Connection is one of the most meaningful parts of life, including in the workplace—even introverted employees need some level of connection. That’s why staying connected while working remotely is needed now more than ever before. However, coming up with engaging, work-appropriate activities that help coworkers interact and bond can be challenging.
The good news is that there are plenty of untapped opportunities for businesses and organizations to authentically connect. This article will discuss how to connect with coworkers virtually and other helpful collaboration tips.
Why Is It Important To Stay Connected With Your Team?
Did you know that, on average, people spend over one-third of their life at work? Now imagine the individuals who have little to no options for connecting with others during that third of their lifetime. Despite the many benefits of working from home, it’s also possible that people feel isolated and unhappy. Isolation can lead to greater stress, poor decision-making, worsening mental health, and stifled creativity. Connecting with others at work, even remotely, isn’t just beneficial—for most people, it’s essential for a healthy work environment.
But, supported remote workers tend to be happier and healthier both mentally and physically while working from home. According to Forbes, 22% of remote workers were happier than onsite workers, with less stress and greater productivity. To combat the isolation that prevents remote workers from being fulfilling, Forbes suggests that, along with scheduling plenty of virtual breaks and having engaging visual aids during meetings, teams and leadership should prioritize creating moments to connect.
Better performance from individuals
Connection with others brings out the best in individuals. Each employee is more willing to share their ideas and solutions when they feel like they are a part of the group and not just another Zoom screen—they need to feel comfortable with their coworkers and known by their peers and leaders. Encouraging greater connection also encourages greater ownership and accountability, which, consequently, yields better results.
Plus, the more someone enjoys their job, the more effort they want to put into doing a superior job. Personal connection with others creates deeper relationships that bring personal joy, helps people feel valued and respected, and creates a community where both individuals and teams can evolve and progress.
Better communication and efficiency among teams
Teams will also be made of happier contributors, which boosts morale and productivity. Every person on a team can greatly impact the quality of work that is done, for good or bad, so content and fulfilled individuals create high-performing teams.
The more unified and connected teams are in the workplace, the better they operate. Team-building experiences boost trust and foster relationships, which creates groups that function like a well-oiled machine. There’s greater honesty and transparency between coworkers, increased clarity for projects, and a tight-knit community that enjoys the work they do.
How To Make Remote Employees Feel Connected
Meaningful connections are the antidote to isolation, but the key word here is meaningful. People are busy and have lives outside of work, so you don’t necessarily want to take time away from your team for an activity that isn’t going to help them in some way. You aren’t checking a box, you’re cultivating meaningful relationships and creativity. These quick tips will help you determine what your team needs for connection.
- Have a variety of activities. Everyone’s different, so you don’t want to do the same thing over and over again. Not only will people become disinterested eventually, but the same two activities won’t benefit all your employees. Teamraderie has an entire catalog of unique experiences for teams that need to revitalize their activities.
- Have regular meetings. People need some consistency and something to look forward to, so try having weekly meetings or activities where people can interact and get to know each other.
- Communicate often and openly. You don’t need an activity every day, but people do need daily opportunities to communicate and connect, even if it’s a group chat.
- Celebrate your successes. Every victory should be celebrated, and the more you can give a little shout-out to individuals, the better.
- Create a mentorship program. Helping coworkers work more closely and directly uplift and teach each other is a great way to encourage connection.
- Get to know individuals. Asking people questions not only encourages competition but also helps others get to know each other.
How Do You Stay Creative If Your Team Is Working Remotely?
As mentioned, being unable to connect remotely also means creativity suffers, both individually and as a team. With hybrid and fully remote work, the way people connect and collaborate is changing, but still possible. Here are some ways better connections can improve and sustain creativity.
- Optimize your environment. The atmosphere of work affects creativity, so it’s important to establish an open-minded and safe space for people to express their ideas. When working remotely, it’s even more important to communicate that openness with the team; and the best way to do that is to build trust and relationships through meaningful connection.
- Support individuals. Remind your employees that each perspective is important and needed to create the best solutions. Again, employees that feel wanted are invaluable.
- Encourage physical activity. The brain needs movement and variety, so you can include activities that allow your team to get out of their office and get their body moving.
When you’re able to connect with and trust one another, teams can problem-solve more efficiently and find innovative solutions to the challenges the team (and individuals) are facing.
10 Fun Ways To Stay Connected When Working Remotely
Now, our main event: here are 10 ways to involve your remote teams and create better connections.
1. Virtual lunches
When you work remotely, you don’t get the opportunity to chat in the break room or cafeteria. Instead, invite people to attend a virtual lunch where they can enjoy their food and get to know each other. You could play a game afterward or have prompts for participants to discuss, or you can keep it simple and simply encourage conversation. This takes little preparation but gives people the chance to build camaraderie.
2. Have a question of the week
Remember: people want to be known, especially on their team. Having a fun question of the week is another easy way to get people to participate and share something about themselves. A question of the week also sparks discussion and even friendly debates for certain questions. If you really want to encourage participation, you can ask each team member to come up with a new question, which fosters creativity and makes people more invested in the activity.
3. Enjoy coffee and baked goods together
Encouraging employees to take breaks is a great work-from-home strategy, and some of their breaks could be spent connecting with their team if they need some social interaction. If you’re going on a quick coffee break, invite someone to join you or even start up a conversation on your team chat.
Even better, sign up for Teamraderie’s Tartine Bakery experience. Teams will get kits with Tartine Bakery’s most famous baked items and fresh pressed ground coffee to sample together online. A top barista walks you through using the included coffee and tea press while sharing the amazing story of Tartine’s Bakery and its impact on sustainability and ingredient sourcing.
4. Create rituals for your team
It’s not always easy to get people to participate in virtual activities, even when employees need it. That’s why it’s important to provide the proper context and establish rituals when you have live events for your team.
You can create your own collaboration rituals that suit the needs of your specific team with this Teamraderie experience. Glenn Fajardo, an expert in bringing coworkers together in a remote world, has researched how to make virtual meetings satisfying via meaningful human connection, which he discusses with teams that sign up for an experience with him.
5. Highlight your employees
Recognition is a powerful way to reward and motivate employees to perform at their best and appreciate one another. Depending on the size of your team, you can usually find someone to highlight each week, for accomplishments big and small.
Doing this also stimulates collaboration and team-wide improvement of procedures and practices. Let’s say you highlight your social media rep for having an especially successful post—people have the opportunity to congratulate that employee, and they can reach out to that employee if they want advice for their own social media posts.
6. Have a company-wide competition
If you need your employees to participate more, start a competition that everyone can try to beat. Then you can hold a virtual event to highlight the winners and share what prizes will be sent to those winners. You can also simplify everything and have a challenge that everyone contributes to, and if your company meets its goal, host a virtual party as a reward. This is a great way to help people meet and invest in each other.
7. Virtually grab a beer with your work friends
Some teams love to grab a beer after a long week and spend their Friday night relaxing together—but remote workers don’t have those same opportunities—unless they use Teamraderie’s Virtual Beer Tasting experience. Enjoy craft beers that you can’t find locally with a beer expert who will share interesting processes about breweries and anything else you’d want to know about beer.
8. Have a spirit week event
Sometimes, your team just needs to let loose. A spirit week activity where you have themed days for people to dress up for is just as fun on camera as it is in person. See how creative people can be with their outfits, or make themed quizzes each day for people to try. There are dozens of themes to try, like decade day, crazy hair or hat day, dress-like-your-boss day, NASA or space day, jersey day, meme day, tacky sweater day, and many more.
9. Learn a new hobby or skill together
Most people are open to new experiences, and you don’t have to attend an in-person class to learn together. You can start a chat with people who want to do something new with others. Sign up for a virtual cooking class and take it together. Learn a language and check in with each other once a week to see how you’ve all progressed—you can even practice with one another. The possibilities are endless when people are willing to share their progress and support others in their achievements.
10. Optimize how your team connects
The ultimate way to connect with your teammates is to learn how to build better relationships. Radical Candor for Hybrid Teams is a Teamraderie experience that helps teams create more meaningful connections with each other by improving the way people share with others, give and receive praise, increase feedback, and other data-driven solutions for team connection. Radical Candor-trained coaches guide the discussion and share insight about your team and what the team can do to collaborate.
How Teamraderie Works
Now that you have some ideas for collaborating with your remote coworkers, it’s time to find the best way for your team to connect. Teamraderie specializes in helping teams across the globe connect while working remotely by offering virtual and completely unique experiences. You can find games, health and wellness activities, creative exercises, speakers and other professionals who have intriguing stories to share, and all sorts of other team-building collaborations.
All you have to do is find an experience on our website that your team would enjoy, select a date and time, and wait for your kits to arrive that contains everything you need to participate. A host will keep things rolling during the event while each person receives and uses their individual kit. Teamraderie takes care of everything else!
When you prioritize staying connected while working from home, you also prioritize the lives of your employees and the quality of the work your team produces. Let Teamraderie help you and your team make meaningful connections, improve performance, and increase job satisfaction with our unique experiences.
Book an experience today!