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4 Ways to Boost Teamwork in SMBs with Remote Employees

While there are many benefits to offering a flexible work model, one drawback is that there are fewer chances for team-building. Workplace bonds don’t form as easily within remote teams because your employees don’t have the same opportunities for social interactions. This can stifle teamwork. What can you do about it? Make a conscious effort to promote team-building. Let’s look at some of the ways your SMB can boost teamwork and why it’s important to make the effort.

The Value of Teamwork

Team bonding, comradery, and a sense of togetherness, all things that help to strengthen workplace relationships, develop naturally when co-workers regularly chat in the breakroom, have lunch together, and see each other in the office.

With some or all of your employees working remotely, these things are harder to cultivate. The problem is, these work culture traits are important for productivity and workplace satisfaction. Not having a sense of belongingness can even lead to higher levels of employee turnover.

A study conducted by Nulab found that team-building activities offer huge benefits including less work stress, greater productivity, job retention, and better collaboration. This is because building bonds and having friends at work can make us feel happier with our jobs, which then boosts engagement.

Professor Teresa Amabile of Harvard Business School and co-author of The Progress Principle explains why, “People are more creative and productive when they experience more positive inner work life, including more positive emotions, stronger motivation toward the work itself and more positive perceptions of the organization.”

With a work-from-wherever organization, methods for boosting teamwork are a little different than what you’d use with a fully in-office team. However, they can be just as effective.

Useful Ways Remote and Hybrid SMBs Can Boost Teamwork

Try these techniques and tips for boosting teamwork – no in-person interaction required.

  1. Use icebreaker games to help employees learn more about each other

Start meetings with a couple of icebreaker games such as would you rather?, emoji riddles, and group mad lib exercises. Icebreaker games are useful when you put together a new team of individuals who don’t usually work together and for helping new employees become acquainted with their co-workers.

  1. Build virtual downtime into the workday

In the office, people have ample opportunities for small talk. These seemingly minor moments of conversation can go a long way toward helping people feel more at ease with one another. This is so important for developing trust between co-workers, which is a must if employees are going to feel comfortable sharing ideas and giving one another honest feedback.

To do this virtually, build in small-talk time during the workday. This can be a 15 or 20-minute virtual chat or online meeting. Choose a time when people may be ready for a break, such as right before lunch or mid-afternoon. Invite people to participate, bring their coffee with them, and just kick back and relax for a few minutes before getting back to work.

  1. Form virtual social groups

People have interests outside of work – so use them as a driver for bonding. Form online chat groups for favorite books, exercise and workouts, parenting tips, or travel stories – whatever your employees are into, give people a platform to share pictures, ideas, and insights with one another. You can do this in a platform such as Slack or Microsoft Teams.

  1. Hold team-building activities online

One of the best ways to forge workplace bonds and boost teamwork is to face a challenge together – that’s not work-related. While outdoor adventures and laser tag may be off the table for remote teams, virtual fun is fair game. Virtual escape rooms and scavenger hunts are great for bringing everyone together to solve problems and have a good time together.

Empower Remote Teamwork with Reliable Communications

Ultimately, the key to boosting teamwork is to give your employees the tools they need to stay connected from wherever. Here are the factors you should consider when deciding what platform to use.

  • Communications should be cloud-based. You need a communications platform that offers the same level of connectivity and reliability, no matter where your people are. Cloud communications will allow users to communicate and collaborate from any device and any location. They can access the same tools – chat, video conferencing, voice, email, and file sharing – whether they are in the office or anywhere else.
  • All communications should flow through your business communications system. This will make it easier to ensure your SMB is following compliance standards and keeping company IP and data protected. You can also ensure a better quality of service for communications with customers.
  • When your employees are working together or bonding virtually, cybersecurity always matters. Train remote employees on security best practices such as changing passwords and recognizing phishing attacks. Also, make sure your communications platform provider offers top-tier security management and privacy protections.

Intermedia Cloud Communications offers all the tools your remote teams need to experience seamless communication and collaboration. Learn more about our wherever, whenever communications solutions and find out how easy it is to support teamwork and foster an engaged remote workforce, no matter where your employees are working from.

About Darcy Mekis