You’ve been looking for the perfect person to join your team for a while, then suddenly you find “the one”. The problem is that they live out of town and the commute is too long.
Thanks to the increase in remote working, you no longer have to give up on them. In fact, globally, 79% of knowledge workers work outside the office on a regular basis, so you are not alone when building a team of remote workers. The increase in remote working means that companies are balancing presence and remote work to ensure that productivity is not impacted.
Another important factor is building inter-team relationships to maximize collaboration when your staff is no longer sat together in the same room.
Out of sight, out of mind
A survey of 1100 employees conducted by Harvard Business Review found that remote workers felt they weren’t treated equally. Specifically, they worry that they are left out of important project discussions or that their office based co-workers say bad things about them. If not addressed quickly, these negative emotions can lead to productivity issues and increased stress for the remote worker.
Team building is important for a number of reasons, all related to ensuring that the productivity of the team is maximized. A group of individuals who are comfortable with each other are likely to be more creative. If they know each other’s strengths, they can distribute the work effectively to leverage these.
The best way to help a team of remote workers to function well together is to put measures in place to help build trust. It’s easy to assume that when employees first meet, they look to find each other’s strengths.
In reality, they’ll want to find a way to connect, normally through a shared interest or experience.
Due to the increased usage of geographically dispersed teams, communication between teammates is shifting from face to face chats at the water cooler to using online collaboration tools. The time that the employees spend together in one location is minimal. This means that team building activities need to be more engineered.
This can be achieved through encouraging the team to network, sharing virtual coffee breaks or including an informal “get to know you” section into team meetings.
A technique often used by companies with a large number of employees is to hold a group team building event, which brings together the remote employees in one location to engage in a series of planned activities designed to help the team get to know each other better.
Why invest in team building?
Teams are often made up of individuals from different backgrounds with different levels of experience. These people don’t get to choose who they are grouped with but are expected to work collaboratively to achieve a shared result.
Team building is crucial to the success of any business with more than one employee. It has been proven time and time again that spending time focusing on improving team communication can have long term benefits to the company.
Why wait? Invest now to help maximize profits, improve staff retention and empower your teams to be more mission focused.
Contribution from freelance writer Jenny Holt. Jenny’s previous experience in business has allowed her to specialize in the sector, although she also enjoys writing about entrepreneurship, leadership and new technology.