How to Improve Teamwork in Remote and Hybrid Teams

Summary:

How has remote and hybrid working changed since 2020?

Can businesses operate effectively when teams are remote and hybrid?

 How can remote and hybrid teams improve teamwork?

Ready to invest in employee wellbeing?

 


How to Improve Teamwork in Remote and Hybrid Teams

Has your organisation embraced hybrid working yet?

Covid-19 supercharged the shift towards more remote and hybrid working, and it’s something that employees are looking for more and more.

However, you might be concerned about the impact on teamwork of having employees all over the country, or even the world.

How to improve teamwork among remote teams is one of the key questions facing people managers in 2022, but it’s a challenge you need to face head-on.

How has remote and hybrid working changed since 2020?

Before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, just 27% of employees worked from home at some point during the year.

However, at the peak of the first lockdown, this jumped to 60% as offices were closed down.

Since that 2020 high, this has fallen steadily. In 2021, 31% of businesses reported that the majority of their workforce was working remotely, while this has fallen by a further percentage point to 30% in 2022.

Although remote working is currently trending downwards, the pandemic has led to more workers wanting to work remotely, with one in five Brits now wanting the flexibility of working from home.


Can businesses operate effectively when teams are remote and hybrid?

Prior to the pandemic, many managers would’ve been reluctant to introduce fully remote or even a hybrid working model to their organisation. After all, can employees really be trusted to work productively from home?

The lockdowns of 2020 provided an enormous remote working experiment, and the results were pretty stunning.

Not only did workers save significant time and money by removing the daily commute, but employers saw the benefits too. In fact, more than half of UK bosses now think their teams are more productive when working at home.

Let’s take a look at three examples of successful, fully-remote businesses:

1. Automattic

Automattic, the company behind WordPress, the world’s leading website content management system, has always been fully remote.

The organisation has over 1,000 employees across 77 locations worldwide, and co-founder Matt Mullenweg recently explained the company’s remote working ethos in an interview with Inc.:

“It's way easier to slack off in the office as opposed to home," said Matt.

"When you're working from home, and all your colleagues are seeing are the results of your work, if you don't do the work, it's very obvious."

2. GitLab

DevOps platform vendor GitLab takes remote working seriously. In fact, the company even has a Remote Work Manifesto.

GitLab sees the benefits of remote working as low overheads, employee flexibility and reduced waste, but above all they want to empower their staff to exist as an individual first and a member of the company second. 3. Sticker Mule

Serving thousands of customers in over 70 countries, Sticker Mule also boast a workforce based across 17 different nations, from Argentina to the UK, from Finland to India.

The company puts the success of their distributed team down to their thorough onboarding process and inclusive company culture.So, hem. 


 How can remote and hybrid teams improve teamwork?

Just because teams aren’t in the same location, that doesn’t mean they can’t work effectively together.

Let’s take a look at how to improve teamwork among employees that are working remotely.

Establish set times for meetings

Depending on the scope of your remote team, there’s a chance you’ll have to manage different time zones.

With this in mind, set aside core hours where people need to be available for team meetings.

Establish clear team goals—and reward success

Remote teams need to have clear goals, linked to the overall business objectives, and incentivized and rewarded based on results.

How you reward and recognise success for remote teams won’t be exactly the same as for office-based teams.

While local employees can enjoy team nights out or on-site team building activities, this isn’t an option for remote teams. With this in mind, eVouchers or digital gift cards are an excellent solution. The recipient can use them at a wide range of retailers, online or in-store, however they see fit.

Alternatively, you could hold remote team building activities, such as online quizzes or games. These can be used for recognition, but it’s also important that you don’t neglect regular team building—it’s even more important for remote workers.

Prioritise face-to-face interactions

One of the best ways in which managers can encourage teamwork is to prioritise face-to-face interactions over emails or instant messages.

Around 20% of employees struggle with loneliness when working from home, so it’s important that managers try to make sure this irreplaceable element of company culture isn’t neglected.

Make sure team meetings are conducted as video calls as often as possible, and check-in with employees every day if feasible.

Introduce ‘watercooler’ chats

One of the first things remote teams lose is the casual interactions of the office. Before you know it, every communication you have with colleagues is about work and nothing more.

As a result, 67% of remote workers say that they feel less connected to their colleagues.

 

Managers should introduce ‘watercooler’ chats into the work day at set times. This shouldn’t necessarily include every member of the team, but smaller groups to encourage everyone to take part and not sit back.

BE AWARE OF EMPLOYEE MENTAL WELLBEING

Although many employees love the flexibility and improved work-life balance offered by remote working, there’s also a psychological impact from losing the daily interactions with people face-to-face.

With that in mind, if your organisation implements remote or hybrid working, you need to give extra attention to your workforce’s mental wellbeing.

An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is one of the best ways to do this.

They’ll connect your employees with expert and confidential counselling services, ensuring they have somewhere to turn if they’re struggling with their mental health and don’t feel comfortable speaking to colleagues or line managers about it.

What tools can businesses use to ensure remote and hybrid teams work together?

There are a number of tools that are designed to support teamwork remotely. These include:

Slack

This popular team communication tool is incredibly versatile, allowing you to create channels for teams and projects, as well as instant messaging between individuals.

You can also use Slack for calls and video meetings, while there’s some opportunity to have fun too. The Slack-Giphy integration allows employees to retain those light-hearted interactions that are so important for team building.

Project management software

Dedicated project management software, for example Asana or ClickUp, allow you to keep track of progress on different tasks and projects. This includes time-tracking, monitoring task statuses and approval workflows.

Effective project management is great for office-based workers too, but for remote teams it’s critical.

Microsoft Teams/G-Suite

Collaboration is essential for remote teams, and Microsoft Teams or the Google Suite of apps makes this simple. 

Work together on documents in real time, access shared calendars and set up video calls quickly with either of these suites of tools.

Here’s how Sodexo Engage can help

Not sure how to keep remote employees engaged, productive and working together? Here at Sodexo Engage we can provide a wide range of employee benefits, rewards and incentives that are ideal for remote and hybrid workers.

Our award-winning range of solutions include:

  • An incredible range of employee discounts on everything from the weekly shop to more expensive lifestyle purchases.
  • A comprehensive employee incentives platform that sparks action from everyone in your organisation.
  • A best-in-class recognition platform that rewards outstanding employee performance, wherever in the world they’re based.
  • Solutions designed to support the physical, mental and financial wellbeing of all your employees, including our EAP, salary sacrifice schemes and discounted gym memberships to name just a few.

Ready to find out more about how Sodexo Engage can help you to improve teamwork in remote and hybrid teams? Contact our expert team today and find out why we’ve been the vendor of choice for organisation’s just like yours for over sixty years.