As the world completes one year living with the pandemic, workers have gotten used to the virtual work-from-home setting. Although there are several advantages to this new model of flexible work routine, it comes with drawbacks of its own.
One of the things that was hit the hardest due to this new normal was the lack of opportunities for workers to build connections amongst themselves. When people aren’t present in the same place physically, the chances of them developing healthy and trusting professional relationships become slimmer.
The physical office environment allowed workers to interact with each other on a daily basis. Work friendships were one of the biggest positive, motivating factors for workers to stay at a company longer. These connections give the workers a sense of belonging at the place they work.
However, since the professional and corporate world has gone virtual, workers have found it more challenging to connect with and get to know their coworkers and team members. This leads to a feeling of disconnection and dissociation with the company that you’re working for and the people you’re working with. As a result, the productivity of workers has affected negativity, and their motivation to stay proactive and engaged is also lost along the way.
Therefore, we have come up with a strategy to help you create opportunities for your virtual teams to create a sense of belonging while they continue working virtually. From online team-building activities to virtual corporate events, all of these things can help you engage your workers better. So, let’s dive right in and learn more!
Make Room for Vulnerability
When you’re working remotely, there aren’t many instances where people get to show vulnerability as they aren’t physically around each other. Being vulnerable is what allows people to form meaningful relationships with people around them.
That is why it is the responsibility of the team leaders and managers to make room for people to express how they are feeling. It all has to start at the top. The leaders will have to take the first step and share their own goals, interests, and ambitions so the workers are also motivated to follow suit. When you’re hosting a team meeting virtually, make sure that you designate the first few minutes for this activity.
Ask all team members how they’re doing and how they’ve been coping. Indulge them in digital team-building sessions and check in on them regularly to make them feel like they aren’t just working with a machine but living breathing humans with the same vulnerabilities on the other side of the screen.
Recognize Achievements and Express Gratitude
The biggest complaint that employees often have is that they don’t feel appreciated or recognized by their employers. This is especially more important to prioritize while people are working remotely. A lot of hard work and determination may go unnoticed if you aren’t proactive about recognizing it.
People are working in isolation, so recognition for a job well done will go a long way in making them feel taken care of and appreciated. Make your workers feel seen and recognized. Moreover, the more you express gratitude for your employees’ work, the more motivated they’ll feel to continue giving their best.
It is very challenging to stay productive and motivated all the time while the world is swarmed with anxiety caused by the uncertainty of the situation. Therefore, these little things have become even more critical for keeping up the spirits of virtual teams.
Make Time for One-on-One Interaction
A sense of belonging is created when people get to interact and develop one-on-one relationships with members of their teams. That is only possible when they get opportunities to connect with each other in that setting.
Even if you can take out10 minutes to have a chat with team members about their progress and the work, they’ll feel more connected to the team, and their allegiance to the company will grow stronger.
Be Creative about Team-Building Activities
Generic team-building sessions don’t help much with instilling a sense of belonging in your team. At worst, they become just another chore for them. So, make sure you’re changing things a bit and not just repeating the same routines over and over again.
Hiring a corporate events agency to help you design and host online team-building activities can do the trick for you. Make sure you don’t push the one-size-fits-all agenda when it comes to team building. Identify your team’s unique interests and group them accordingly. Make sure you’re mindful of everyone’s schedules and limitations when extending the invite for such activities.
If your team doesn’t trust each other, then it simply isn’t possible to instill a sense of belonging. Trust is the most critical building block of creating any sort of community. That is why you need to invest time and energy into building trust within your team. It can only happen when team members get to communicate frequently and work in group settings.
You need to create a safe space for your team to be comfortable enough to speak up openly and share their honest opinions. Make sure you listen actively and give attention to what they are saying. When team members feel heard and understood, the trust will build immediately.
Send Physical Gifts and Thank-you Notes
Even though you can’t bring the whole team together in one place physically, you can still become a part of their day by sending gifts physically. Consider sending handwritten thank you or appreciation notes to their home addresses. This will make the team members feel connected instantly.
Building a sense of belonging within your virtual team is extremely important for creating a productive and efficient team of workers. That is why it’s important to utilize online events platforms to bring all your team members together for short bonding sessions and events.
Sarah Hill is a content writer at Seven Events Ltd, a leading event management company offering corporate virtual events and venue finding services in the UK. She started her career in the events industry almost a decade ago as time progressed she became an avid event blogger sharing her insight on corporate event planning.