As a team leader, one of your main responsibilities is maintaining relationships with your employees and keeping the team spirit up. However, when you’re managing a remote team, this can be easier said than done. Members of your team may be scattered around the country or even the world. This could mean you are all working from various time zones, a challenge for even the strongest of relationships. Since most managers are now facing the same problem, we’re bringing you some of the best ways to nurture good relationships with your employees online.
For most people, starting a new job is stressful. You have to get used to a new work environment, co-workers, tasks, and expectations. It can be overwhelming in the beginning, especially if you’re becoming part of a remote team. As their team leader, you can make this new chapter in their life easier and less stressful by prioritising the onboarding process. Make sure they have a great employee experience from day one. To make this happen, you should include current staff members in the process. Since relationships are the foundation of every successful workplace, start a buddy program. Pair an existing team member with their new co-worker so that they can help them settle into their new workplace for the first few weeks.
Focus on Tools
Today’s workplaces are technologically dependent. Remote workplaces require digital platforms and tools to function like onsite ones. Therefore, you need to focus on providing your staff with the most appropriate tools. Among all the tools you can find currently on the market, those designed for employee communication should be at the top of your list. Email isn’t cut out for building or maintaining relationships among employees. You need something more effective with features that will make communication across all levels in the company easier. The quality of performance output depends on the relationships among the staff members.
Make a Manual
Remote work isn’t easy on anyone. Both managers and employees deal with many challenges every day. Some managers of remote teams have come up with user manuals to help their employees. These manuals contain all the dos and don’ts of working in the virtual workplace, work-from-home policies and guides all in one place. More importantly, the user manual pinpoints the most useful things employees should know about each other. For example, when they’re available or how to reach them if something’s urgent. Then, what irritates them or what’s their preferred communication mode. Knowing all the unfiltered things about each other deepens the connection among employees and brings them together in a unique way.
Encourage a Feedback Loop
Knowing all there’s to know about a person isn’t enough to keep the relationship strong. Most often, it takes a continuous effort to maintain any relationship. One of the most effective ways to do this is by encouraging your staff to participate in a feedback loop. Give employees a space within the chosen communication channel where they can give and receive feedback on a continuous basis. Try not to interfere but simply observe. You can also make time during the week or month and have a one-on-one with every member of your team. Either way, you and your team will be able to maintain the relationship despite working from home.
Look After Your Staff
Within the members of your team, you probably have working parents, single parents, or people working two jobs. Since they’re working from home, they might not be able to balance their private and professional commitments for various reasons. Some might not have enough privacy in their home, others have to take care of their kids while working. Also, they might struggle with maintaining their mental health because remote work can be lonely. For this reason, your work-from-home policies should also cover your employees’ mental health. It means you should be aware of their workload, deadlines, and other demanding elements of this work mode. By looking after your team, your relationships with them will become stronger.
Embrace Video Calls
Over the past two years, video calls and conferences have become one of the most important tools in everyday life. Employees working from home continue using this technology to communicate face-to-face with their co-workers and executives. It’s the best way for maintaining relationships while working remotely. Also, your employees can resolve issues they encounter at work more efficiently than through emails. The best part about video calls is that you get to see the reaction of your employees and that makes even the most unpleasant conversations easier.
Cultivating strong bonds with employees online isn’t easy. For this reason, you should always look for new ways for your team to stay in contact. Hopefully, our handy tips will help you to maintain relationships with your employees while working remotely.