Team spirit in a remote working worldMany of us want to have the possibility and the benefit to work from home and schedule their working day as they want. Besides the current pandemic situation, there are just a few companies that successfully offer fully remote working. Sure it has many advantages but it can be challenging to build a good team spirit when you just know each other from a web meeting.
For me, as a developer, I was very happy when my current company announced that we are now allowed to work remotely as much and as often as we want to. Being able to work from home and to be flexible with my working time had a huge impact on my day-to-day work. At the beginning, it was hard to focus on my work tasks because of my couch and tv being just a few steps away. Also to stop working after my regular work schedule and not keep working until late in the night was a big challenge. As with everything new and challenging after some time you get used to it and I became very productive and good at it. Comparing some days where I was at the office sitting in a big open-spaced room and working from home was a totally different working experience. I wouldn't say it was worse to work in the office but it's different.
My top requirements to work remote successfully:
- A company and management which understands the advantages but also the challenges which comes with remote work
- Build a dedicated work environment at home where you can stay focused and not being distracted from the housework you may have to do
- Depending on your profession a basic technical setup to be able to do your day-to-day work (e.g. without the frustration of a slow company network VPN)
With the introduced restrictions from the government as the result of the still ongoing pandemic, most of the companies switched from working in an office to work from home. For us and other companies, this was not such a big deal, we did that already and were used to it. Many other companies from small to big ones had to transform within a very short time to stay competitive and to not lose their company. Besides the downside of the current pandemic situation, I think we all learned a lot during this time and the only thing we can do now is to keep improving based on these learnings. I think many of these companies keep offering the possibility to work remotely and be even more successful than before.
When working from home every day you have to be very self-organized, focused on your work and sometimes, at least for me, it feels like I am a self-employed developer. My daily tasks are the still the same but you lose much of your team spirit. All meetings have a tight schedule and you cannot afford it to stay in the call for some feedback or some not work related things, what you normally would do when you go back to your desk at the office or when grabbing some coffee at the bar. For me having benefits like a gaming area, office gyms or someplace where you feel you can meet your colleagues and get to know them better personally are important for a good team spirit and can encourage the success of a company. For remote workers/teams you don't have these kinds of places and it's hard to build the same team spirit when you only know your co-workers from web meetings. Sure you can have a come-together in person every few months but to really improve the team spirit you have to be very inventive and keep it up over time.
With that being said, I think every company (fully remote ones or temporary remote ones) has to reinvent their team-building methods to keep or better to improve their team spirit in remote teams. Every member of a team can and should help to do so and talk about their ideas.
Here are some of my proposals :
- Bring your team members together in an after-work meeting, drink some beer or just talk about some non work-related things going on
- Offer some fun events like a remote rum tasting (We recently did that and it was just great) or remote cooking sessions
- Find an online game and play some funny sessions together
I love to work remote and I'm very grateful I can do that, but we have to be careful to not lose a very important part of every team.
How do you keep up the team spirit in your remote team? - Tweet me @MaxWagnerDev.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer’s view in any way.