The outbreak and continued issues surrounding COVID-19 have accelerated the widespread adoption of remote work. It’s been almost a year since most of us have been working from home but thanks to the development of new software, technology and services, the vast majority of people can now work remotely from anywhere in the world as long as they have a laptop and a stable internet connection.
In a Gartner survey, 80% of company leaders confirmed that they plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part of the time after the pandemic, and 47% will allow work from home full-time.
In a Gartner survey, 80% of company leaders confirmed that they plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part of the time after the pandemic, and 47% will allow work from home full-time. Another (PwC) survey of 669 CEOs, confirmed that (78% agreed) remote collaboration is here to stay for the long-term. Already, 41.8% of the current US workforce is working from home and 26.7% are expected to still be doing so throughout 2021 (FlexJobs). By the year 2025, 22% or 36.2 million people are still expected to be working remotely, which would represent an increase of 87% from pre-COVID levels. Although, the flexibility of remote work is a big plus, teams are struggling to connect with each other on a personal basis and work is often becoming more transactional than social.
Research shows that teams that are social and interact with each other outside work are more productive and communicate better, having a positive impact on overall performance. Therefore it is essential for companies and managers to create a positive remote working environment to help foster better connections between teammates. We need to use new methods, tools and activities in order to adapt to the future of work.
Here are four ways you can connect with your remote team in this new virtual world-
1. Ice breakers
- Two truths and a lie – In this classic game, you go around one by one and tell two truths about yourself, as well as a lie. The others then have to guess which is the lie. This is a great ice-breaker guaranteed to get your team going.
- Zoom background images for meetings – Zoom provides a fun feature with which you can change the background of your webcam, throwing up some opportunities for fun and laughs during your next meeting. Use it to share some pictures from your daily walks or perhaps old nostalgic photos of holidays you miss most. Share a theme ahead of your meeting.
- Download JackBox and play fun online games with your team that will help them socialize in a casual setting.
- We recommend QuipLash as a great place to start!
- Some of our other favorites include:
- Tee K.O
- Talking Points
- Split the Room
3. Try Virtual Experiences
- Teams are using virtual experiences as a great option to do happy hours or team-building events, enabling them to connect with each other outside of remote work. They provide an alternative to physical happy hours and activities, helping spend some social time together and serve as great team bonding opportunities.
- Check out Virtuelly, a new start-up that curates and aggregates some great interactive experiences for teams including wine or coffee tasting, cocktail making, kombucha making, stand-up comedy, and many more.
4. Spatial Chats
- At the moment, it is impossible for the vast majority of us to meet up in one shared location, such as the office or local bar. Spatial chats recreate that environment and social experience with a number of these start-ups popping up all around. Try using apps such as Gather for your remote meeting. Spatial chats provide a fun alternative in which you meet up in a virtual shared space that recreates a real-life social setting.
Try one of these tips and see how it positively impacts your team’s engagement and productivity. We all need to help re-create that in-person connection in this remote world so that everyone stays motivated and feels part of the team. This is the time to adapt to new ways for a new way of life.