Having to work in isolation is one of the few challenges of remote work. And because isolation itself is an insane threat to remote employees, a lot of other challenges gradually branch out from it.
One such concerning barrier is social bonding. Because employees are all physically absent from each other, the ability to socially bond together as a team becomes almost impossible.
But this article is to prove otherwise, and we’re even going to the extent of providing remote employees and employers a list of social bonding ideas.
5 Ways To Nurturing Social Bond In A Remote Team
In the simplest words, social bonding is possible even in a remote setting. In this ultimate guide to nurturing social bond in a remote team, employees and employers will discover the best ways to help social bond flourish within business organizations.
When done right, social bonding can start as early as the onboarding processes of new remote employees.
Using onboarding to nurture social bond is easy. Employers just need to connect with the new hires on a personal level. But it must be strictly noted that the things you do to nurture social bond during onboarding shouldn’t outweigh the core purpose of the onboarding process.
The purpose of onboarding is to get the new hires familiarized with the company culture, group leaders, their assignments, etc. So for the most part of the onboarding process, this should be the goal.
However, as you’re working on the onboarding part for your new hires, try and interact with them on a personal level. For instance, asking something as simple as “what’s weird about you?” will trigger their social side.
While you’re doing your part of onboarding, ask the new remote employees to share their personal hobbies, sports, passions, etc., to spark social bonding.
Social hours are a recurring, open-format event to talk about non-work matters.
During the pandemic, this was an escape event for our remote team members from different countries where everyone would share their current situation, struggles, etc.
It’s still relevant as this can be an opportunity for people to share their personal struggles, their cultures, etc.
Managers often show concern about running out of ideas to discuss during such social hours. The truth is, with remote employees coming from all around the world, the concern should be about not running out of ideas for discussion.
People will have a lot to share. If we ask ourselves about our struggles, we’ll know how desperate we are to let it all out from our chests.
Video games are a great way to have fun and build relationships with your teammates. They’re a great relief from work.
Remote employees can play any game of choice, but classic social games are a great way to get started. Some of the games that remote employees can utilize are:
- Spot the faker
Remote employees can play with colleagues over a video conference at a preferred time, no matter the teammates’ location. One thing employers can do in this case is to come up with a timeline for social games that best fit remote employees of all time zones.
The benefits of playing with co-workers are numerous. It’s a great way to build rapport, create positive emotional connections, learn about teammates, and even improve team performance.
The choice of game is important and should reflect the interests of everyone involved. Keep in mind that even though colleagues are playing together online, it helps the members to still form relationships within the remote team.
Rather than just playing, it would double the fun if your remote employees have a leaderboard to record the progress of every team member.
Employers or managers should take the initiative to propose this idea and help remote employees make social gaming a lot more fun.
Lunch and learn, Hobbie Friday, etc.
Employers should schedule an event where a team member presents personal achievements, hobbies, or teaches something.
This could range from some technical learning to sports, cooking, or simply just a new book someone read and decided to share with the team.
Make sure this is a time for remote employees to discuss non-work activities. Many companies consider this as a time for intense work discussions. It’s not, and it’s the last thing that a business like you looking to nurture social bonds in remote teams should do.
For the most part, nurturing social bond in a remote team comes down to effective management. In contrast, these are all traits of effectively managing remote teams, so managers should implement such activities into their managing strategy.
Celebrating Birthdays And Other Relevant Days As A Team
If we think from a personal perspective, you’d realize how pleasant of a moment it is for you when someone remembers and wishes you on your birthday.
Managers can do this for a remote team by organizing a small celebration through zoom to celebrate the birthdays of remote team members.
The profile of each team member in the company will most probably contain their date of birth. Another way to scout for birth dates is to have a look at the remote employees’ identity cards. Find the dates and remember them.
The best way is to mark them on your calendar.
Similarly, help your remote employees celebrate other relevant days like anniversaries, sobriety, health recovery, etc.
If managers don’t want to take the initiative, let the remote employees know that they have the freedom to organize such days to celebrate even in the absence of their boss.
We all want to feel a sense of belonging and connection in our work environment. It’s easy to feel disconnected when employees work remotely as they don’t interact with people face-to-face on a daily basis.
The key is to find ways to keep relationships healthy and growing in a remote team. Remote employees can do this by regularly interacting with team members.
As managers, take the initiative to help remote employees stay in touch over video conferences and encourage them to give out virtual hugs. Organize regular social activities, like game nights and outings, that allow remote team members to get to know each other better.
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