Episode 142: Building Connection on Remote Teams

Building Connection on Remote Teams

There are so many incredible benefits to growing a remote team, from having access to a global talent pool to greater flexibility with time and location freedom.

But with the benefits also comes the challenge of building connection on remote teams.

 

In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • The importance of connection on remote teams
  • The common challenges of building connection on remote teams
  • Strategies to build connection on remote teams

Building a remote team brings so many incredible benefits. Obviously, you have access to a huge talent pool, That is global. You have reduced overhead due to no renting and maintaining physical office space. You have greater flexibility, both as the business owner for you and for your team, which can result in higher job satisfaction for them, and you have increased productivity due to no commute times and fewer in office distractions. But remote work can also come with unique challenges and potential downsides. The lack of face to face interaction can leave your team feeling isolated or disconnected. It could even lead to that for you as the business owner. Part of leading a remote team is understanding that a vital part of your team's professional well-being is related to feeling connected and that starts with you. It starts with you as the leader as the business owner, and it's up to you to create an environment that makes connection a priority. For the last 9 years, I have been working with business owners who lead remote teams and I'm going to share some of the strategies that have helped with building connection. So first, I wanna talk about core business hours with different people working in different time zones and the flexibility that's available in many businesses. Sometimes you can have teams who work all around the clock, right, different times. I find that it's really important to set a handful of business hours that serve as your core business hours where everyone is available, everyone overlaps. And that means that if someone isn't available during that time, they may not be the best fit to be hired because everyone should set aside this time. Now for some businesses, this might just be a couple of hours that overlaps. For others, it could be more like a 4 hour time block that overlaps or anywhere in between.

Ideally, when you're working remotely, you have some time set aside to be able to meet versus when you're in a brick and mortar, Oftentimes there are business hours, and that's just when everyone comes in to work. So there's always that overlap. We want to recreate that in the remote environment by selecting a few hours where everyone knows that other people are available. It's a safe time to schedule those meetings and to -- expect a response. Okay? The second strategy here is to use collaborative tools. I've had clients come to me without any of these tools in place, and all of the communication was happening through siloed tools, like sending text messages or sending emails, versus being in one place where the whole team can collaborate. So using something like slack for communication, a project management system to track tasks and projects and progress and status where everyone can log in and see the current status, something like Google Drive where you can collaborate within documents. All of those tools allow the team to actually work together remotely and be more collaborative and therefore more connected.

The 3rd strategy is implementing a weekly team meeting. This team meeting isn't just for leaders. This is a meeting that is for the full core team, if you will. So you don't have to invite every contractor who might have a very specific focus, someone like a podcast editor or an ads manager, might not need to attend your meeting every week, but those who are involved day in and day out in your business, whether they're employees or whether they are a contractor, but that's a little bit more involved, you might want to invite them to this weekly team meeting. It's a great touch point to not only follow-up on work, but to build that connection to interact to see each other's faces at least once a week. Okay? Next up, regular check ins from you as a leader and from any leaders if you have other leaders in your team. Just taking the time to send a random message to check-in with one of your team members goes such a long way and helps them really feel seen and valued. And you can also extend this to a meeting.

So random messages can happen anytime, whereas maybe you schedule a 1 to 1 meeting once a month. We definitely recommend having a monthly alignment meeting and doing this with each supervisor and direct report so that there's that touch base at least once a month. Next up are connection prompts. This is an opportunity to get to know each other better, and it's as simple as dropping a question that everyone in your team can answer at least once a week. We do this every Monday in our business. We drop any question. Everyone bonds, and we all learn a little bit about one another. Okay? Next step is team culture activities.

This doesn't have to be those cheesy team building activities. It could be something that's actually fun. It could be something that actually benefits the business, but it's taking time to do something as a full team that aligns with the needs of the business, the needs of the team, and does so in a fun way. So it could be brainstorming. It could be a lunch and learn. It could be a fun game or some other activity designed specifically to get your team to communicate. outside of regular work. Next up, we've got personal touch points. This is as simple as remembering your team's birthdays, their work anniversaries.

Asking about their weekend, asking about their family members, and, you know, how they're doing, making sure that you're showing that you actually care about your team and giving the offer to connect on a personal level. And then the last strategy that I wanna share today is celebrating core values and wins. Making it a priority to recognize your people goes such a long way. They feel, again, seen, and recognize they feel valued, and that helps them feel more engaged and connected. So I recommend creating a Slack channel if you use Slack, that is, but some kind of a platform or a channel for communication where you can shout people out for things that they do well. things that are aligned with values and to celebrate wins, whether that's client wins or business wins or individual win, It's just such a great way to connect over the things that are going well. All of this said, as a leader of a virtual team, it is up to you to create an environment where your team feels connected, appreciated, valued, understood. And this leads to a more engaged, committed and high performing team.

So remember, connection starts with you. It is so incredibly important. So make it a priority. and then watch your team thrive. They're really gonna appreciate this, and it has so many benefits for you as a business owner for your business as well. And, of course, for your individual team members.

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