A guide to building remote team unity

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The Beatles had 21 days to prepare for their final concert, performed live for television on the roof of their Apple Corps headquarters in January 1970. With many personalities in the mix, this was a very short time to write and rehearse multiple songs for millions around the world.

What happened (as shown in Peter Jackson’s new documentary from the period) was a lesson in how to get things done. Working with people is hard and messy because, well, they are people. But despite significant challenges and interpersonal tensions, these Beatles sessions became the basis for their final, classic album. Let it be.

Businesses today can learn from the Beatles. Much like a band, every small business relies on human relationships that are built in layers over time and, once built, will thrive or fall apart on the strength of that group dynamic.

Traditional office culture and its impact

Personal contacts used to be established from the first moment an employee reported to a workplace. This process steadily built up in formal and informal ways. Great leaders created cultures where tasks, projects, and goals brought the team together for a common purpose. The intervening moments of informal connection that took place in hallways, break rooms and at reception added to the personality of the team. Some people went from workmates to colleagues and eventually friends.

Even in the most dysfunctional office cultures, working together under one roof created some semblance of unification. Last but not least, the temperature of the building or the lack of parking spaces, the traffic or the last soccer game made for shared experiences that we could talk about and end the day with.

See also: 5 tips for remote hiring and team building

Remote-first environments are changing the way we meet

Research shows that highly aligned companies significantly outperform their unaligned competitors, growing sales up to 58% faster with over 70% better profitability. Orientation is top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top. Moments of casual connection, so business-critical to team building, are much harder to spark digitally, but no less important tools for uniting organizations. In remote-first environments, managers and leaders must become conscious and creative to replace the hundreds of daily, unplanned, and unstructured minutes of casual connections between colleagues. Otherwise, unity will weaken, and both teamwork and business results will feel the effects.

See also: 6 Ways Connections Create a Sense of Belonging Anywhere, Any Workplace

Five steps any organization can take to unify teams in remote-first environments

Not all conversations lead to communication, but most conversations lead to connections. When there are similarities or similarities, people tend to find them. On the other hand, people who disagree discover that too. These are some of the great advantages of proximity. Even if a team isn’t working very well, there will always be more conversations between people working under the same roof.

Here are five ways to recreate an occasional connection environment in a remote work environment:

  1. Create spaces for personal exchange. In an in-person meeting, it’s the time before the meeting begins and after it ends—while people are getting settled or packing their bags—when people tend to share personal information. Meeting leaders must recreate these spaces online. Consider staggering the start time of a meeting for different attendees. Have three people show up early just so you can catch up. Invite people over for lunch. bring your pets. There’s nothing wrong with telling people what you’re trying to replicate. They like the benefits of remote work, but are also aware that even if something is gained, something is lost.

  2. amplify feedback loops. People don’t want their work to happen in a vacuum. They thrive on feedback. Word of mouth is minimized in remote workplaces. Share customer quotes from support tickets, social media comments, and sales pitches in Zoom meetings and Slack channels. Share positives and negatives. Nothing brings a team together like a problem to be solved – especially when it comes from a different department. Discuss feature requests so everyone knows what your customers think. There’s no better way to align your teams than by training them against an accurate roadmap that prepares them to speak intelligently about your business with customers and prospects.

  3. Use technology that aligns teams. Each team strives to create a superior customer experience. This is only possible if every touch point and every team in the customer journey are aligned. When teams use the same technology platform, team communication and collaboration is encouraged in the customer journey. Disparate, unintegrated systems with data silos prevent departments from connecting and understanding each other’s processes.

  4. Be prepared for cohort differences. Gen Xers are often in leadership positions but tend to be quiet achievers. They can be very private; At the same time, however, they thrive in casual, friendly environments and are generally accepting and inclusive of others. They can be great listeners for the Millennials on the team, who want their managers to show genuine interest in them as people, and are more likely to engage when their managers have regular meetings.

  5. Maximize infrequent face-to-face encounters. If an opportunity arises to meet in person, take it. Whether it’s a quick lunch during a layover in a colleague’s hometown, or a full-blown team gathering, use every possible minute of this face-to-face gathering to chat, engage, and be fully present. Individual work can take a back seat to face-to-face collaboration and brainstorming.

See also: How to create corporate culture in a remote world

People want to belong, feel connected and offer excellent service – that hasn’t changed.

Businesses may have inadvertently benefited from in-office logistics, but that is now over or significantly curtailed for many businesses and cohorts of workers. However, our customers still expect and deserve a hassle-free journey, or they go elsewhere. As leaders, we must adapt and lead through the new world of remote work to deliver on that promise to our customers. A guide to building remote team unity

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