A cohesive team is characterized as one by which members of a working group have become well bonded. They don’t just report to work daily, as if they’re merely robots tasked with a job function. There’s a sense of connection and closeness, where each one is happy to belong to a work family. It’s composed of a united team where social relations and positive emotions are the norm.
Creating a cohesive team can be easier in a physical work setting where everyone sees each other at the office when they report for work. In a virtual setup, however, this can be a bit challenging. Many team members may never even get a chance to see each other physically. All connections are made online or through the shared work platform. Despite this, team managers can refer to strategies to foster cohesion within the virtual team, starting with fun virtual events for work, among many other techniques.
Let’s take a look at some of these failproof strategies you can apply in your pursuit of strengthening cohesion with your virtual team.
Recognize A Point Person
In a physical office, you’ll have the team leader or department head for members to approach for work-related matters. A virtual team should have one as well. In this case, it can be referred to as the point person.
There’ll be a sense of unity and cohesion when every team member of the virtual or freelance team knows whom to run to whenever they have questions. Ideally, you’ll have two main point people, so one can be available when the other is offline.
Schedule Regular Virtual Meetings
It’s one thing to send announcements to a group chat or directly to the employee concerned, but it’s another to hold regular, virtual meetings. These can help your team feel like they belong to a group, as they would in a physical office. Virtual team meetings are also a great way to listen and hear each other out to know each other better.
The goal is for virtual meetings to foster a sense of camaraderie and familiarity. Don’t do it too often, as that can also be annoying, especially for those who may have chosen to work virtually. It’s up to your human resources (HR) team to determine the optimal duration and frequency to make those virtual meetings effective.
Celebrate individual and team success. Frankly, even the tiniest achievement should be a reason for celebration. With a virtual team, this can be as simple as announcing what those achievements are. It drives positive work days when you can make meetings more fun and exciting.
Moreover, celebrating and acknowledging the success of employees and their departments is also an effective way to make them feel like their efforts are recognized. No one wants to feel invisible, especially when they’re already working alone and solitary, which is usually the case for remote workers.
Recognizing achievements also fortifies a company culture of admiration and gratitude for work done. It also creates that collective passion for excellence, which should be the center of what your team should have.
Host Virtual Events
Company lunches and weekend activities are the norms in a physical office. In a virtual or remote team, these don’t have to be absent. While you don’t have to make them compulsory, holding company events is a great way to foster friendship and a good bond for those with the time and the interest to attend such activities.
You may hold company-sponsored team lunches once in a while or opt to have other virtual activities like exercise sessions, yoga, and perhaps even a virtual movie date.
Powerful videoconferencing apps and tools are available to make those virtual activities possible nowadays. It’s a challenge for your HR team to do, all to create a more united virtual team.
Get The Size Right
If you have a big company, break those down into smaller teams. This will make it more manageable for the department heads or point people. Otherwise, managing a bigger team may only make them feel even more apart. The smaller the team, the more cohesive each working day will be.
Ideally, you may go with no more than 20 to 25 per department. This will give each other a sense of accountability. Furthermore, every team member will remember more who they’re working closely with over time.
Virtual and dispersed teams have become the norm in recent years. As many companies see the benefits of this working arrangement, those left behind stuck to the traditional physical office have also adapted. Whereas this may be ideal for many, managing a virtual team can also be demanding, especially from the management’s side. One of the most pressing issues is cohesion because connecting remote teams can be challenging. Now, you can drive those woes one bit at a time by trying out the strategies discussed here.