Leading a remote team is a difficult process. Even at the best of times, leading a remote team is a challenging process, as your employees will likely be working in different time zones, with different personal schedules and communication styles.
Even if you manage to get your remote team on the same page regarding deadlines and expectations, building camaraderie among your employees can be even more difficult. Due to the challenges associated with remote schedules, any time that can be made for calls is often devoted strictly to business, and “getting to know you” conversations are put on the back burner.
However, these “getting to know you” moments are vital for a healthy remote workplace. In fact, according to a Gallup survey presented by Harvard Business Review, close work friendships boost job satisfaction by 50%, and people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to fully engage with their job.
Based on this research, it is safe to say that intentionally helping to build relationships among your team members is an important part of any leader’s role. But how do you make space for crafting real, meaningful relationships when your team isn’t even in the same physical location?
We’re glad you asked.
A large portion of our team works remotely. With team members located from Arizona to Tennessee and Canada to China, it can be tough to ensure that our employees truly get to know each other. So, we created the #Mr-Rogers Slack channel.
The purpose of the #Mr-Rogers Slack channel is simple: to create opportunities for team members to get to know one another outside of the projects that fill so much of our time.
The particulars of the #Mr-Rogers Slack channel are pretty simple. First of all, participation in the channel is entirely voluntary. We encourage team members to join the channel when they become a Museum Hack team member, but no one is ever forced to socialize unless they want to.
Once you’ve joined the #Mr-Rogers channel, you’re eligible to be matched with a co-worker for a one-on-one conversation. These conversations take place once every few weeks and typically last for about an hour.
These conversations exist solely for you to get to know your co-workers, one at a time. No strict discussion topics are set, and the only goal is to learn as much about your #Mr-Rogers partner as possible. Participants are encouraged to ask thoughtful questions, find common ground and actively listen to what the other person has to say.
When a #Mr-Rogers conversation is complete, both parties are encouraged to share their experience in the #Mr-Rogers channel. Team members often write a brief summary of the conversation, including a fun detail they learned about their partner or a summary of learned interests.
Once you’ve matched with a team member, you won’t match with them again. The purpose of the channel is to get to know as many of your co-workers as possible, so we shuffle the deck each month to ensure new pairings.
No matter how you approach remote team-building, the important part is that you approach it in the first place. Take a moment and talk with your company’s leadership about how you can build community among your remote team.
Maybe building community for your company means that you follow our lead and create a #Mr-Rogers channel of your own. Maybe it means that you host a virtual movie-watching party once a month, and have team members video conference in to share a viewing experience. Maybe building a team means that you start a Facebook group for funny memes or a group text for quotes you overheard in public.
No matter what team building looks like to you, it’s important that you work on building your team’s chemistry, especially in a remote setting.
So, how will you build a community within your team? Comment below and let us know!
P.S. We love Slack at Museum Hack. Here are five ways we use it to help with our remote workplace.