Talk about the weather...
Experienced HR managers know about the motivating forces of a strong sense of unity. People who feel part of a team automatically feel good. And people who feel good can efficiently dedicate their energy to the actual work. Consequently, a strong, stable team spirit ensures greater motivation and productivity.
But with the shift of working from home , the tried and tested mechanisms of team building are suddenly no longer available. Almost over night shared coffee and lunch breaks, chance encounters iby the watercooler or brief exchange across desk are no longer possible. And this special situation could sooner or later evolve from an interim solution to a new standard; at least if one considers the ongoing pandemic or German Employment Minister Heil's push for a "right to work form home". So it is high time to specifically address team building when working from home.
Teambuilding when working from home is predominantly a communication issue. But which communication principles are helpful to maintain (or revive?) team spirit?
Establish regular updates
The use of technical platforms that enable team communication has now become a nationwide standard. Fixed dates for updates should be adhered to. Keep all team members up to date, set daily and weekly goals together and record progress. In this way, all the players will keep in touch with their work.
Create transparent working hours
Start of work 7.30 a.m. - who else starts so early? How long is Mr. Meier available today? When is Ms. Müller's important customer appointment today? Stay close to each other as team members through a transparent work structure.
Communicate more frequently
Most communication at the workplace takes place unofficially on the side and is often not even perceived as such. Asking a query briefly across the desk or asking for information in the kitchen is no longer possible when staff are working from home. But don't let this "communicative casualness" fall completely by the wayside - most platforms offer chat functions that can be used to quickly clarify short queries or send a witty comment during a meeting. The rule of thumb is that: if you make yourself heard, you won't be forgotten. While working from home, it is better to communicate too much than too little.
Talk about the weather
In the Stepstone podcast "HR Snack Bar", communications expert Marie Hartmann recommends "talking about the weather". Even in the same city, the weather may be different in different districts at the same time. Talking about current sensitivities, for example, helps you put yourselves in each other's shoes. Start every meeting with a short informal exchange. It will bring you closer together.
Initiate informal meetings
Informal appointments, in which personal topics or the usual "office gossip" are the focus of attention, keep you connected as people- not only as colleagues. Examples would be a virtual coffee break or a virtual lunch break. Show interest in each other!
Nothing motivates you as much as your own success. Therefore, make sure that you communicate all successful projects and tasks that you've successfully completed to a wider circle. Even when working from home, praise from superiors and colleagues should not be forgotten. After all, good news improves the mood as if by magic.
With these tips, team building when working from home can begin. So, which message are you going to send first?