Team cohesion and productivity during the remote-work era of the new normal
Team cohesion is hard when all your team members are working remotely.
And most of the organizations in the European Union are working remotely during these times, plus the percentage shortly will grow even further. This is the case of our teams, as well.
We love to talk, to share, to laugh, to spend time together, to create. This hasn’t changed in the era of remote work either. Even though we are all at home, we connect via video or chat.
Still, there is a big question about any real shift in this new era of normal
What do we do about the feelings of belonging to a community, a group, a team? How do we keep being productive and which tools we use during the new era of #WFH?
We wrote this article in order to answer all these questions, after, of course, reading interesting materials written by organizations with many years of remote communication experience. So, this is the #AROBS way of working remotely and still being a team.
Team cohesion makes the dreamwork
Here are some tips that we tried out that can be of great use for you and your team.
We established a routine
We start our mornings with a call. A video call is mandatory since it is very important to see each other’s reactions. We start with setting priorities for the day and check if anyone needs help in implementing an idea. Also, this is the best way for brainstorming, since COVID-19 has thrown us into the new normal.
We created a structure
Hence, we make these video-calls only in the morning, and especially at the start of the week. The rest of the day is saved for implementation. Also, since you need to unplug at the end of the day it is very important to set up a certain place in your apartment for working. This way you can physically distance yourself from it at the end of the day, which helps you mentally distance yourself. All these help you stay balanced, which will ultimately make you more productive.
We move around
Though you work in one place, it is recommended to move around when on breaks. Do some exercise. Trust us, it not only makes you healthier but more cheerful. Also, it strengthens your immune system, which is a great plus in this COVID-19 pandemic.
We reduced stress
There is a lot of newly found stress that comes with all these new challenges . These need extra effort to adapt to, so be more understanding. Prepare yourself mentally to focus only on the things that really matter, whether it comes to your colleagues, whether it comes to you.
We continue to be connected
Since we know each other pretty well, it is much easier to work together. However, talking about tasks-only will be exhausting in the long run. Hence, we share our moods, and things that happened with us the other day. We talk about what we prepared last night or where can you find fresh vegetables brought to your doorstep. (Again, the times we live in.)
We build trust
We started this a long time ago. And now we need to continue it. Building trust is the hardest and the most necessary. You need time and consistency for it. There is no shortcut. We are there for one another. By checking in, consulting each other, by a mechanism where ideas are detached from people and are being valued for their worth. Meaning, just because you had a bad idea, doesn’t mean you are worthless. It means that the idea was not one of the greatest. But by having a network where you can honestly express your ideas, thoughts, and worries – you build trust.
We are friendly
And always, always, always – be friendly. There are studies that even sheep when made to choose between a person that smiles and one that doesn’t, they choose the ones that smile. It is not rocket science, if you are friendly, you open up, and that also opens the other person up. And that is fertile ground for collaboration.
So how come we need tips for remote work? Does it really change the way we interact? What is the downside of it?
Remote teamwork changes the way we interact
According to a study by The State of Remote work, published in 2019, the most struggling thing about working remotely is unplugging after the work hours are over. Of course, we need to consider that this report was published before the outbreak of the current COVID-19 pandemic and since our lives have already drastically changed.
The second worry is about loneliness. Today, more than ever before. It is not just that you work far from your team, chances are you are also away from your family. Whether you are doing this to protect them or to protect society, spending a lot of time without human contact is hard.
The third is about communication. Communication is a tough one even in normal times. Many studies show that communication is the key to a successful project and the main reason for the ones that fail. Now, the fact that we are not close to each other physically, it makes things even harder. Especially, when you need quick decision-making and very fast implementation.
And communication is complicated, isn’t it? Part of the productivity challenge of WFH (work from home) comes from the loss of basic human connection that you have with your colleagues, your team and others from throughout your company. Interpreting a mail’s tone versus talking to that person face-to-face is quite different. Then there is the whole package of non-verbal communication.
However, modern tools like emojis and gifs are here to help. We use them often in our internal communication to complete a written message.
In conclusion, it is indeed challenging to be teleported to this new normal of remote work. We all need to find our balance. To stay productive and connected at the same time. If you find your own way of adapting to this, you’ll be able to play a positive role in transforming corporate culture for the new virtual era.
Be disciplined and organized during this crisis and benefits will come. Who knows, we might find a new appreciation for everything.
Also, when you have a bigger team, and you need team management you should consider using workforce management software, like TheHours. These kinds of tools help you focus on what is really important, the people.
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