How to Build Connections When Your Team Can’t Be in the Same Place
It’s no secret that building positive relationships with your coworkers will make your job more enjoyable and help you succeed professionally. But like any relationship, developing trust, respect, and a shared understanding with your team doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to establish a rapport with coworkers, and it can be an even greater challenge if you don’t share an office space.
We face this at Loom. More than 50% of our company is remote (and all of us are remote at the moment, for obvious reasons), and we work all across the globe, in different time zones. Overcoming the distance requires intention, effort, and a little creativity.
3 ways to strengthen connections with your team using video
We tackle the problem in a number of different ways (and with a few different tools) but I want to share how we’ve been using our own product to build stronger connections on our team.
1. Use Loom to ask for help
When I first joined Loom, I had to jump into projects quickly and make requests from people I hadn’t met before. I prefer meeting someone before asking them for work (especially as the new guy!) but when time is of the essence that isn’t always possible.
Rather than firing off an email or Slack message, I used Loom to quickly introduce myself first and then make a request or share an update. Here’s why I chose to send a video rather than an email or Slack message:
It’s easier to convey tone and set the context
It’s faster to share half-formed ideas
I can show my appreciation for their work in an authentic, genuine way
2. Liven up internal communications
Your company’s approach to internal communication is a huge part of what defines your culture. Taking mundane announcements and updates and turning them into something special goes a long way in terms of driving engagement, creating an inclusive work environment, and building a company people want to be a part of.
3. Share a bit of your life outside work
We all have lives outside of work but it can be hard to find opportunities to share our hobbies, passions, or interests when you’re on a remote team. Loom has proved a valuable way to bridge the divide. We use Loom to record and share videos of our dance skills, gardens, cute dogs, and the things that make us laugh. Since Loom records straight to the cloud and videos are shared with a link, it’s much easier to quickly send videos to each other, without needing to upload, download and store large video files. Here are a couple I love:
Video messages foster stronger relationships
Humans are social animals: When we feel isolated, we struggle. In one study, 30% of remote workers reported that a lack of community challenges their happiness most. And Gallup reports that “Isolation is one aspect of remote work that can have a negative impact on performance … workplace isolation can lead to as much as a 21% drop in performance.”
Building strong personal connections is foundational for accomplishing great things together.
On a distributed team, finding more opportunities to hear one another’s voices and see each other’s faces is essential. But the answer can’t always be to schedule another meeting.
That’s why we feel strongly about the powerful role video messages can have at work. You get many of the advantages and social benefits of meeting face-to-face without the logistical overhead, and position your entire organization to meet the challenges ahead — whether you’re together in an office or spread across the world.
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Written by George Williams
George is a Product Marketing Manager at Loom.