How to ensure your remote team feels like a team

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager

RWP_headshotWorking remotely is a benefit for many, but working away from your peers can make it difficult to feel connected as a team.

“When one person is remote, really everyone is remote,” said Bob Pautke, president and founder of SOAR with Purpose, a human resources and consultation company.

Pautke, who has been a part of and led numerous virtual teams, will present “Virtual Teams: Technology to Ensure High Performance” Aug. 22 at OSCPA’s Accounting Technology Conference.

“I think there's a lot of catch-up for organizations on what it means to be remote and how best to handle it,” Pautke said.

Remote work can take on many forms, he said. It might mean there are various team members working from home a couple days a week, a team spread out in multiple locations around the state or workers across the country who rarely see each other in person.

Whatever the setup, it’s vital that employees still feel connected to each other as a team even if they aren’t chatting in the kitchen over morning coffee. One way to do this is schedule time for workers to be physically together.

“Whatever the time period is, whether it's a monthly or quarterly, make it happen,” Pautke said. “So they can see one another, they can talk to one another and get to know each other. This way it is much easier to sustain understanding and build trust.”

Another way remote teams can connect is through talking about the company’s mission and values, he said. When everyone is working toward a common goal, it helps create a shared sense of purpose and determination.

Check in with the remote employees and the entire team to find out how they’re feeling, and if there is anything that can be done to encourage camaraderie and openness among the team.

“There are challenges and benefits for the worker, the leader, HR and IT when working remotely,” Pautke said. “And we have to figure out how do we satisfy that need to have the employee feel as equally connected to the rest of the organization when they’re remote.”

Register for the Accounting Technology Conference to hear more about Bob Pautke about how to identify the technology options available to conduct virtual teamwork and more.

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