I was reading ‘Ideas on helping remote colleagues bond’ and it struck me that it is not just remote workers who can feel excluded and isolated. Much of my work is with on site staff who are in contact with their colleagues on a daily basis yet do not feel part of a team.
What creates a team? Is it sitting in the same office? Is it doing similar work? Is it reporting to the same manager?
When a worker feels social pain from exclusion or isolation, their psychological pain is real. This triggers them to question what happened, why they feel this way, what they did and who is responsible. This internal dialogue can easily lead to workers feeling they are not treated equally or that someone is conspiring against them. Left unaddressed, this story spirals down and outward.
Just like culture which continually needs to be focused on and developed, team work doesn’t ‘just happen’ by accident. It happens by design and continual investment.
So when I read that strategies suggested by Kuty Shalev, founder of Clevertech ( a New York City-based firm that designs, develops, and deploys strategic software for businesses) for building links between remote workers, I also equated these strategies to building links between isolated workers in the same office team.
Shalev stated (when referencing remote teams), ‘ We realized that we needed to create a “beyond remote” workforce by coming together and creating an environment of bona fide cohesion and trust through meaningful relationships and conversations’. Doesn’t this directly reflect what is needed for on site teams?
So take her strategies and apply to any workforce team……and have fun!
*In a reduced format:
- Generate structured conversations around shared content: Have everybody watch the same TED talk, read the same book or article, or take the same online learning course. Then meet and ask everybody to share a reaction, with one person speaking and then choosing the next contributor to speak for about the same length of time.
- Encourage discussion and openness by starting with icebreaker questions as simple as “How did you take your coffee this morning?”
- Use games to help build trust. Play a video game or board game — one chosen for its ability to force collaboration and to place the team in scenarios that are destined to fail. This helps to build trust and reveal how the team will handle negative pressures.