Remote teamwork: how to come together despite the distance

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a lot of businesses to review their ways of working and introduce compulsory remote work for most of their employees. But how does working from home affect teamwork? And what can managers and employees do to make sure a strong team spirit prevails?

Organise regular team catchups

Not being in the same room sometimes makes it difficult for teams to interact. It is therefore vital for teams to catch up online or over the phone at least once a week. These regular meetings will help keep team members in touch with what’s going on within the company and keep up to date with what their team mates are up to.

Not having these regular catch ups will often lead to team members feeling left behind or disconnected from one another. And no manager wants to experience a general feeling of discouragement within their team.

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash
Cover photo by Christina Wocintechchat on Unsplash

Organise virtual team events

A great way to keep communication alive between team members is to organise regular interactive virtual events.

A workshop is usually a good place to start: team members will be able to interact with each other and give their input on a series of topics. It can also be a good idea to break your team into small groups for a collective task: doing so helps to strengthen bonds between its members. The whole team will then get together online to present their findings.

Not being able to have a big number of people in the same room doesn’t mean bigger events shouldn’t be organised too: technology is now available for big online company gatherings where everyone can feel they’re together.

Finally, working remotely alone in front of a computer for long hours can be quite tiresome and monotonous. And, compared to a day in the office, one element is almost always left out: fun. So why not socialise with your team members online and have a little bit of fun? Organise an after-work games night for example, or a regular online water cooler chat. These can be fun too and help rekindle team spirit if needed.

Show your face

At the beginning of the pandemic, we used to see more faces in video calls. Unfortunately, the tendency is now to switch off cameras and just do audio calls.

While not wanting to show your face at every meeting is understandable, it is still good to organise some face meetings from time to time, to humanise these.

Managers should plan to have one of these regularly.

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Set clear objectives

To ensure maximum efficiency for your remote teams, it is important to set up clear and quantified objectives with precise deadlines, for the whole of the team and for individual team members.

That way, your team members can be autonomous and manage their time as they see fit to make sure they deliver specific tasks on time.

It can also be good to start organising work in sprints within your company.

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Examples of successful teamwork in COVID times

In 2020, ATR managed to overcome the hurdles of multiple lockdowns to deliver the first ATR 72-600F freighter.

With a mix of engineers working from home and blue collars in the Final Assembly Line, this is a great example of teamwork in times of a global pandemic.

Watch the video below.