Many employees want to keep working remotely, and team leaders and managers may need to adapt to a permanent change in how they interact with their teams. Finding ways to bring the team together via digital means.
So, how do you bring a team together virtually? Well, we think a lot has to do with building a sense of community across distances, meet frequently and find ways to allow team members to interact between meetings. There should be a structure for how and when you and your team members meet, and said meetings should occur regularly and include individual check-ins as well as team gatherings.
As for the individual meetings that will take place, there are also a number of things to think about. Where Slack recently gave a good amount of tips in their guide to virtual meetings, and where we’ve selected a few points that we find especially important:
The digital tool you choose to meet your team virtually should fit your needs, and give you the chance to interact and check in as efficiently as possible. Where you should find a tool that allow video meetings, and where you can consider how many team members will be present as well as what key functions you will need for the meetings to run as smoothly as possible and be easy to follow up on.
Creating a great foundation for virtual interactions
As your team members won’t physically be in the same space, it’s a good idea to find ways to let them interact outside of the meeting as well – so as to be able to meet and connect with one another while getting used to the format. Where Slack suggests “a “virtual watercooler”—a communal place online where team members can get to know each other and connect outside of structured meetings”. Something that can let team members get comfortable with the digital way of communicating, get to know each other and feel as part of a team regardless of the physical distance between them.
To have an agenda can make the meeting run a lot smoother. With this, the meetings you hold with your team should include an agenda with talking points, the amount of time dedicated to each point, a list of team members who will be present as well as the relevant material for the meeting in question.
Keeping team members engaged throughout the meeting
Slack suggests to “make time for casual conversation” and ensure that everyone is included and engaged regardless of how comfortable they are with speaking aloud. I.e. it can make a large difference to add some informal elements to help team members bond on a slightly deeper level – and allow them to engage in ways that aren’t necessarily verbal. Where we see that it can be a good idea to include other ways of interacting in addition to the classic, video call – for example via a digital whiteboard or pulse questions throughout the meeting. Both of which can be utilized to brainstorm ideas or come to a decision, but that can also used in plain fun. As team-building activities, icebreakers or breaks in the formal meeting.
To bring a team together virtually, there needs to be regular meetings and interactions. So as to actually keep everyone connected from across a distance, and ensure that everyone’s on the same page. Which means that there need to be a structure for when and how these meetings take place, as well as how team members can stay connected during the time between meetings. In addition to which it can be a good idea to find ways for team members to get to know each other and really feel that they’re part of a team – even if they’re spread out geographically.
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