Building and maintaining team camaraderie in a remote workplace is a challenge for any company. When you have in-person teams, communication and bonding tend to happen organically. But, in a remote work environment, these natural team-building events, such as chatting over coffee in the break room, don’t happen.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many more businesses have embraced remote working and are struggling to create team camaraderie remotely. If your company is worried about maintaining morale in the new remote work culture, read on for our top tips on how to build team camaraderie in the workplace.
Why does camaraderie in the workplace matter?
Camaraderie is the spirit of friendship and trust that can exist between people who spend a great deal of time together. When there’s camaraderie in the workplace, team members trust each other and genuinely enjoy working together. This can increase collaboration, efficiency, and overall productivity.
Research by Gallup shows that people who have strong friendships at their workplace are seven times more likely to be engaged in their work and 50% more satisfied with their work. A feeling of camaraderie can also improve retention, as people are less likely to quit when they work with their friends.
Other significant benefits of team camaraderie include:
- A sense of belonging: One of the biggest struggles of remote workers is a sense of isolation, and office camaraderie can help overcome that.
- Shared goals: Strong friendships help create a sense of “we’re all in this together,” which can help your team work towards and accomplish shared goals.
- Less conflict: Disagreements and minor conflicts are less likely to grow into something ugly and negative when everyone feels a sense of friendship and trust.
How to build a healthy remote work culture
Virtual team building games are a great way to break the ice with new remote workers. But it takes more than one round of activities to create a healthy remote work culture.
Camaraderie in the workplace requires the following:
- Open communication
Team camaraderie occurs when employees can communicate with each other and management in an open and positive manner. People need to feel a sense of respect and appreciation. They also need to trust that their coworkers and managers have their best interests in mind and are transparent with both good and bad news.
Tips for building office camaraderie virtually
Understanding what it takes to create an environment of camaraderie and being able to instill it are two different things. After all, something like trust is easy to understand, but much harder to nurture and grow.
So, here are our top nine tips for creating camaraderie in the workplace even when your team is remote:
- Use profile pictures. Using headshots in profile pics and chat icons can help team members attach faces to names, making them feel more connected to the people they’re working with.
- Encourage face-time. Using video chat for meetings can help people feel more bonded than when communicating with face-less voices. Plus, there will be more transparency and fewer misunderstandings when people's body language is visible as it helps add context to words.
- Create a group chat. Whether through Slack, your workplace collaboration software, or some other tool, you should create and maintain a digital channel for non-work conversation. This is where employees bond over shared interests or struggles and get to know each other.
- Encourage chit chat. It’s important to encourage your team to talk to each other. Just because you create a channel for it doesn’t mean people will automatically engage. You can encourage open communication by setting aside time at the end of meetings or during designated “coffee breaks.” You can also help prompt communication by asking how people are doing and sharing some personal information about yourself (such as your weekend plans or what you’re currently binge-watching).
- Create contests and challenges. Having regular contests can help create a spirit of friendly competition and help people get to know each other better. Try out different types of team building games for remote workers (such as photo contests, trivia contests, etc.) to give different members with different strengths a chance to shine.
- Have recurring social meetings. Whether it’s a daily 15-minute meeting to say hello, or a monthly “virtual drinks” gathering, getting together and chatting about non-work topics via video conference can help build camaraderie. Plus, regular check-ins will cut down on the feelings of isolation that some remote workers struggle with.
- Acknowledge people. Praising people’s work and their contributions to the team will help build a sense of appreciation and respect amongst the team. Celebrating team wins, even small ones, will also help keep motivation up and ensure everyone keeps striving towards a common goal.
- Lead by example. You need to exhibit the behavior you want from others. If you don’t attend social meetings or share about your personal life, your team may not feel able to open up and bond either.
- Don’t micromanage. Allowing your employees to have autonomy shows them that you trust them and have faith in their abilities. When you aren’t constantly checking in asking them for the status of things, they’ll feel a greater sense of camaraderie with you and the rest of the team.
Tools that help build a remote work culture
There are a few key tools you need to build team camaraderie in a remote workplace:
- A communication platform (i.e., Slack)
- A video conferencing tool (i.e., Zoom)
- Software to keep everyone on the same page (Wrike)
While communication tools like Slack and Zoom are essential for remote office camaraderie, they’re not enough. Being able to maintain transparency, communicate seamlessly, and keep-up-to-date on work without micromanaging requires something more. That’s where Wrike comes in.
Our remote work template will get your team off to the right start by providing you with the toolkit and best practices needed for smarter remote team collaboration. Plus, Wrike’s work management software enables you to connect your entire organization, share ideas, and produce your best work in a shared workspace no matter where your employees are physically located. Sign up for a free trial today and discover how Wrike will bring more flexibility and camaraderie to your organization.