As remote work continues to increase, so does the concept of geographically dispersed teams. By hiring geographically or globally, you can attract more talent, ensure diversity, and reduce costs. Although there are major benefits to dispersed teams, they also come with some drawbacks. A big challenge of a dispersed team is maintaining company culture and making sure employees still feel connected even though they are not physically on site or in the office.
My team falls into this category, as most of us reside in different states and countries than the TalentQuest office. Because TalentQuest puts a strong emphasis on company culture and makes sure all employees feel connected, I have never felt isolated or disengaged. From my experience, here are a few ways that can help dispersed teams remain engaged and connected:
Schedule Recurring Check-Ins
Communication is key when a team is globally dispersed. By scheduling recurring check-ins with your coworkers and/or direct report(s), you can ensure there is no communication barrier as it gives individuals an opportunity to provide feedback, status updates, recent accomplishments, and more.
TalentQuest’s Check-Ins allows me to meet with my manager in a virtual meeting room each week. In our meeting room, we can track discussion points, outstanding tasks, and any successes from the prior week. We can both contribute thoughts and ideas to the meeting room and can add items simultaneously in real-time. As calendars fill up each week, I feel good knowing I always have this time put aside to collaborate with my manager.
Regular Remote Team Activities
“All work and no play” can make remote life feel isolating. Setting aside time once a month for a team activity gives employees a chance to relax and bond with their teammates.
As remote work increases, so do social engagement platforms. These platforms provide virtual team bonding activities such as trivia games, escape rooms, and scavenger hunts. They are typically led by a third-party facilitator and can lighten the load on a busy day.
Another, more casual option, is a virtual team lunch or happy hour once a month. Team members can turn on their camera, enjoy a bite to eat, and enjoy non work-related conversation. These types of activities allow team members to build relationships and get to know one another on a personal level.
Turn on Cameras
Most of us know the feeling of rolling out of bed in the morning for an early morning meeting and rushing to make ourselves presentable for the camera. Although being in front of the camera can feel uncomfortable at first, it allows dispersed team members to interact with one another face-to-face and brings “the life” back into meetings. Talking to a dark Teams or Zoom screen for multiple meetings a day can feel redundant and non-motivating. Many virtual meeting platforms now allow you to add virtual backgrounds. It’s a great opportunity to a) reinforce your corporate identity; b) hide the mess of your home office; c) use a fun background to share a little bit about yourself! Video conferencing can also make teams more productive. Nearly 9 in 10 employees state that video conferences reduce the time it takes to complete their projects (source).
Weekly Team Meetings
Similar to Check-Ins, scheduling a weekly team meeting can ensure the team is aligned for the week and allow individuals to share feedback and learnings from the prior week. Team meetings are also important for relationship building. In my experience, I’ve gotten to know my teammates more from our weekly team meetings than any other interactions.
While these steps may seem like simple changes, they can make the world of a difference to a dispersed team.