With the times being what they are, there has been a huge shift in the way we do work, with a large percentage of the workforce now working from home. Although not a new concept, and certainly has its pros, even if you are an experienced remote employer or employee, working remotely does pose some hiccups too.

Working from home, just like any other job, can get discouraging and frustrating at times. It can also feel lonely and isolated which fuels anxiety and stress. If you are an employer, you may find that building and maintaining remote relationships with your work team is challenging. Studies have shown that it is more difficult to get virtual teams to bond, harder for informal leaders to emerge and to create genuine dialogue and easier for misunderstandings to crop up and escalate. Leaders face a new array of issues around business protocols, decision-making, dealing with authority and negotiation styles while working remotely.

We share some techniques to adopt which help to create and maintain strong social bonds among your team.

  1. Establish Trust and Good Communication

From the get go, and for obvious reasons, it is vital that you establish trust with your work team. It is equally important to have open lines of communication. Poor communication can lead to delays in reaching deadlines, can affect sales and growth and employee engagement. As a team leader, it is up to you to keep the communication lines strong and to converse frequently with each of your employees.

Some great ways to achieve this is;

-by setting up virtual coffee or lunch chats

-asking a ‘question of the week’

-encouraging group chats

-having company contests and exchanges

-doing company challenges

2. Provide Positive Feedback

What better way to boost morale and encourage productivity than by offering praise and words of affirmation to your remote team. It’s easy to overlook this in the remote working arena but praise is a vital component of a healthy and successful business relationship and there’s nothing that boosts someone to go the extra mile than by making them feel appreciated and valued.

  1. Have clear Goals with Reasoning

It’s important to have goals and communicate them with your team as this gives people something to work towards and achieve. If your employees know what the reasoning behind your requests and requirements are, they are more likely to fulfil them without complaint.

Working remotely, as with any job, will have its good and bad days. It remains important for team leaders to encourage trust and communication as well as to continue to build a strong company culture. A few intentional and thoughtful gestures go a long way toward making everyone feel like a part of the team- no matter where they are.