Employees who don’t work at the home office often struggle with feeling connected to the team.
Here’s how to plan team activities that bridge the gap.
Telecommuting is the key to happiness for lots of companies (especially those with a lot of Millennials!). It gives workers the freedom to maintain a work-life balance and it allows employers to lure top talent to their teams.
But it’s hard to connect with remote employees, especially the type that never come into the office. And let’s face it: it’s really hard to make connections with someone you hardly ever see. The dilemma becomes: how to build good teams when half the group is working from home and feels disconnected from company culture.
Increase trust and engagement.
Building trust is the key to better engagement from your remote employees. That’s hard to do under normal circumstances where there’s pressure to perform and everyone’s on guard.
There are three things you can do to increase trust and engagement:
- Meet on neutral turf.
- Plan stress-free team building activities that focus on teamwork, not individual performance.
- Focus on an easy, short-term goal that everyone can get excited about.
Let’s look at the three steps, one by one.
1. Meet on neutral turf.
Off-site team activities on neutral ground can level the playing ground between in-office employees and remote workers. Rather than meeting in the office, which seems like home turf for the commuter-workers, meet somewhere that starts everyone off from the same spot in the comfort zone.
That would be a hotel meeting space, a park, or a restaurant depending on the types of team activities you’ve got planned.
2. Plan stress-free team building activities.
A team building workshop can really bring everyone together if done right. Done wrong, however, it can actually increase tension and forge an even wider gap between telecommuters and in-office employees.
Team building should be done with the right mix of stress-free activities and common goals that each participant can feel engaged with. Simply throwing together a group of employees and instructing them to “bond” over silly games and meaningless competitions won’t accomplish anything but to make a lot of people feel very uncomfortable!
3. Focus on team activities with short, easy goals that everyone can get behind.
With charity team building workshops, the goal is to do something for a local charity. Everyone can easily feel the importance of their teamwork actions during the workshop, and that drives them to perform better together.
Not only that, but working for a common good (positive change in the community) offers remote workers and in-office employees a chance to get to know each other in a stress-free environment. Everyone wins!