Remote work is now the norm, and supervisors must find ways to cultivate the right culture in their teams. Fortunately, there are many ways to strengthen bonds between coworkers, even when you’re miles apart. From offering office Zoom backgrounds free of charge to utilizing group chats, here are the best tips for empowering your virtual team.
It’s often difficult to get to know coworkers in a busy office. Forming essential bonds can get even more challenging when you don’t run into each other in the break room. As a result, it’s crucial to set aside time for trust-building activities, especially if the team is new.
Certain activities don’t work in the digital format (trust falls, for example), but there are plenty of alternatives:
- Virtual lunch
Offering an Office Background for Your Team
Even though employees work from home, it’s essential to maintain a professional atmosphere. While a home office makes everything easier, not everyone has the space or money to create one. That means some employees may have parts of their homes visible in the background of video conferences. While this isn’t their fault, having their personal lives on display for coworkers may be embarrassing.
Offering an office background free of charge ensures everyone can present a professional presence on video calls. No one has to worry about dirty dishes being in the field of view or pets distracting others with background antics.
Provide the Right Tools
Having goals is all well and good, but your team can’t accomplish them without the proper tools. Expecting them to do so only decreases morale and ends in failure.
As a supervisor, you are responsible for providing your team with the necessary equipment. For example, if your team calls clients, they need a phone system that’s responsive and easy to use. Many companies delay upgrading basic systems to save money, but this tactic often backfires. If your team complains that they can’t do their jobs well with existing equipment, you must go to bat for them.
Employees must be able to get hold of each other during work hours (and perhaps after-hours in a limited capacity for emergencies). It’s unacceptable for projects to stall because one person doesn’t get back to the group for hours.
To avoid this issue, supervisors should set up a central communication channel. This can be a group chat, a project management app or an ongoing video conference.
A second casual chat is also a good idea, as it allows coworkers to get to know one another. People can post inspirational quotes, share things they learned and ask about weekend plans without cluttering the main channel.
Initially, coordinating a virtual team may seem complicated, but you can set employees up for success with small adjustments. Once everyone has a Zoom virtual office background, you can start getting feedback and offering more personalized forms of support. The more responsive and open you are, the higher the likelihood that team members will approach you for help. With that foundation of trust, you all can work together to achieve company goals.