6 Tips To Help You Reduce Distance For Remote Teams

Distance

As more employees work remotely, how do you and your team maintain proximity?

Reducing the feeling of distance is a key strategy to create effective virtual teams. Three distance types to consider when working remotely are physical, operational, and affinity*. Our Learning Consultant, Neha Ratnakar, who has worked extensively with remote teams, shares these tips to help reduce the feeling of distance.


6 Tips to Help You Reduce Distance for Remote Teams  
 

Reduce Physical Distance
 

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Tip 1: Always Use A Camera

Seeing your colleagues during everyday interactions helps to create a level of connection and rapport that is impossible to replicate through chat or phone. This affinity is worth dressing up for… So put a nice shirt on top of your pajama bottoms and learn how to use the background blurring function. You can thank us later!

   
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Tip 2: Keep your “Door” Open

You don’t have to lose the open-door policy just because there is no door. Consider this great technique from Henk Campher, VP of Corporate Marketing and Head of Impact at Hootsuite:

“One of my favorite hacks as a leader working remotely is having ‘open door’ time slots for team members… meant to be like ‘swing by my desk’ for a quick chat or to ask a burning question, no appointment needed – just as you would in a physical office.”

   

Reduce Operational Distance
 

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Tip 3: Bridge Language Gaps

Virtual teams allow us to tap into talent anywhere in the world. It’s especially important to be mindful of your colleagues for whom English is not their first language. Virtual settings can make it easy to miss the non-verbal cues that we often use for context. Create a detailed agenda before meetings and use simple language without idioms or cultural references to express ideas.

   
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Tip 4: Overlap Team Schedules

Life starts filling the gaps between work assignments for remote workers. Work-life harmony is one of the biggest perks of working remotely. Just make sure you schedule a few hours where the entire team stays online together to foster collaboration.

   

Reduce Affinity Distance
 

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Tip 5: Proactively Build Trust

Try to avoid situations where a remote team member and their manager are in the same room during a team call. Such hybrid calls can quickly make other people feel excluded. Having everyone join all calls using their own devices, even when co-located, is a quick way to avoid this situation.

   
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Tip 6: Don’t Forget the Cake!

Just because you and your team are in different cities, doesn’t mean the celebrations need to stop. There are services like Pizzatime that provide shared experiences like team lunches with pizzas delivered even to far-flung employees. It also makes sense to meet at least once a year to spend some time together. And yes, don’t forget the birthday cake!


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