There are many advantages to remote working teams, but one of the major drawbacks is that they don’t allow for the same amount of personal interaction as the traditional office does. These personal relationships are essential for a strong working team. With enough creative thought, it is possible to build these working relationships naturally and allow people to work effectively together even if they can’t always be in the same room together. Video conferencing business software such as BlueJeans is the first step to making this much easier.
- Stay Informed
Email and brief video chats aren't the only way to keep people informed about their work and personal developments. There are many other options, too. By recording meetings, saving them to cloud storage, and making them accessible to everyone on the team, you will ensure that nobody misses a meeting or discussion. Suppliers offer multiple options such as text chat, one-on-one video conferencing, and social media integration. Opening up and encouraging as many means as communication as possible and ensuring everyone always has access to the information they need will ensure that everyone is always on the same level and nobody feels left out.
- Use the Right Communication
App integrator Zapier says that it isn't always what we communicate that is important but the method we use to say it. Some conversations are better over the phone while others are better through e-mail. The key is to find the right one for the right situation. E-mail does distribute information quickly and easily, but nobody wants to spend their entire work day going through piles of email. As great a communication tool as video conferencing is, it can be an intimidating way to meet someone for the first time, particularly for those who are more socially anxious. Learn to recognize which communication method is best for each situation or recipient so that you can ensure all of your messages are conveyed in the most effective way.
Many versatile conferencing suppliers offer group meetings of several hundred or even several thousand participants all at once. Businesses can take advantage of these not only for marketing seminars for outside customers but seminars within a company, too. This could be for a social gathering, a lecture in a new industry development, or a regularly scheduled company-wide run down on news and other relevant topics. Even outside guest speakers or collaborators can be included in these events. Use them not only to distribute information en-masse but to encourage social interaction as well.
- Get to Know Others
Since you don’t have the traditional ‘water cooler moments’ to get to know colleagues, take steps to get to know them through other means, suggests Your Office Coach. Methods they recommend are looking people up on social media (without coming across as a creeper), starting an e-mail exchange, or sharing backgrounds during the first few minutes of a call. If you discover a mutual interest or hobby, then this makes a good jumping off point. Even if you don't, just having some awareness of what is going on in their lives will allow for regular communication and updates. You will also gain perspective on any personal commitments that may occasionally take them away from work.
- Use Software Correctly
Building bonds through your computer screen won’t do much good if you don’t become used to the software or make regular mistakes during conference calls. Solve these problems by becoming familiar with your software and performing a few test runs first. Check your audio and video settings and the quality of your internet speed before each call. Ensure your home office or wherever you are calling from is set up correctly and professionally with the correct lighting so you are seen clearly and that nothing embarrassing is visible in the background.
- Speak Up
Many people feel better now that they no longer have their boss or supervisor looking over their shoulder and breathing down their neck every second. However, not being visibly present can make it too easy to become a wallflower and not make your voice heard during online meetings. This not only means your opinions and ideas won't be heard, but you won't be able to build working relationships along with everyone else. Try to speak up as much as possible during meetings, without taking too long or speaking over others, and participate in the social parts of the conference as well as the business parts.
The global workplace may be changing, but the same technology that negates the need for an office can also be used to build new and stronger working relationships, even across oceans. Use the software to your advantage and encourage colleagues to do the same and you will see the advantages it has to their working relationships.