How to stay connected when working remotely

Working from home? These tips can help virtual teams stay connected

One of the benefits of coming into an office is the ease with which connections are made and relationships are fostered. Now that many organizations are suddenly working remotely and social distancing due to the Coronavirus outbreak, leaders may be concerned with how to help team members continue to feel connected.

Working remotely does not have to be less engaging. The same technology that allows us to work remotely also presents creative opportunities for teams to interact virtually, even in circumstances that aren’t ideal. In fact, for many teams, the dynamic switch to working remotely could help solidify processes and touch points that keep people connected and engaged.
 
Strong relationships can help people stay productive and maintain business continuity, while also boosting morale during challenging times. Follow the tips below to help your team bond and stay connected while working remotely.

 

Remote working tips

  • Schedule a daily group check-in. Turn on your camera and say hello in person.

  • Leaders, implement standing office hours so people can dial in and discuss whatever topics are on their mind.

  • Make use of shared calendars or create a separate log to record projects, hours, vacation and sick days to track everyone’s availability.

  • Encourage people to share short and long-term concerns or questions via a shared document or dedicated Intranet site. Talk through responses on team calls or in small groups; offer support where possible.

  • Champion health and wellness: 

    • Chart an at-home exercise program and other ways to stay healthy. 

    • Conduct a steps challenge.

    • Keep a virtual shared collection of recipes and ideas for healthy, tasty meals and snacks.

  •  Host a virtual happy hour, coffee or lunch break, with everyone bringing their beverage or food of choice to a video chat room.
  • Take 15 minutes out of your day to walk and talk as a team.
  • Develop creative team engagement challenges on a regular basis - for example workspace photos, recipe sharing, themed doodles or themed dress days. Consider a small prize for “winners” as voted on by the team.
  • Conduct virtual tours of your team member’s workspaces, to build empathy and so everyone can see what it's like for colleagues to work remotely (less privacy, interruptions from family members or pets, etc.)
  • Start a virtual book club that meets once a week. 
  • Let people get to know your new “coworkers” (spouses, children, roommates and/or pets) by hosting an event where everyone can mingle virtually.
  • Set up a “virtual water cooler” discussion board/chat room where people can spend a few minutes engaged with their colleagues in casual conversation.

While it’s too early to fully understand the severity of the crisis and its long-term implications, your company’s response—and agility—can position you to thrive in the future. Learn more about crisis response planning for COVID-19.

Contact us

Carrie Duarte

Workforce of the Future Leader, PwC US

Bhushan Sethi

Principal, Joint Global Leader, People and Organization, PwC US

Elizabeth Greenberg

Director, Financial Services People & Organization, PwC US