This July, Inman’s editorial theme is Teams — what it takes to build and join one, how to optimize your team for summer 2020, and even when to consider leaving one. And if you’re not already a subscriber to our Teams Beat email newsletter, sent every Thursday, sign up now.
As teams are getting acclimated to working remotely, it’s important to maintain a sense of connection for members. At a time when teams need to feel connected, it’s the experiences we share together, even if virtually or at a safe distance right now, that help get us through the work week.
With more time spent working in home offices, finding ways to virtually connect with others has become an activity in itself. Here are some examples we’ve participated in to help our team stay connected during this unusual time.
Because working remotely means we’re not able to take team breaks, such as coffee or lunch breathers as we once did, scheduling virtual breaks is a great way to gain mental clarity and also get a glimpse into the personal lives of your team members as we spend more time working at home.
I recommend conducting virtual coffee check-ins at the start of each month or even a virtual happy hour every Friday afternoon.
During these meetings, make a point to ask each team member one thing they have been doing great lately, any personal updates and things they might want to share with the team.
These questions not only improve team efficiency, but also give members a (virtual) chance to connect on a more personal level and be conscious of what is going on in each other’s lives outside work.
From sessions on mindfulness to even a fitness class, breaks allow us to connect and take a respite from the demands of our job. Virtual socializing will help your team achieve deeper bonds by creating a collaborative environment that’s similar to an in-office setting.
One fun way to further connect with colleagues is by providing a personal home tour, especially since we’re in the business of selling homes.
Host a series of “work from home cribs” tours to kick-start your company or team’s meeting. This will be a unique opportunity to get an inside look at people’s styles, prized possessions, personal stories, furry friends and more.
While getting to know the team on a more personal level each week, all partaking will have a fun look into their colleague’s world, especially where they get their work done each day. This activity will strengthen your remote company culture and help build relationships with people across the company, even with members located in other parts of the globe.
Virtual book club
Reading is a hobby that’s great for both your professional and personal life. To encourage your team to read, and even gain further education in real estate, start a virtual book club.
We recently held a companywide book club, and it was a tremendous success. We discovered companywide enthusiasm for reading and discussing compelling industry-specific books.
Our latest selection was Real Estate Rescue, by The Agency’s Tracy McLaughlin. After reading the book, we held a conference where McLaughlin shared author insights and colleagues shared their perspectives on the topics she addresses.
It was certainly a memorable moment and one of great value for each participant. Not only does a book club help remote teams mingle and socialize, it also encourages them to engage in critical thinking and be open to differing opinions.
Host a Q&A
Although it’s easy to only report the good stuff, during these times of uncertainty, people want transparency. We’ve held Q&A sessions to help team members feel more at ease knowing the latest decisions, plans and information as they relate to our business.
Hosting a Q&A will also provide a time for positive feedback, and it’s a great opportunity to gain further trust, confidence and camaraderie within the team. Host a Q&A to hear team members’ concerns, and by addressing them head on, the team will feel an overwhelming sense of closeness and connection, which will only strengthen the bond and way you do business.
What is your team doing to remain cohesive, connected and collaborative while working virtually or at a safe distance? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.