While there are challenges to working remotely, for example, that remote workers report more malicious behavior from coworkers, there are strategies to help bring distant coworkers closer together. Check out more videos at: https://www.teamgood.io/videos/
Sources & additional reading
Aron, Melinat, Aron, Vallone, Bator. The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness: A Procedure and Some Preliminary Findings.
Graupensperger, Panza & Evans. Network centrality, group density, and strength of social identification in college club sport teams.
O’Leary, Wilson, Metiu & Jett. Perceived Proximity in Virtual Work: Explaining the Paradox of Far-but-Close.
Wiese, Kelley, Cranor, Dabbish, Hong, Zimmerman. Are you close with me? are you nearby?: investigating social groups, closeness, and willingness to share.
Welcome to 5 tips for better virtual teams.
We’ll explore how you can keep your team members close when they are far apart.
While there are challenges to working remotely, for example, that remote workers report more malicious behavior from coworkers, there are strategies to help bring distant coworkers closer together.
If your team is feeling disconnected working remotely, take heart in the knowledge that it’s “perceived proximity… not physical proximity… [that] affects relationship quality.”
Schedule regular communication.
Research has demonstrated that regular communication can boost feelings of closeness.
But you don’t need to overdo it.
Keep 2 goals in mind.
One, to reinforce trust by reminding others that everyone is working hard together.
And two, to reinforce feelings of salience by keeping team members front of mind.
Use video chat to open a window to the whole self.
Just a plain stock background misses the chance to create a deeper connection
Sharing your space can let colleagues learn a little bit about you. For example, your style, your love of painting, or what you’ve been reading recently. These additional details can help you remain salient in your colleagues’ mind when you’re far away and provide opportunities to create a shared identity.
Research has demonstrated that self-disclosure is linked to feeling closer together.
Reiterate the mission and identity of your team and company.
Company culture and identity may be as important as ever. They can reinforce shared identity between your team members.
Try bringing existing efforts online. For example, can you integrate your brand into your virtual tools?
Or, can you adapt your culture-building processes for virtual work? For example, if you have group rituals or policies that promote creativity or experimentation, don’t forget about them. Bring them online.
Finally, explore the possibility of bringing team building activities, like social events or fundraisers, online. Embrace the virtual water cooler.
Emphasize the commitment and achievements of your team.
When working remotely, it may be easier to feel like hard work goes unrecognized.
Or, to imagine your coworkers sitting around watching TV all day.
Consider making a point to publicly acknowledge great work or how team members have demonstrated commitment.
Shared commitment to work has been tied to better relationships within a virtual team.
But, be very careful of alienating those not recognized. On a remote team, it may be easier for colleagues to feel out of the loop, unrecognized, or excluded.
Use smaller groups when it’s practical. Six to eight is ideal. Around twelve is often the maximum.
Just because you can have 500 people on a video call, doesn’t mean that you should.
While there are some use cases for large groups, research has shown that tight-knight groups may have higher trust and group identification.
Trust and identification are key to helping distant teammates feel closer.
To recap, in this video we covered 5 ways to bring your virtual team closer.
Number 1. Schedule regular communication.
Number 2. Open a window to the whole self.
Number 3. Reiterate identity and mission.
Number 4. Emphasize commitment and achievements.
And, number 5. Use smaller groups when practical.
To learn more about your network visit AssessYourNetwork.com.