Socialising is an important part of any organisation. It helps to build relationships and create a sense of belonging among the team members. In remote teams, socialising is even more important as it can help to counter feelings of isolation and loneliness that comes with working remotely.
By creating opportunities for team members to socialise, companies can boost morale and create a positive company culture that encourages growth and productivity. Socialising also has the added benefit of strengthening relationships between team members, which can lead to better communication, collaboration and ultimately improved productivity.
This article will highlight why bonding is so important for remote workers, and the many added benefits that this can have for a team.
Why is this so important?
As humans, socialising is an innate need. We are wired to connect with others, and it's essential to our mental and emotional wellbeing. Socialising goes beyond simply talking to others. It's about building relationships, sharing experiences, and forming lasting connections with others.
Remote working is generally more isolating and can make people feel more lonely than they would working in an office. It can also be more difficult to build these sorts of relationships in a distributed team. These sorts of relationships can be built, but it requires a little more effort to build them.
Forbes found that ‘Loneliness and isolation are the largest reported concern amongst remote workers’, and as we know, these feelings if not managed [can lead to stress] and therefore a lack of productivity.
This is why bonding and socialising is so important for remote workers.
By bonding and socialising with fellow colleagues, remote workers will be able to combat these feelings, and in the process become more productive both as individuals and as a team.
Why does bonding and socialising improve productivity for remote teams?
Stronger Relationships and trust
For Human beings, building relationships is one of the most important parts of our lives. Similar to how, as children, socialising and bonding are crucial for development, it also paves the way for how we learn and interact, and introduces new perspectives and ideas.
Building relationships with colleagues by bonding can enhance collaboration and creativity in remote teams. A study found that employees who socialise with their colleagues, tend to exchange ideas and work collaboratively, leading to more innovative perspectives and solutions. The more remote team members interact and communicate with each other, the more creative and collaborative ideas they generate.
Creating trust is one of the cornerstones of building relationships that can increase work efficiency and productivity. In fact employees in high-trust organisations reported 50% higher productivity than their counterparts in low-trust ones. This encouraging socialisation with colleagues can help build trust and stronger relationships, which in turn is crucial for remote teams.
Both help team members feel comfortable in sharing their ideas and thoughts, leading to a more open and honest communication environment. Stronger relationships also help build a sense of camaraderie, making it easier for team members to work together effectively.
Remote work presents its own set of challenges, and sometimes it can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Regular socialising and group activities can help to boost morale and motivate team members. By regularly socialising, and therefore actively engaging with colleagues, remote workers will be able to form closer bonds with their coworkers.
One study noted that ‘When we’re working together with others it can dramatically increase our motivation to complete difficult tasks—even when we’re actually working alone.’ With this in mind, socialising with each other ensures that your remote teams are both motivated and productive, despite the fact they’re not sat next to face-to-face.
As a tip, one way to encourage bonding and socialising is through video conferencing. This can be used to facilitate social activities like virtual team lunches. This social interaction can help to improve team morale and momentum, which as mentioned previously, can lead to better work productivity.
A motivated team is a productive one!
Company culture and Growth
Bonding with colleagues can also encourage personal and professional growth among remote team members. Interacting with others will provide new perspectives and ideas, leading to the personal and professional development of your remote teams.
For a remote team, being able to share ideas and perspectives with each other will help improve the team's productivity. When several team members work together the work gets done faster and with higher quality than one person could alone’.
When individuals feel like they are part of a community, they are more likely to feel invested and engaged in their workplace. Socialising outside of the typical work environment provides the opportunity to get to know your colleagues as individuals, not just co-workers. This can lead to stronger relationships and a more positive work environment.
Additionally, by socialising with colleagues remote workers can gain opportunities that might not have been there otherwise. This could lead to networking opportunities and expose remote team members to new and exciting projects, which can enhance their professional growth.
This not only allows for employees from different departments and levels to interact outside of their typical work interaction, but this breakdown of barriers can lead to more collaboration and cross-departmental teamwork. When employees feel like they can approach anyone for help or ideas, it leads to a more efficient and effective workplace.
How you can encourage bonding in a remote team
Schedule regular meetings
One of the easiest ways to encourage bonding in a remote team is to schedule regular virtual meetings. Whether it’s a weekly team meeting or a monthly social hour, setting aside time to connect face-to-face can help team members build relationships and feel more connected to one another.
One type of virtual meeting is a lunchtime video meetup. These are a fun, effective way to stay connected with remote team members on a more personal level. It's a great way to make sure everyone on the team feels included, heard, and appreciated.
A lunchtime video meetup can involve one-on-one conversations between teammates or larger group lunches where everyone logs in. The goal is to create an informal space for conversation and connection outside work-related tasks.
Create a Virtual Water Cooler
In a traditional office environment, the water cooler is often a place where employees gather to chat and catch up. In a remote setting, creating a virtual watercooler can serve a similar purpose. This could be a group chat room or a designated Slack channel where team members can share updates, ask questions, and chat informally.
Outside of a virtual watercooler, you can create other virtual gathering place to help your employees fill the gap that remote work creates. Whether this is a ‘high five’ chat to celebrate the team's accomplishments, or a dedicated spot for work related articles to foster creativity.
Schedule Team Building Activities
Just because team members aren’t physically in the same location doesn’t mean they can’t participate in team building activities. There are many virtual team building activities available, such as virtual escape rooms or online trivia games. These activities can be a fun way to encourage bonding and build teamwork skills.
Another way to encourage this is through company events. Not only do these events help foster better relationships between colleagues, but they also give employees the chance to learn about each other’s interests and hobbies. Plus, it’s just nice to take a break from the daily grind and enjoy some quality time with your co-workers.
Schedule paired working time
Another way to help your team bond is to have paired working time. What this means is, where possible, have team members split up into pairs and working together over a video call on a joint task or project.
Pairing different people up together each time this is done, allows everyone to get to know each other, experience working with the rest of the team and helps improve collaboration and productivity on projects.
In conclusion, socialising with colleagues is essential for remote teams to improve productivity, collaboration, creativity, and well-being. Through socialising, team members can build stronger relationships, trust, and encourage personal and professional growth. Remote teams should prioritise socialisation by setting up regular virtual meetings and creating opportunities for team members to interact and bond. By doing so, remote teams can enhance their work culture and improve their overall productivity.