It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a push to a more remote first and hybrid workforce. This has brought on a range of pros like decreased commute times, location independence, a more flexible work-life balance, and increased employee prospects. On the flip side, it has also forced companies to think about how they can mimic the physical office environment now that it’s no longer necessary. Some of these losses are socialization, sharing informal knowledge, and building camaraderie across the organization. This has also made managing and working within a remote team more difficult.
Below, we explore some of the newest tools, trends, and platforms out there that can help remote teams bridge this gap.
In order to encourage socialization among teams, many new products are popping up and some of the most popular are built either by Slack or on top of Slack. Recently, Slack introduced “Huddles”. Huddles are meant to replace those quick informal water cooler conversations you had at the office. They’re easy to start right inside the chat window you use daily and have the features you’d expect like screen sharing, but without video chat. This makes it a great space to host your virtual morning meeting activities when you want to all quickly get together, without the burden of getting ready for video! Huddles also include some features you might not expect like elevator music if you join by yourself or are the first participant and waiting for others. They make having virtual meetings or conversations easy and quick.
Although not everyone will just jump into a huddle, that’s why companies like Donut have built a service that will help pair and schedule a quick virtual meet and greet between colleagues. When previously you might have run into someone on the way to the restroom or sparked a conversation in the lunchroom, now a Slack bot will pair you up and encourage a virtual chat. As it’s often difficult to meet new coworkers in a remote or virtual setting, this tool helps with making those connections and ensures employees can build relationships across the organization. Those relationships are important in identifying pain points across teams or smoothing collaboration down the road.
Another thing missing from the office that helps with camaraderie is that quick thanks from a coworker, maybe it’s said in front of your manager or in front of your team. The recognition gives employees a quick pat on the back and helps build a “one team” attitude. To help replace this virtually, HeyTaco developed a Slack app that allows you to recognize and reward coworkers publicly. You gift taco emojis and other fun rewards, which can help build both a culture of recognition and strengthen relationships in the organization. Optionally, you can have leaderboards or rewards integrated with your new taco currency. A fun retrospective idea for remote teams is reviewing your taco leaderboard and can give your employees a push to go out and get more tacos!
Unfortunately, without an office it’s difficult to create the right environment for your meetings or corporate gathering. While working remotely we often sit on our Zoom calls and just see a grid of faces. This can make it hard to set a specific mood for the meeting. Thanks to Spatial you can have your project kickoff in a conference room, your virtual town hall in an auditorium, or a happy hour at a lounge. Setting the right environment helps with the tone and gives your attendees a nudge in the right direction for their virtual meeting etiquette.
The shift to a remote or hybrid workforce has brought both challenges and opportunities to companies. There are some things we miss with teams not all being in a single office, but there are an ever increasing amount of tools to help bridge the gap to a more remote world. We covered some that promote a positive and collaborative virtual workspace, but there are many more tools to help your team! Check out 6 of our favorite tools here at Stable.
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