping platform for instance. Even simple prizes could go a long way. This could boost motivation and get them ready for the tasks.

5. Create a Sense of Stability

The pandemic has created a lot of uncertainties. Reassuring your people at this time is what they greatly need. However, being transparent as possible about the business performance and the future market forecasts would also be ideal. We need to face the fact that in business, it’s not always good times, but there are also downtimes, and this is what will inspire us to keep on working hard — to create a strong sense of stability. 

6. Establish Frequent Professional and Personal Check-ins

Amidst the global crisis, you must put your people first. Tap on each of your members from time to time and ask how they are doing. A simple message would also be appreciated like, “Hey, if you need anything, I’m here to help.”

Always have the ears and the heart to listen to them. There’s no other way to authentically connect with others than relating to their stories. Let them know that you are always there for them professionally and personally when they need you, even for the pettiest reason. Be there, especially when they least expect it. 

7. Eliminate Isolationism in Your Remote Team

One way to fight isolationism within your group is to build a buddy system. This could be based on their interests like books, action figures, food, and many more as that is where you can strongly bring out their best side. 

Moreover, an article in Harvard Business Review stated that 69% of managers are uncomfortable communicating with employees. From this, we can assume that when the roles are reversed, the rate would be higher. Make them feel that you are not the typical superior they think you are — but more of a friend to whom they can have conversations and do activities.

8. Have an Appreciation Platform

If you want to keep your people and have them enjoy an active and rewarding community, make each member feel valued by you and the other team members. Recognize their good works in front of others to encourage everyone not just to keep hustling, but to congratulate the person. This creates a happy air within the team, bringing each other closer.

9. The Cupcake Principle

Even when your people are working remotely, make sure everyone gets a piece. This is easier nowadays as many food delivery services are within your reach. This is a great idea, especially each time the business achieves a milestone. Your people did their special parts for it. Let them feel that they are a part of the success even through simple gestures. 

10. Coworking Spaces

When working remotely, there are times when we are longing to be around other people, especially our colleagues during work hours. It makes us feel an overall sense of connection in various aspects of our lives, may it be personal or professional. 

Satisfy the longingness by considering offering coworking space for your staff who need a workspace or those who want to work with others in the same place. 

Another great idea would be to get a meeting hub where you and your people can gather at least once a month to discuss the important business activities while enjoying the presence of everyone.

Communication for a Productive Team of Remote Workers

When you have a strong connection and a solid community, a remote work setup will never be a hindrance to achieve the goals of your organization. You can empower each other and unleash your team’s full potential. Try these practices to provide support and different opportunities for connection and building a community within your team, no matter where they are.

Looking for great coworking places and hubs to meet and connect with your team? Arch Serviced Offices got you covered! Get in touch with us to learn more about our coworking and meeting spaces.

7 Best Digital Tools to Keep Your Remote Team Connected

Image Courtesy of fauxels from Pexels

 

In the past couple of months, remote work has been on the rise because of how the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to adapt to enable continuity of operations. This global health crisis has likewise led to organizations being accustomed to different schedules and habits that make remote work both manageable and productive. While this work arrangement can spur a great deal of difficulty at first, it also opens up an avenue for positive changes and increased collaboration among remote teams.

Now that you have adopted remote work policies and a remote workforce in place, how can you effectively communicate and collaborate with them especially during a crisis? Some challenges that remote work poses include time zones, technological differences, cultural differences, and language barriers, among others.

Apart from these unique threats, you also have all these common struggles associated with remote work to overcome:

Struggles of Remote Work - Blog - ARCH Offices

Source: State of Remote Report, 2019

Managing a remote team is becoming the need of the hour. As a leader, it is your responsibility to set up the path for your team’s success. And these digital tools can significantly improve your remote work processes and help you stay on top of things while operating from your home office, a coworking space, or anywhere else in the world.

Slack - 7 Best Digital Tools to Keep Your Remote Team Connected - Blog - ARCH Offices

Source: Slack

For Quick Messaging and Chatting – Slack

Slack is a messaging remote work tool that helps in team communication, allowing you and your team to exchange ideas and give comments in real time. It has great team management features for planning, running projects, assigning teams, as well as playing games and activities. It is also an efficient platform for company-wide announcements and is available for both iOS and Android to give you complete functionality.

Other Best Features:

  • Different channels for multiple teams and projects
  • File sharing
  • Archived messages with a search feature
  • Third-party app integrations
  • Voice and video calls

Alternatives:

  • Google Hangout
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Skype
  • Flock
  • Wire
  • Mattermost

Zoom - 7 Best Digital Tools to Keep Your Remote Team Connected - Blog - ARCH Offices

Source: Zoom

For Video Conferencing – Zoom

Zoom is a video conferencing and communication tool designed for remote teams, virtual business conferences, webinars, virtual meetings, and other corporate purposes. Many business leaders regard Zoom as one of the best remote collaboration tools because it replicates face-to-face interactions and in-office meetings. You can see how your team reacts to a suggestion or an idea. You can even share your screen with other team members for a collaborative discussion when you are presenting. This is an effective feature especially if you are teaching someone how to use a new app or you want to display a document for the team. If you are a digital product seller, you can easily show them a demo without having to guess their genuine reactions. No wonder Zoom is one of the top market winners during this COVID-19 crisis.

Other Best Features:

  • Join as a view-only attendee
  • Built-in security measures like password protection
  • Instant or scheduled meeting setups
  • Fullscreen and gallery view
  • Voice sharing

Alternatives:

  • Google Hangouts Meet
  • join.me
  • Cisco Webex Meetings
  • GoToMeeting
  • BlueJeans

Toggl - 7 Best Digital Tools to Keep Your Remote Team Connected - Blog - ARCH Offices

Source: Toggl

For Time Management – Toggl

Toggl is an easy-to-use time tracking app that can give you an overview of time spent on various tasks. It was designed to accurately track how long it takes to accomplish a project and was originally intended for freelancers to ensure accurate invoicing and fair payments. The app’s data visualizations can help you compare profits against time spent on tasks and labor costs, allowing you to see which projects and clients are most profitable. Toggl is web-based but also offers native apps for desktop, iOS, and Android that sync together in real time. Furthermore, the app can be used both online and offline for continued productivity.

Other Best Features:

  • Charts
  • Day-by-day breakdown
  • Full reports
  • One-click time tracking
  • Reports sharing

Alternatives:

  • DeskTime
  • Everhour
  • Paymo
  • FreshBooks
  • RescueTime
  • Hubstaff

ProofHub - 7 Best Digital Tools to Keep Your Remote Team Connected - Blog - ARCH Offices

Source: ProofHub

For Project Management – ProofHub

ProofHub is an all-in-one project management app that offers a replacement for conventional emailing and a bunch of other tools, integrating multiple features under one roof. By using this app, projects can be accomplished faster with proper utilization of allocated resources, not to mention easier scheduling and tracking of tasks for an effective remote team collaboration. Creating projects, communicating with teams and clients from around the globe, as well as delivering outputs on time and keeping things organized can now all run smoothly with the help of ProofHub.

Other Best Features:

  • Online chat
  • Multilingual
  • Gantt charts
  • Project templates
  • Activity logs
  • Request forms

Alternatives:

  • Trello
  • Google Sheets/Excel
  • Basecamp
  • Asana

Google Drive - 7 Best Digital Tools to Keep Your Remote Team Connected - Blog - ARCH Offices

Source: PCMag

For Cloud Storage and File Sharing – Google Drive

Imagine your Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and even images and videos in one convenient location that is accessible to your remote team—that is Google Drive for you. With this digital tool, your team members can also collaborate on a particular document, leave comments, and make real-time changes. You can grant other people access to certain files and allow them to view or make edits as you wish. Moreover, Google Drive comes with a free 15g storage space.

Other Best Features:

  • Convert PDF files to Docs
  • Scan documents
  • Filter searches
  • One-tap phone backup
  • Set up offline access

Alternatives:

  • Dropbox
  • OneDrive
  • pCloud
  • Sync
  • Canto

Zapier - 7 Best Digital Tools to Keep Your Remote Team Connected - Blog - ARCH Offices

Source: Zapier

For Workflow Automation – Zapier

Simply put, Zapier can automate almost any type of business process. This workflow automation software has the ability to share data with and connect to over 1,000 web apps such as Facebook, Google Drive, and Slack, among others. Just build a workflow in their editor, select the apps you want to integrate into your workflow, and then design it. Zapier lets you create what they call “Zaps,” which allow you to build entire workflows using over 500 integrations from document sharing and social media to project management and email marketing.

Other Best Features:

  • Connect over 1,500 apps
  • User-friendly workflow editor
  • Multi-step workflows and conditioning logic
  • Collaboration tools for teams and organizations

Alternatives:

  • Automate
  • Zoho Creator
  • Microsoft Flow
  • Integrify
  • KiSSFLOW

Dashlane - 7 Best Digital Tools to Keep Your Remote Team Connected - Blog - ARCH Offices

Source: Dashlane

For Password Management – Dashlane

Having several passwords can be challenging, but a structured and secure password management tool will bear the burden for you. With just a few clicks, Dashlane can remember your login details. It is encrypted and easy to use especially for first-time users. This tool also has the capability to store logins for up to 50 accounts in a secure vault with multi-factor authentication. Should you opt for Dashlane’s premium service, you can monitor the dark web for data breaches and receive personalized alerts if any of your personal information appears in stolen data.

Other Best Features:

  • Easy syncing between devices
  • Includes VPN
  • Secure document storage
  • Extension that supports Chrome, Firefox, and Safari

Alternatives:

  • LastPass
  • Keeper Password Manager
  • RoboForm
  • True Key
  • Enpass

The COVID-19 pandemic forced a lot of businesses to enable remote work. This work arrangement can be challenging, especially when it is sudden and uncalled for. But with the right digital tools in place, you can maximize productivity and establish collaborative workflows among your team members, wherever they may be in the world.