Building team chemistry in the age of remote work
Updated: Dec 5, 2022
While maintaining a collaborative environment can be challenging in remote work environments, there are a few ways employers can help keep team chemistry alive.
By Aaron Hart, BDR
M Sales Growth Advisors
For many of us who have shifted to remote work since the onset of the pandemic, we know too well the trials and tribulations that can come from solely virtual interactions. From the classic, “sorry, I was on mute,” to overthinking how many exclamation points you should use in a Slack message, the experience can prove to be challenging sometimes.
With roughly 56 percent of companies worldwide being either fully remote or pursuing remote work arrangements, according to a 2021 Owl Labs study, remote work setups have become increasingly sought after by the global workforce. Offering flexibility, better work-life balance, and the potential to outsource a broader spectrum of employees, it can be beneficial to both personnel and company leaders.
However, despite the many benefits of remote work arrangements, there still remain elements of on-site work that are difficult to replicate through a screen.
While tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and other digital software platforms have eased the difficulties of maintaining communication between coworkers, there are still some pitfalls when it comes to recreating the collaborative environment of an office.
One major roadblock for companies acclimating to remote work is building team chemistry. Defined as a “set of often undefined components that result in a group of people being in sync with each other’s actions and decisions,” it leaves many to wonder how they can effectively establish camaraderie among employees when most are at home.
In the past, company lunches, in-person meetings, and after work social events were the staple of team building activities, but are now less and less feasible given the current work climate. To better acclimate employees to the culture of the company, it’s important to prioritize increased communication, planning skills, employee engagement, and collaboration.
Some ways this can be done is through weekly planning meetings where employees provide status updates on current projects, tasks in the pipeline, upcoming vacation time, etc. By doing this, it can help avoid confusion, keep everyone accountable, and promote an environment of sharing.
In addition to weekly meetings, creating a constant flow of communication can be beneficial for smaller teams who necessitate more frequent collaborative interaction. Whether it’s formal Zoom meetings or simply a group chat where members can provide updates or ask questions, these methods can help keep everyone in the loop as well as provide a forum for colleague socializing.
The bottom line
Aside from adopting new technology and tools for remote employees to take advantage of, one of the key takeaways for maintaining team chemistry virtually is ensuring every employee has a voice. Contributing to discussions or bringing up concerns can be more challenging when it’s not face to face, so it’s vital that business leaders help drive confidence among team members to engage with each other even when face-to-face is not an option.
Whether it’s personal check-ins, scheduled meet-ups in the same area, or virtual happy hours, having a good relationship with coworkers is important regardless of the work setup.