Remote work: How do you build a virtual water cooler and bring your team closer

office for remote work

RNI, the Remote Nation Institute, is holding a series of half-hour webinars to help you help your employees work remotely, efficiently, and happily. As part of these learnings, we offer tips, based on years of remote work experience.

Every day, we’ll give you one concrete action you can take with your team to keep your people focused and on task.

Sophaya’s Tip of the Day

Your team is home, learning how to work in a new environment. They’re using systems they’ve never used before and trying to be as productive as possible while corralling kids and dogs and significant others.

If they live alone, they’re isolated and probably haven’t seen anyone for days. If they have families, they’re feeling cooped up and frustrated. It’s like solitary confinement for some and the regular cellblock for the rest. You’re already meeting with your employees periodically for progress reports and to discuss strategy and tasks. Is that enough?

How can you build camaraderie when you and your team are working remotely and they’re feeling stressed?

  • Ask your team to give everyone a tour of their home offices.

Wow. Max has a large collection of porcelain penguins. Whether they have dedicated office spaces or a quarter of the dining room table, your employees’ personalities will come through.

  • Create a “Picture of the Day” contest.

Photos of cats on the fridge or kids in a couch fort are fun and humor is a great way of building rapport and bringing people together.

  • Hold a speed listening party with folks playing a snippet of their background music for the team.

I’ll bet you never knew Frank was a Bangles fan. This is another way to learn more about each member of your team. You can even have a “Name That Tune” contest featuring short clips of music.

  • Have your employees share pictures of their pets.

The sight of Rex, the Great Dane, sleeping in a cat bed next to Julia’s desk is endearing. The upside of working from home for many is more time with their furry or feathery friends. Meeting the pets is a great way to get to know your staff.

  • Get folks to share work-from-home tips with the crew.

Sam takes a break every hour and runs around the house twice with his kids. Marla turns off her computer for half an hour at lunch and reads a novel. Even if they’ve never worked from home before, your team will come up with helpful hints to share with everyone.

  • Ask your employees to share tips for caring for/schooling/not throttling kids during this crisis.

This could be super helpful for everyone with or without kids. I mean, you don’t have to be 6 to appreciate tips on Lego projects.

  • Share a story about when you made a humorous work-related mistake.

Remember that time you put the wrong address on that networking evite? You’re the boss but you’re also a person. Your team needs to know that. Letting them know you’re human will make it easier for them to come to you when they’re stressed, stuck, or overwhelmed.

Part of your job as the manager of a remote team is building their morale and helping them work together. Discovering new things about them and sharing aspects of your life is one way to do that.

To learn more about managing a remote workforce, join us for our RNI Remote Work Series: You sent them home to work remotely, NOW WHAT?