Connecting with your team across the screen

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Date: 6 May 2021

Young Asian businesswoman works at home and joins a virtual video conference meeting colleagues online

Assuming you didn't start your business two days ago, remote work is your new normal.

While it offers plenty of advantages for clients and freelancers – from lower overhead costs and no commute to a flexible schedules and, of course, the ability to recruit top-tier talent from anywhere in the world – businesses need to overcome one major challenge in order to truly reap all the benefits of working with a virtual team…

Connecting through a computer screen.

We know that a sense of purpose and belonging is increasingly important to employees – but don't mistake a remote employee or freelancer's ability to self-manage projects for a desire to be left alone. Cultivating virtual connections will boost morale, motivation, and retention.

How to connect with your team virtually

1. Set up a virtual breakroom.

Whether you remember "water-cooler chat" fondly or distracting, evidence suggests that it improves collaboration and productivity by allowing colleagues to relax and come out of their shells a bit. When you encourage these casual conversations, you also recognise that your team members are people, not machines. Remote teams may not have a physical water cooler to gather around, but the beauty of virtual chats is that they can be less interruptive to someone's work process while still addressing the need to socialise.

Start by setting up a casual chat channel. For an easy ice breaker, ask team members to share photos related to a certain theme or hashtag, like #funfriday or #cuteoverload. Separate messaging channels can help foster friendliness over various topics of interest, such as rousing sports discussions or TV devotees. Standing "lunch dates" encourage team members to turn on their audio or cameras and chit-chat while they eat. Welcoming freelancers to your virtual breakroom can help build a truly cohesive team experience.

2. Encourage everyone to turn on their cameras during meetings.

Seeing each other's facial expressions helps team members form emotional connections and improves overall communication. But for remote teams, the only way to connect face-to-face is through a webcam. Social cues shared during video conferences also foster a sense of belonging: colleagues are more likely to feel like active participants when their expressions and body language are on display, even if they don't have much to say during the meeting.

If someone is reluctant to be on camera, the problem could be that it's super distracting to see a live video of yourself on screen. Offer instructions on how to disable the self-view window to put self-conscious team members at ease.

3. Create a kudos board.

Being recognized for a job well done can boost confidence and motivation by at least 40%. In a physical office, you can pop your head into someone's workspace and say, "Hey, I really appreciate your positive attitude during that client meeting." In the virtual equivalent, you can create a dedicated "kudos board" in your virtual breakroom instead. A kudos board makes your shout-outs public and fuels a little healthy competition for the team. It also encourages teammates to recognise each other's efforts.

To keep it easy and organised, use a management tool that seamlessly integrates feedback-sharing as part of its interface, like Fiverr Business.

4. Prioritise coaching and checking in.

Virtual team members also appreciate a personal connection with managers and supervisors. Make it a habit to check in and make sure they're comfortable with their workload and assignments. Without the benefit of seeing them every day, you won't be able to pick up on body language cues that tell you someone is struggling. It's important to ask. Being receptive to questions, providing coaching or training when needed, and empowering remote team members to take the initiative builds better morale.

5. Find freelance support and consolidate team communications.

Regularly checking in with team members it's also easier to identify skill gaps in your team. Bridge those gaps in a cost-effective way and without losing momentum by bringing talented freelancers on board. With Fiverr Business, ongoing team projects and freelance activity are all tracked in one workspace with clear communication channels for fast feedback and enhanced transparency.

Virtual team connections are easier with the right tools

Whether your groups are chatting around the virtual water cooler or collaborating on a project, the right tools can make all the difference. Want easy communication, powerful project management, and fast access to top talent on a single platform? Fiverr Business opens the door to all this and more.

Copyright 2021. Sponsored post made possible by Fiverr Business.

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