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How to Stay Engaged in a Remote Workforce

Post Author Erin Tovo
Apr 6, 2020 8:00:00 AM
Career Tips
How to Stay Engaged in a Remote Workforce

Is remote work the “new normal” in today’s business world? A solid case could be made for a resounding “yes”!

4.7 Million employees work remotely at least 50% of the time and during this time of social-distancing due to COVID-19 that number only continues to grow. While the flexibility and freedom that comes from working remotely might seem glamorous at first, we find very quickly that it is easy to feel isolated and disconnected from the rest of our team.

So, what can you do to make sure you’re staying connected and engaged with your team even though you’re all in different locations?

1. Virtual Team Building

I’m sure we’ve all taken part in a team-building exercise or two, right? Now, a team-building exercise can be defined as “various types of activities used to enhance social relations and define roles within teams, often collaborative tasks.” While it might seem like a bit of a stretch to translate this into a virtual world, I’m going to quote one of the greatest visionaries of all time, Mr. Walt Disney, who said, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” Here’s a few ideas to help facilitate virtual team-building.

Virtual Coffee Break

Set aside time to have a virtual coffee break via video chat with some of your teammates. You’ll of course have to supply your own beverage but you’d probably have to do that in the office anyway. Reference this article to see how GitLab uses Slack to facilitate their virtual coffee breaks.

Virtual Happy Hour

Get everyone together for a Virtual Happy Hour - Who says COVID-19 and Cocktails can’t be a thing? Check out this NY Times article on tips for hosting a successful virtual happy hour.

Virtual Game Night

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good game night? Of course, not all games are transferrable to the virtual universe, but many are, with a little bit of creativity and research thrown in. You could go as simple as a video chat Bingo game or jump straight to virtual Pictionary. Here are a few links to help get you started:

  1. Bingo Card Generator: Create your custom cards and share one or two with your teammates.Let them know to print out their Bingo Card(s).You’ll keep the Bingo Caller’s Card and print out two copies.Cut one card up to use as a random word generator and the other to track the winner.

  2. Pictionary Alternatives: Drawasaurus or Skribbl.io 
    Spoiler Alert: A coworker and I tested these and had a fantastic time. Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

2. Task Management System

A Task Management System is imperative for a remote workforce. It will help you stay connected to your coworkers, regardless of your locations. There are many great options out there including Basecamp, Asana, Trello, and Monday.com. Using these systems, or others like them will enable your team to collaborate seamlessly on projects, provide updates about current workloads and any projects that may require assistance, and, most importantly, stay connected.

3. Snail Mail

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. While we certainly live in a digital world, there isn’t one person who doesn’t love getting mail from a friend. It may seem like a small gesture, but a simple card or hand-written note could make your coworker’s day and definitely help establish connections and boost morale on the team. You can choose an upcoming holiday or maybe a random day “just because” - anything goes because let’s face it - no rules with this one!

4. Utilize Video - Face to Face Communication

A little face-to-face communication can go a long way when it comes to staying connected with your remote teammates. Whether you’ve been working remotely for a while or you were thrust into this situation due to COVID-19, I’m sure at some point you were used to face-to-face time with people. That doesn’t have to change because you aren’t within walking distance of each other anymore; it just might look a little different now. Any popular platforms like Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or Zoom are great options to get video chats started.


 

While virtual meetings are certainly important for providing a team update on the business side of things, they aren’t always a one-size-fits-all solution. If you decide to host a virtual happy hour or invite someone to a virtual coffee break, do your best to have personal conversations. Don’t let work intrude too much; use this time to maintain relationships with your coworkers, boost morale, and create a sense of belonging - no matter how far apart you may be!

 

Have you found yourself thrust into a remote work situation due to COVID-19?  Check out these tips from a few of MAU's remote work pros to make sure you're as successful as possible during this uncertain time.

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