The Future of our Workplaces: Team cohesion and social connect in a hybrid workforce
There’s no doubt that for many the social interactions and informal team building that happen in offices remains somewhat more natural than those made over a video meeting. That’s not to say these cannot be achieved whilst working remotely. Teams may simply just need to be aware of this and make a more conscious effort to make time for social interactions.
Working remotely can be isolating and so how can we nurture the team dynamics and trust that are often built organically when working together in an office?
Here are some simple actions you may wish to consider when encouraging social connect in your hybrid team:
- Schedule time for informal conversation
Agreed, this may sound slightly juxtaposing but scheduling an extra 5-10 minutes at the start of a meeting to catch up informally can be important. For those working remotely this may be their only face-to-face meeting of the day and that informal conversation demonstrates your care and value of them as an individual.
Consider checking in at the end of working days or after important meetings. Individuals may be finding their work emotionally demanding or have unknown personal circumstances impacting their energy levels or frame of mind and so offering a listening ear demonstrates your empathy and support, building trust and better relationships.
Remember, sometimes it can be as beneficial and productive to have nothing on the agenda for a meeting other than simply catching up.
- Learn together
Consider supporting your team’s wellness by creating opportunities for teams to learn together. Whether that be learning about the general business, events with external speakers, or learning from one another, continued education can be a great way to build team cohesion and expand social circles.
- Get together in person
The current hybrid working environment is now different to that of the start of the pandemic where remote working was largely enforced. Why not consider hosting some in-person events for the whole team? Or for parts of the team in local hubs? Whether work or social related these can be a great way for the team to get together and meet each other.
Some team members may still feel anxious about attending in person events however, so please take this into consideration and respect their working arrangements.
After a quick google search, there are numerous ideas out there for mini games and ways to encourage light-hearted collaboration in hybrid teams. Why not have a look and see if any of these take your fancy? These can be a simple way to encourage non-work related conversation and team bonding whether in person or remotely.
At Tamar HR, we’ve started sharing Wordle on our WhatsApp group chat and it’s becoming rather competitive….
- Ask for ideas
Perhaps the best way to help your team work together and encourage social connections is to open up the conversation to them. Which of the above would they like to do more or less of? What works for them? Do they prefer activities which are real time or asynchronous? Do they want team building activities to be practical or just for fun?
By asking your team, you may find more immediate solutions to the challenges they are facing and effectively support their wellbeing.