Here are three words to explain why I am passionate about remote working: Freedom, Creativity and Connection. I am free to hire and work with people from around the world, breathing others uniqueness, culture differences, and challenge what I can do.
Sadly, connecting in a remote working organisation is not always easy. Some people feel isolated, lonely or lose the sense of belonging to a team or an organisation. How can a manager learn to understand the personalities and energies within her team to support people at an individual level?
The struggle of connecting with others
Some managers struggle with organising non-work related activities to encourage the team to create stronger bonds. Those with an introverted personality styles might feel uncomfortable in those kinds of situations. Others, with a style that favour more actions and getting things done, feel like they are too busy and tend to under value the importance of relationship building.
Whatever the reason, not making the space to create bonds and connection will negatively influence the team, especially if there are many people that re-energise themselves through getting to know their co-workers.
Ideas to support your team
Here are a few ideas of what you can do to fully support your team, even if creating connections is not your strong point:
- Have an open and honest conversation about personality types. Bring in a consultant, run free or paid for personality profiles online. This will help you to create a new map for your team to refer to.
- Delegate and empower your team to push forward this initiative. Have a brainstorming session to know which “non-work” activities they might be interested in – for example virtual water cooler chats, virtual coffee breaks, pub quizzes and more.
- Lean on someone on your team that has a bubbly or extroverted style. She can help you create the positive energy that your team needs to get those sessions off to a good start.
- Connect team members with other departments. Let’s face it, despite all your efforts, it’s possible that some people won’t want to engage. To support those who want to feel more involved, encourage them to join other teams or departments social activities. In the long run, this will be beneficial for two reasons. Firstly, you end up with people who are more motivated, therefore reduce the potential of talents leaving the organisation. Secondly, you are creating strong bridges between teams and departments. It is like having an ambassador on the other side that can help smooth the way and improve how teams work together.
- Make it more accessible by organising those events during working hours. The “after work” drink in “traditional” environments is appealing as people physically leave the office. It’s a change of scenery which you don’t get in a remote working environment. When working with people in different time zones, use your creativity and your team’s input to make it work.
Your effort will pay off
Being aware of the personality types and preferences of your team members can go a long way to support you. Bearing in mind how much money and time is spent recruiting, I will encourage you to try the techniques mentioned above to create the environment that people need to be motivated and effective.
It might not feel comfortable at the beginning, but I can assure you that doing this will allow you to turn your team’s life and workplace into a playground.
About Guest Author:
Starting as a Software Engineer, Naily Makangu carved her own path into Interim Management, Leadership and is an award-winning Trainer. Having grown up in STEM, Naily was motivated to start Athena Leaders, a remote management and leadership consultancy designed to Turn your life and workplace into a playground. Embracing a remote lifestyle allows Naily to follow her passion for sport, mainly tennis and boxing, and to be fluent in 5 languages. She is always looking forward to practice her Spanish.