“With the rise of remote work, maintaining team cohesion can be challenging. Business leaders and team managers, what is one effective strategy you’ve implemented to keep your remote teams cohesive and motivated? Please share practical steps on how others can adopt this strategy, including any tools or practices that have been particularly effective.”

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Establish Consistent Forums

“Maintaining team cohesion and motivation is essential for fostering a thriving company culture, especially in a remote work environment. One particularly effective strategy we’ve implemented is establishing consistent forums for sharing context and information across the various functions within our organization. We have instituted several practices to facilitate this, including regular cross-functional standups, open Slack channels, all-hands “show-and-tells,” as well as monthly in-person offsites. By prioritizing open communication, we’ve fostered a cohesive and motivated remote team that feels connected to each other and invested in our company’s success.” ~ Mohit Rohatgi, Amicus

2. Have a Cohesive Set of Tools

“Have a cohesive set of tools to make cohesion work well internationally. Mini management structures, utilizing one clear source of truth for data, implementing time tracking, and having a shared sense of purpose are a few of the key ways to maximize productivity in a remote environment across borders, time zones, and cultures. To scale globally you have to hire fast and fire fast. These are just some of the key things we have learned as we have scaled to 30+ employees across 6 countries, 10 time zones, and countless pivots until we got this right.” ~ Robert Battle, Qckbot

3. Asynchronous Communication

“One strategy that’s really made a difference for our remote team’s cohesion and motivation is leaning into asynchronous communication. Acknowledging that we’re not all working at the same time and finding ways to stay connected without needing to be online together 24/7 has been helpful for our team. We start off by setting some ground rules on how and when to communicate, making sure everyone knows what’s expected. Then, we got everyone on board with using project management tools like Asana, which let us keep track of what’s going on with projects at any time. For day-to-day chats, we’re all about Microsoft Teams, where we have specific channels for different topics and projects. Another cool thing we’ve done is start sharing updates through video messages using Loom. It adds a personal touch that you just don’t get with text. Additionally, ensuring that all our project documents are organized and accessible in a single location is a relief, thanks to Google Docs. Honestly, shifting to asynchronous communication hasn’t just helped us stay on the same page; it’s given everyone a bit more flexibility to work when they’re at their best. It’s made our team more productive, sure, but it’s also made everyone a bit happier and less stressed. And in the world of remote work, that’s pretty much gold.” ~ Jennifer A Barnes, Optima Office, Inc

4. Embrace Virtual Team-Building Activities

“In the evolving landscape of remote work, businesses face the challenge of keeping their teams cohesive and motivated. A proven solution lies in embracing virtual team-building activities. Regular virtual meetings on platforms like Zoom or Google Meet provide a space not only for work discussions but also for fun team-building exercises, such as virtual ice breakers and online games, fostering a relaxed and engaging atmosphere. Establishing a virtual ‘water cooler’ space for informal interactions, recognizing peers’ efforts, offering online professional development opportunities, and conducting regular check-ins are also crucial. This balance between virtual and physical interactions ensures a more connected, cohesive, and energized remote team.” ~ Blake Olson, Smart Prop Trader

5. Create a Culture of Trust and Collaboration

“One effective way to keep cohesion and motivation is to show teams what you expect and provide clear, transparent guidance on every aspect of the workday. As a result, staff always know what’s expected and why. We are 100% remote so we created a culture of trust and collaboration from the outset. Combined with multiple communication channels both formal work channels and informal relaxed channels, weekly and monthly video meetings (cameras on) and annual in-person meetups, we can create a workplace to be proud of. In return for productivity, we are flexible about working hours, taking leave, personal time and workload. We clearly show we want teams to enjoy a happy work/life balance and make sure our actions demonstrate that at every turn. This framework is proving very effective at creating loyalty and motivation as we all get something out of the arrangement. For me, that’s a great way to run a sustainable business.  ” ~ Pratik Chaskar, Spectra

6. Virtual Office Hours

“Implementing a “virtual office hours” policy has improved our remote team cohesion. Leaders and managers set aside dedicated hours weekly, available for casual drop-ins via video conferencing tools like Zoom or Slack. We have found that this practice allows for real-time collaboration. To adopt, schedule regular slots, promote usage among the team, and ensure a welcoming atmosphere for any discussions. It’s a simple yet effective way to maintain connection and motivation across remote teams.” ~ Jack Perkins, CFO Hub

7. Weekly Virtual Announcements

“One strategy that we have implemented as a hybrid-remote team is weekly virtual announcements and frequent shout-outs. We repeat announcements on the same day weekly with policy reminders and any new announcements. We ask for a thumbs up when they’ve been read. We repeat and recycle to help avoid drift — that drifting away from policies that can happen when people have less oversight. We share the employee manual and refer to it often. We announce positive awards for small successes throughout the week. By doing this, we keep our team on the same page and motivated. They also know what to expect.” ~ Givona Sandiford, Melospeech Inc.

8. Set Clear Goals

“An effective strategy we’ve implemented involves setting clear goals, roles, and responsibilities. This clarity ensures every team member understands their contribution, reducing confusion and enhancing accountability. We also promote cross-team exposure, allowing team members to see how their work fits into the broader business operations, instilling a sense of purpose and belonging. Understanding what motivates each individual is crucial; people are driven by different factors. By taking the time to understand these personal drivers, managers can tailor their approach, boosting motivation and productivity. Regular check-ins and feedback sessions provide a platform for recognition and addressing concerns, further motivating team members.” ~ Travis Schreiber, Erase Technologies, LLC

9. Embrace The Best of Remote Work

“Our company embraced remote work from 2009 when I started my blog. It just made sense for us because all our work was online and we valued output and creativity rather than worry about how many hours worked or whether someone started working at 9 am on the dot. We’ve grown in leaps and bounds as a remote company and we’ve had no trouble keeping remote teams motivated. This is because most people prefer remote work and the freedom to work on their own time without micromanagement. What we do extra to help our employees is create a setup where online communication is seamless. For example, we rely on Slack heavily for daily conversations. We use Google Meet for weekly and monthly calls. We have extensive documentation using Google Docs and Sheets. We also encourage lively and friendly conversations on our family channel on Slack. Other tools we use are Asana for project management and communication as well as One Password for protecting account access. Our team has grown from a dozen to over 300 people over the years and we still maintain cohesiveness and motivation for well over a decade. It’s up to business owners to decide that they will make the best of remote work and to also hire the right people and compensate them well.” ~ Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

Image: Envato Elements

This article, “9 Strategies For Maintaining Cohesion in Remote Teams” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source: Small Business Trends

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