Remote work leadership: overcoming the challenge of building a cohesive team

Remote work has many benefits for employees and employers, but one of the biggest challenges can be developing a cohesive and effective team with people who rarely, if ever, meet in person.

In an actual workplace, people meet formally and informally throughout their working week and beyond, and so develop a bond with each other. The sense of belonging to a team builds trust, lessens anxiety and isolation, and helps to make the team effective and productive. Leaders play a crucial role in building and developing teams: how can they do this in a remote working environment?

1. Prioritize Communication:

Regular communication is key to building a sense of belonging and connection in remote teams. Encourage team members to use video conferencing and instant messaging tools to stay in touch and schedule regular virtual meetings and check-ins. Many project management programs have a chat function that can be used for informal conversations where people get to know each other better.

2. Establish a Team Culture:

Like any other social group, teams will have their own unique identity and culture. Leaders can help establish a culture of belonging by modeling the behavior they want to see. Demonstrating empathy, being inclusive, valuing everyone’s contributions, and actively listening to team members are all ways leaders can lead by example.

3. Encourage Team Building:

Even though team members are working remotely, leaders can create opportunities for team building and socialization. For example, virtual team-building activities, online games, or virtual happy hours can be organized to promote team bonding and establish friendships. Epic team members often relax together with a game of minigolf in VR, and we have been known to share the occasional after-work drink. Celebrating team successes, big or small, is a powerful way to foster a sense of belonging. By acknowledging the contributions of individual team members, leaders can help to create a sense of community and shared purpose among remote workers – the team win is everyone’s win!

Woman laughing as she views something on her laptop

By implementing these strategies, leaders can help their team members develop a sense of belonging even while working remotely. 

In conclusion, remote work presents unique challenges for leaders, but with effective communication, a positive team culture, and opportunities for team building, leaders can build strong and productive remote teams.

And as always, if you want to take your remote working game to the next level, don’t hesitate to check out our courses:

Create a Healthy Remote Workspace is packed with tips and tricks to help your team stay productive, healthy, and connected while working remotely.

Virtual Icebreakers and Team Building has some games and activities that you can use to help your team members get to know each other better and have some fun together.

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