Keeping team engagement high, establishing healthy employee feedback loops and providing leadership to a team is not easy, even when working together in the same physical space. So, naturally, this can sometimes be significantly more challenging in a remote work model. Thus, in this article, we will look at 5 important things team leaders can do to keep team engagement at optimum levels.
In the new paradigm of remote work, it’s incredibly easy to overlook the importance of good communication, as we’re all connected constantly. But connectedness doesn’t equate to good communication, and this can lead to less than acceptable levels of team engagement and help impede the cohesive functioning of a team.
As it’s no longer possible to easily call out across the room or visit someone’s desk and speak to them face-to-face, there’s plenty of room for misinterpretation and miscommunication. For this reason, it’s crucial to have clear, trackable communication through channels that are acceptable to your organization, such as email, an HRMS platform or a team performance management platform like MyTeamPulse. While for important communications its best to avoid informal platforms, formal and informal lines of communication should be kept open between the team leader or HR and all team members, so that everyone knows they will be heard if necessary.
Remote working can leave team members feeling isolated. A great way to alleviate this issue is by send across a surprise or arranging a fun activity. Surprises can include food, a special token or even something digital, like credits for a game everyone on the team likes. Fun activities can include team building and team engagement activities that can be easily done online. This will help to bring the team together and even boost productivity.
Remember, in a remote work model, it’s no longer possible for team members to easily learn from each other by working together in the same space. So, it’s necessary to have a proper learning management system in place to help team members improve their skills and grow. Additionally, it’s a great idea to have sessions, as a group or one on one, to further discuss what has been learnt and what should be focused on in the future.
This is not simply about exercise and eating well, but also about addressing the mental health challenges and issues that people face. Humans are social creatures and don’t handle isolation well. Unfortunately, while it has many benefits, remote work’s huge weak point is the fact that it can make people feel isolated and this doesn’t do wonders for mental and physical health. In particular, it is very important to emphasize the need for work-life balance and separation, as it’s so easy for lines to get blurred in this paradigm. And when that happens, it’s team engagement and productivity that suffer.
A great way to encourage team members to be fit and healthy is by doing activities as a group, especially as a challenge; such as a 30-day 15-minute workout challenge, or a 7-day no sugar challenge. Looking out for the health and well-being of your team will let them know that you’ve got their back, and that will motivate them to perform better and build good relationships within the team.
This might seem counterintuitive, given that everyone’s so connected, but, as we outlined earlier, connectedness doesn’t equate to healthy communication channels and a sense of fellowship. Thus, make an effort to keep in touch with the team. Host virtual work meetings from time to time and casual hangouts too. Chat and encourage people to communicate. Be sure to differentiate between work meetings and casual hangouts and use different platforms for the two. This is a great way to create positive employee feedback loops, which in turn work to deliver better team engagement.
Overall, when looking to boost team engagement, the take away is this; if people feel vested in a team, they are much more likely to work at their best. In other words, as a team leader, if you engage with the team, they will engage with you. Ultimately, it’s a delicate dance of give and take that helps teams win together!