Strategies to maintain a cohesive distributed team

COVID-19 has transformed many of our working teams, if not mostly, into interactive teams, which mean workplace improvements, networking processes, workshops, technological channels and applications. We take all of these changes now for over a year to the “new normal.” Maybe we will get used to it.

Because we don’t know when or how often to return to the office in person, here are several aspects: A multi-step adjustment progresses: phase 1 (new), phase 2 (new normal), and phase 3 (normal).

It would be different from the norm we had known when we reached phase 3. Please take into account that different staff respond differently to work platform shifts. The curve of 10-80-10 refers respectively to the resistors, the “get-on-with-it-ers” and the “excel-ers.” This is possibly the best time to look at the interpersonal activities of the team. What would you do for cohesion maximization?

The Consultative Director at Vizient, Inc., Danny Molnau, describes team solidarity as “the extent to which team members stick together and remain united in the pursuit of a common goal. A team is said to be in a state of cohesion when its members possess bonds linking them to one another and to the team as a whole.” The solidarity of teams offers continuous links between higher autonomy, greater morality of teams and better team performance. Who doesn’t want improved results in the team?

Here are some effective ways to enhance teamwork for remote teams:

Transparency and knowledge sharing

For a distributed squad, transparency is an important component of a balanced corporate culture. It’s easy for workers around the country (or the world) to be left in the dark without accountability. This will adversely affect the cultural and practical aspects of a company.

Cultural viewpoint 

Inadvertent acquisition of information can be as dangerous as intentional accumulation and it is almost difficult to tell the difference if it is exacerbated by a general lack of communication. An unexpected meeting or a policy change that is not adequately conveyed may cause remote workers to feel neglected or undervalued. Such chips break free from team ties and erode trust in the company. A major influence will be the emphasis on accountability and the purposeful involvement of dispersed workers in actions that may concern them.

Instead of asking “Is it critical that I share this information with every stakeholder?” ask “Is it critical that I conceal this information from any stakeholders?” You will note that for every example you use this basic illumination test will lead to knowledge sharing — which is a positive thing. Your stakeholders may not only feel that they have a say, but also their contributions lead to stronger, more efficient decision making.

The realistic view

While it is vital to keep dispersed workers in the loop from a cultural point of view, from a realistic viewpoint, this is equally critical. Transparency and efficient information exchange allow distributed team members to do their work more efficiently. Hugo Messer discusses one of the main explanations for this in a new article for InfoQ:

“When a team is collocated, we all know who’s working on our projects and how we’re doing the work. We regularly reflect on the process, on the way we work, on the practices we apply. But we assume that the remote part of our team figures that out by themselves.”

Messer is describing a major, but relatively common oversight in distributed teams. Although the team members may be physically distant, they can still participate in the discussion. Ensure staff have clear access to information they need to do their best, allow them a seat at their table at meetings that can affect them, and make it easy for others to exchange information. Modern methods for teamwork make it much easier than ever.

Modern methods for coordination and cooperation

You may choose to facilitate free and efficient connectivity all over the world, but if you don’t have a scaffolding to sustain this communication, it won’t work. If you want to encourage more efficient and transparent communication, understand how incentives are aligned around it.

For example: If communication and collaboration in your company are difficult, time intensive or painful, workers are much less likely to engage in these tasks. By being less involved and communicating, collaborative activities suffer and interactions deteriorate.

If you want to have workers frequent and efficient contact, follow tools and procedures that make communication as smooth, easy and enjoyable as possible. That may seem like a big order, but some great resources are available to make it a possibility.

Project management

It is hard to keep up with what each team member is doing and where they are on his side of the project without engaging in random discussions in a jointly situated office. Working through time zones will compound this, leading often to the email conundrum called 36 hours:

This person wakes up, prepares for business, and reads the note. You just respond after hours to the initial transmitter. The individual stands up the next day, reads the answer and sends their response, which reaches their colleague asleep once again… 

You don’t have to go far enough until you know that the feedback loop is ineffective. Modern project management systems make it easier to keep the whole team up to speed on all aspects of a project as they work together in real time. This allows colleagues to work asynchronously on the same project with minimal communication delays. More openness, reliability and sustainability are in place.

Visible and frequent acknowledgement

It is also important to provide a mechanism to recognize with regular and tangible appreciation all the wonderful work that occurs throughout our team. Without an appropriate acknowledgment system, it is simple for a distributed team member to make significant contributions unnoticed. The more that happens, the less encouragement they have to make.

A way to ensure that the effort of everybody is honored by empowering everyone in the team to appreciate the efforts of each other. This exercise serves to highlight each member’s intrinsic importance to the whole team and gives an insight into each other’s strengths.

These positive relationships also contribute to the involvement of distributed teams. They increase the relationships between camaraderie and give workers an insight into the effect of their job on their team, company and environment around them.

Creativity

Finally, creativity is one of a distributed team’s biggest friends. Here are a few things we have done to maintain a link between our own distributed team and to give you some ideas.

A wormhole opening

A wormhole is an ongoing video link between offices. There are several casual exchanges with colleagues in a co-located workplace. A wormhole can help to bridge the gap and make those impromptu talks even on long distances more frequent.

Have Happy Hours online

You can not collaborate and inform in the same place, but you can also do so online. Video conferencing is mostly all about work, but it can be doubled as an important medium for improving the partnership by using it to have some time for fun.

Coworking allowances

While a distributed working system will operate without it, facetime is a valuable instrument for creating relationships.

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