It can be hard to socialise with your remote team – but it doesn’t have to be
As a leader, it can be hard to remember to socialise in fun and new ways with your remote team.
Are you guilty of rushing out of meetings or turning off Slack notifications? Although we need to prioritise getting things done while working from home, you’ve got to consider your other priorities.
Getting to know and bond with your team members is crucial – especially if they’ve not met you in person yet. Any new hires you take on will need more than a daily meeting to get to know you.
Your new team members are going to feel isolated and alone if you forget to socialise with them. And when you take the time to socialise it can also do wonders on the business side of things to.
When we socialise and get to know the people around us, we begin to feel like part of a team. This will increase morale, productivity and hopefully make remote working a lot more enjoyable for everyone.
Fun ways to socialise with your remote team
1 – Schedule in some obligatory fun
The DigitalGrads team loves some obligatory fun. This is where someone on the team books in a little video call for a tea and a chin wag, or a beer and some games.
We tend to have these every week, but we’re going to do them more regularly going forwards because well, we like it!
Our scheduled fun times are especially important now that we’re working with team members that we’ve never met in person before. And the ‘scheduled’ part is essential.
We work with people from around the world, so figuring out a set time that everyone can chat is really difficult. But it is important. Especially when working with long-term international remote interns.
Obligatory fun tips:
- Start out scheduling in some fun every other week and work from there.
- Elect someone as the ‘leader’ that week, meaning they have to come up with a game or activity.
- Get everyone’s working hours onto your Calendar first and find a time that everyone – or most people – can make it.
- If someone can’t make one week, make an effort to include them next time.
2 – Celebrate your wins
It’s easy to get caught up in the go-go-go startup life, but taking the time to celebrate your wins can be a great opportunity to get social with your remote team.
So after a long, successful week why don’t you let your hair down?
Taking an hour out of your Friday to chat, celebrate and have a good time will seriously do wonders. Whether you put on a party hat and get fully into the celebrations, or if you take some time to crack some jokes with your team, you won’t regret it.
I really believe that we don’t celebrate enough.
3 – Start at the beginning
Onboarding new employees can be treated incredibly seriously. We all want to focus on getting new employees settled and making progress, but what about social progress?
It’s easy to ignore social introductions and fun events when you’ve got a mountain of hiring paperwork to get through. But when you welcome someone to the office, it’s an event.
Everyone comes to say hi, there’s a recored number of teas passed out, jokes shared and the energy is high. You might even go for a drink after their first day to celebrate and get to know them!
So when it comes to remote onboarding, why is it treated like less of an event?
If there’s any week to plan socials – or obligatory fun – it’s when you’re taking on someone new. This will only help with their onboarding. They will feel comfortable and like they’re part of the team so much faster.
It can be hard to fit social time into a busy onboarding week, but our free manager’s guide to the first 2 days will help you get all of your tasks – tedious or fun – finished.
Easy ways to socialise with your remote team
1 – Create a non-work chat channel
We separate our team chat into different topics on Slack, so why not create an entirely separate channel for non-work chatter?
I’m really fond of our team updates channel, because scrolling through you can find pictures from everyone’s weekends and funny conversation threads amidst the team meeting infomation.
My personal favourite:
This is the place to pop any links, pictures or comments after an obligatory fun session. It’s also one of my favourite channels on Slack!
2 – Dedicate the time
Whether it’s pencilling in a 10 minute chat at the end of a meeting or having 1-on-1s throughout the week, the more time you spend in meetings with your team members, the more you’ll get to know them.
I know – more time in meetings sucks – but it’s true!
You could also suggest that different people on your team arrange catch-ups. For example, maybe a weekly 1-on-1 between two of your marketers could be a great chance to organise to-dos, fix issues and socialise.
3 – Encourage everyone to speak
And finally, it’s worth remembering that not everyone finds socialising fun or easy (at least at first!)
This is especially true for any younger interns or juniors that have recently joined your team. Speaking up in meetings can make some people anxious, scared and sweaty.
But we all have to fight our fears if we’re going to work as a team.
We like to use the stand-up meeting format. This is where we go around the virtual room, giving everyone a few minutes to ‘stand up’ and speak. We each go through what we did yesterday, what we’re going to do today and any challenges we need help with.
This is a great way to make sure that everyone’s involved, listened to and valued on your team.
If you need any help introducing stand-up meetings to your newbies, our free Daily Stand-up Worksheet will help them feel at ease!
I hope that these fun and easy ways to socialise with your remote team help you come up with some new ideas. And if you’re looking to grow your team, remember that DigitalGrads can help you make the long hiring process quick and fun too.