Did you know, as reported by FlexJobs, that 74% of respondents now consider a flexible work schedule to be the new normal?
It’s not a surprise, considering that so many of us are working from home now, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. And while providing employees with the option of remote working has benefits, such as allowing them to work to their own schedule, it can also create a feeling of loneliness and alienation on a business team.
Team building is essential to the success of a business. In fact, according to a Stanford Study, participants who worked toward a work goal collaboratively committed to their task 64% longer than those working alone.
As a business leader, you are likely aware of the challenges that make it difficult for your team to work collaboratively.
However, there are many strategies you can use to build your team. And with these strategies, you can have a motivated, happy workforce that enjoys chatting with each other on Slack and Zoom–and make your business more successful.
Want to find out how? Check out this guide we’ve put together.
Hire the Right People
There’s that popular saying: “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team.’” While it’s a cliche, it’s a cliche for a reason. If you hire people who aren’t friendly or don’t have remote work experience, you will end up with difficulties when projects that require teamwork come along.
You’ll also want to hire people who agree with your company ethos. That guarantees that they’ll be excited about every work project, which means they’ll inspire others to work hard with them.
Obviously, new hires should meet all the requirements of the job you’ve posted. But a great way to ensure that they’re a good fit for the company is to have current employees interview them, too.
That way, your employees can tell you if they think the potential candidate would enjoy the work at your company and get along well with them.
Asking potential candidates to submit a video can also help you get an idea of if their personality is a good fit for your company.
Be Clear About Goals and Expectations
Ensuring your team is happy is in large part up to you. When business leaders are clear about goals and expectations, they make it easier for employees to work on a team.
Especially on a remote team, where employees will be making many decisions on their own (and in different time zones), giving them guidance on what to do will prevent confusion and frustration.
Whenever you’re starting out a new project, have a meeting with everyone to clarify what the schedule and milestones are.
Prepare slides, and use technology such as Wrike or Google Calendar to make deadlines clear. Additionally, be clear about who team members should get in touch with if they come across any challenges, and how long it will take to get back to them.
With new hires, provide them with company-wide guidance on internal processes. It never hurts, either, to ask your current employees if there’s anything they were confused about during their first few months or year at your company.
Listen to Your Employees
Communication is incredibly important when it comes to running a business successfully–but we don’t just mean being clear about your standards and expectations, as just discussed.
It’s also important to demonstrate to your employees that you are always there for them. This will make them feel not only heard but also appreciated. It's especially important to do this when a workplace conflict arises.
Considering that the main reason why employees leave their jobs is a lack of recognition, you need to make communication a priority.
Even though solidarity is usually a good thing on teams, it isn’t when it’s solidarity against you.
Create an open-door policy. Make it easy for employees to schedule Zoom meetings with you, and when they do, ask about how they’re feeling about their work with an open demeanor.
Schedule check-ins, too, to ensure that you’re meeting with employees one-on-one even if they don’t reach out first.
Have Company-Wide Meetings
In addition to one-on-one meetings, company-wide meetings are a great opportunity to make your employees feel invested in your company.
In a team meeting, they will be given a platform to voice their own ideas in front of colleagues, which will make them feel heard.
It’s also a great chance for the team to get to know each other. Before the meeting starts, have everyone talk a little about how they’re doing, using ice-breakers such as two truths and a lie or charades to help them open up.
Then, after your meeting, have an activity where your team can brainstorm solutions together for issues your company is having–or, if there aren’t any current issues, they can brainstorm to come up with new ideas for common goals for the company.
Finally, you can provide a Q&A at the end of your meeting. Chances are, this will generate some team discussions.
By having company-wide meetings and employing these strategies, your employees will not only get along better, but they will also understand what their attitudes are toward working at your company, which will make the process of working together go smoothly.
Do Trainings Together Online
Work training, though necessary for the success of your business, are often boring and filled with technical jargon. Why not make them more fun and transform them into a team-building exercise?
Training is incredibly important already. Not only for new hires but also for your current employees who might need a refresher. So set up training, and then make them happen online.
Set up several if you need to meet the requirements of different time zones.
Just like with your company-wide meetings, ensure that everyone introduces themselves before the training, and end with a Q&A. This will make your team feel more connected and heard, which is key to team bonding.
Create a Virtual Office with Slack
Another great way to keep your team engaged is by creating a virtual office with Slack.
If you’ve had to go remote, Slack makes it easy for employees to communicate quickly and effectively–which is great for business and remote team building. Additionally, there are separate channels that imitate the water cooler talk that they might be missing if your office has had to go remote in response to the current pandemic.
Plan Virtual Events and Games
Let’s get down to the business of having fun.
Because, if your employees aren’t having fun, then they aren’t going to be as effective. In fact, having fun at work, according to a study, reduces sick days and boosts productivity.
So, even though you want your team to work hard, take some time out to plan virtual team building games.
Especially now, when many people are feeling alienated, depressed, and stressed because of the current pandemic, providing them with a fun distraction can make a real difference in their lives. And it's key to having a successful team.
Because of the benefits of fun, don’t see it as a way to avoid getting work done. Schedule virtual events and games, maybe once a week, encouraging your employees to attend during work hours.
Some fun options you can play on Zoom include:
- Heads Up!
- Two Truths and a Lie
- Cards Against Humanity
With these games, there's also the added benefit of strengthening your employees' problem-solving skills and encourages effective teamwork.
Have a Shared Activity
It’s also helpful to have a shared activity your employees engage in. Unlike games, this shared activity would add meaning to their lives, and bring them closer over time.One great example is running a book club.
This team building exercise adds enjoyment to their everyday lives and gives them something to look forward to when they meet with teammates to discuss the book at the end of every month.
Additionally, this will allow colleagues to open up more than they would in a game since they will be discussing something they have thought about for a while.
Other similar activities include taking a class online together or having a film club.
More Strategies for Team Building
All these practices will help you build your team, whether you’re working at an office or with a remote team that’s spread around the globe.
To learn more about team building, and other ways you can keep your team happy and make your business successful, it can help to work with a coach. That’s exactly what we provide, at Executive Coaching Now.
To learn more about the coaching we offer, visit our page about the executive coaching services we offer.