Working from home can be seen as a logistical relief for your company. However, from the standpoint of the individual motivation of your employees, this scenario can quickly turn into a proper nightmare. This is why you need to assume responsibility and make sure that you do all that you can to make this situation bearable for your staff.
There is one more important thing you need to understand – working alone has its benefits. This is why you shouldn’t force your employees to participate in events that they don’t want to. Below, we will list several interesting ideas that you can try out. Ideally, you should start a separate chat room for each of them and urge your employees to share these achievements in the right groups. This way, some of your employees will be able to mute groups that they don’t care much about and avoid a scenario where they become a distraction.
With all of this in mind and without further ado, here are seven simple tips to help you boost the spirit of your remote team.
1. Virtual break room
Having a channel for chit-chat, memes and links are one of the best things you can do when everyone starts working in a virtual environment. Of course, some people find this to be a distraction, which is why allowing them to mute this chat is important. Here, the rules will be much different than in the professional (main) channel of the IM tool you’re currently using for work. Make sure everyone understands that. Also, in order to help people to loosen up, you might have to be the one leading the charge.
This can also be a meeting place where your staff will socialize during their breakfast break. This can quickly turn into a type of ritual. These rituals do wonders for team spirit and the spirit of the community within your team. As a result, this also ensures a much higher talent retention rate within your organization.
2. Celebrate achievements together
Sharing your daily accomplishments with your colleagues can be quite satisfying. This is especially true if there’s already a sense of community developed in the firm. Keep in mind that this can be more effective than bragging to your friends and family about it. Colleagues are probably far more familiar with what you’re doing and may even have a part in the project as a whole. This means that they can put into perspective just how big of an accomplishment this is and give you genuine validation.
They are also there to give you support and provide guidance in areas where you may lack experience. Knowing that there’s someone to back you up in moments of crisis can be pivotal for your overall success in the long run. Your coworkers are important for your professional development.
3. Friday video conference
Friday is a special day, the last workday of the week and the honorary part of the weekend. One of the hardest things to achieve is to try and recreate some of this Friday spirit into a virtual office. An hour or two before the end of the day, you can start a special meeting, where you and your staff unwind together for the weekend that’s coming. For this, you should find a reliable video conferencing tool and have a couple of games and events planned.
While this is not mandatory, it helps replace the beer after-work tradition that is present in so many enterprises. It also boosts your talent retention efforts by quite a bit. Seeing as how it develops relationships between your staff members, it also makes a major contribution to your talent retention efforts.
4. Performance reviews
People who work from home are having a hard time adjusting. For this reason, their performance may suffer. The biggest problem lies in the fact that they might be completely oblivious of this poor performance. This is when they need a reality check. Just make sure that you’re understanding and that you give them constructive criticism, instead of just fixating on mistakes.
One of the most important issues here is learning how to share your insight without insulting anyone. For starters, don’t make it personal. Second, keep it positive. Third, you can embellish this by starting out with all the good things that you’ve noticed (in order to soften the blow). Most importantly, you need to be specific and make it into a dialogue.
5. Video game multiplayer
Multiplayer video games can be a suitable replacement for paintball or similar teambuilding activity. Just think about all the interesting video games that are played in multiplayer today. There are a lot of free-to-play games but you can also buy a copy for members of your team (this is a minor team building investment) and play together.
Grouping people will increase the sense of unity and give them an additional topic to discuss in private chats. This will bolster their sense of belonging and help them feel like they’re part of something bigger. Tactics applied in video games can also become applicable in your business model, as well. A team leader on the project can become a squad leader in FPS.
Just keep in mind that some of these arguments might become quite heated, so make sure that there’s always someone superior overseeing it all.
6. Give everyone a piece of the spotlight
Even in the digital environment, chances are that extroverts will grab all the spotlight. This is something that you shouldn’t really allow to happen. Instead, what you should do is make sure that everyone has a platform to share their own opinion. So, if you’re playing games, make sure that everyone gets their turn.
Home tours are another popular method for promoting team spirit in a virtual environment. If you’re really doing this, the best way to become more inclusive is to make a schedule. This way everyone gets their turn to showcase their home.
One more interesting idea for you to explore is bring-your-family-member-to-work day. In a digital environment, this is much easier to pull off, seeing as how it’s enough for them to just stand in front of a camera.
7. Book club
The last idea you could try out would be to start a book club. This way, you have a chance of creating a unique environment where the free flow ideas can happen a lot more spontaneously. This idea, nonetheless, has one more downside. Your staff may already be overworked and on a tight schedule, yet, now you’re asking them to read a book (again on a deadline). In other words, this needs to be mandatory.
It doesn’t have to be a book. You can also discuss the latest episode of the series that you’ve all agreed on watching or discuss movies. The concept of semi-academic discourse is what matters here the most, not the topic.
The last thing you need to understand is that some people are just there to work. This means that they aren’t interested in extracurricular activities of any kind or socializing with their coworkers. Sure, establishing company culture is important and having everyone in the office get along is also a big thing. Still, this is not a base requirement and if someone doesn’t want to take part in these activities, they should have the right to avoid all of them. Don’t worry, the majority of your staff members will, most likely, jump on the opportunity to socialize and get to know their coworkers much better.