A 2017 Ohio State University study found that teams of friends tend to work better than teams of strangers and acquaintances. They found that when working alongside friends, people tend to be in a better mood and are generally more capable of working through challenges. This means that it is in a manager’s best interest to facilitate friendships among their team. Beyond productivity, having a sense of community and friendship within a team allows employees to feel supported and helps foster a sense of loyalty to the organization.
For remote workers, work friends are even more difficult to make without the traditional water cooler chit chat opportunities. For many individuals, remote working can be a siloing experience. In order to facilitate friendships, it is essential that managers create opportunities for remote employees to connect with one another. Here are three ways to do so:
In a work setting where some employees are working remotely while others are in office, help your remote team members feel a part of the physical office culture. One of the easiest ways to do this is through an office buddy system. Creating a rotating buddy system where employees are paired together will build new friendships within your team.
Human connection is a key to successful teams. Being able to connect a physical person to a username and avatar goes a long way to build organizational commitment. When you notice that you have paired together office buddies who live close by, encourage them to go for coffee or lunch together. Encourage colleagues to check in with one another and truly get to know each other beyond their working roles.
Encouraging Virtual Socialization
People build friendships over common interests, especially online. In a remote work environment, it is essential that you create spaces and opportunities for your employees to explore what they have in common. We recommend leveraging crowd favorites such as collaborative Spotify playlists and social Slack channels. The key here is that managers should also engage in this non-work-related communication to encourage team members to participate as much as possible.
Dacia Consulting Group is a management consulting firm specializing in helping organizations create custom remote working solutions. Contact us today to learn more.