Engaging Remote Teams in a Virtual Environment

The shift to working from home has posed new challenges to workers stemming from lack of motivation, to being overworked and overwhelmed. Many people are juggling their workload with parenting. Some are lonely. Others might be depressed. And some may find it hard to stay motivated or self-govern. Organizations have been scrambling to maintain structure, morale and productivity.

As I have worked with teams to engage and align it has become clear that Communication, Accountability and Solution create the Essential Tripod for organizational team development. In today’s new normal, this tripod is now more important than ever but how does it translate into remote working?

Here are a few tips for addressing these challenges. 

Structure: Working remotely doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to abandon the normal avenues of relationship and collaboration. What worked well in-person can still be applied remotely. For example, Meeting Rhythms can be held intact with a few changes.

Meetings are held daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually. These can and should still take place virtually. The challenge in holding virtual meetings is that you don’t get the same “energy” exchange when sharing ideas, problems and solutions. I have found that upping the frequency and shortening meetings can be a key to keeping everyone involved. The daily huddle helps to keep people engaged, focused and accountable. Try holding a daily huddle at the beginning and end of each day. These huddles should focus on how each person is doing, what the daily priority is and where they are stuck. While it’s important to be flexible, consistency is the most important thing to remember.

Get creative – a lot can be said for the business lunch – it builds rapport, trust and presents an opportunity for colleagues to get to know each other better. So why stop? Hold virtual lunch meetings instead. There are lots of ways to make this fun and interactive. If you want to take someone to lunch have it delivered to their home. Hold virtual lunch and learn meetings with a group and a guest speaker. These are just a few examples. I encourage you to think outside the box as much as possible. Another option is to have the Leadership team members alternate to have a monthly lunch with sign-ups for up to three people.

Get personal – ask your team and colleagues how they are doing? How are they coping? What are their challenges in working remotely? In order to build and maintain a high-performing team during this unprecedented time in history, you must understand what their challenges are. The importance of the human connection cannot be overstated. Taking the time to understand your colleagues/employees on the personal level in this time is essential.

Every business has its own unique set of challenges. Regardless of your situation, these are relatively simple and practical things you can do today to help keep your organization aligned, motivated and performing.

Do you have a particular challenge working remotely that you’d like to share? Please be sure to leave a comment. We would enjoy hearing from you.