Author: Ching Lam Ip, Programme & Marketing Lead, Garage Society
And it’s not just tech giants - many law firms, banks, retail companies have all made commitments to greater workplace flexibility.
In a survey of over 9,000 workers by Accenture, 83% of respondents believe that the hybrid model is optimal for their productivity.
One of the greatest challenges that come with this shift is building connected remote teams, and communicating company culture effectively.
Not only do stronger workplace connections lead to greater productivity, but connecting genuinely with others is also incredibly important for our well-being.
In fact, for our October community question of the month, over half of you voted that you feel best when ‘connecting with others.
So much of our time is spent interacting with people in our workplace. Let’s not overlook the importance of building strong, genuine connections with the people we work with, even if we are not in the same physical space.
Here are our four actionable tips on how to create a company culture of connection, even for remote teams.
One of the biggest challenges for remote teams is simply keeping in touch!
Without the element of shared physical space, we miss out on spontaneous conversations in the break room, or waiting for the lift.
One way to remedy this is by purposefully setting aside time to check in with your colleagues regularly:
Virtual coffee breaks over Zoom once a week
A dedicated “casual conversation” Slack channel for daily check-ins and fun tidbits
Kick-off Monday morning stand-up meetings with 5 minutes of non-work talk
While this might feel like over-communication at the beginning, the point is to build meaningful connections and healthy work relationships through frequent, informal conversations.
Don’t worry too much about the outcomes from these chats.
The important part isn’t the list of action points at the end, but rather the act of sharing and connecting.
It’s important to remember that we work with real people, and not just words on a screen.
We get it - it’s easy and convenient to shoot someone a quick text message, or blast out an email to the team.
However, asynchronous communication often happens at the expense of non-verbal cues falling through the cracks.
Anybody who’s tried brainstorming over email can also attest to how difficult it is to discuss complex ideas or collaborate creatively this way!
If face-to-face interactions aren’t possible, a video chat (or even a phone call) is much richer in ‘data points’: tone of voice, facial expressions, body language, and eye contact.
It’s also much more efficient to have discussions in real-time.
Consider reaching for the phone first when…
You anticipate a back and forth discussion with lots of questions
You’re explaining a complicated project or situation
When you need to discuss something time-sensitive
Over time, switching to more personal communication methods can help you grow and strengthen workplace connections.
With that in mind, make use of your judgement, and be wary that overdoing it could result in ‘Zoom fatigue’.
This one might be a bit controversial, but as operators of flexible workspaces, we know how unique each person's work habits can be.
We all have different Workstyles, and this is especially important to keep in mind for remote teams.
It’s all too easy to accidentally disrupt a colleague’s focus, because you can’t see them working towards a pressing deadline, or focusing hard on solo tasks.
Don’t be afraid to take the first step, and ask how they prefer to work with others.
Not only is it a good conversation starter to learn more about them, it also sends the message that you care about maintaining healthy connections, and building a strong foundation.
What is the best way to get in touch with you? Phone calls, emails or Whatsapp?
Do you prefer collaborative teamwork in the mornings or afternoons?
What are some of your work pet peeves?
Of course, the purpose is to learn more about your colleagues, so don’t be afraid to branch out into non-work-related questions.
At the end of the day, nothing can replace the impact of face-to-face social connection. Not even remote advocates (or introverts) can deny that it’s much easier to stay present, engaged, and connect fully in person.
The execution of in-person meetups can vary greatly depending on the size and geography of your team:
Company-wide retreats once a year for teams that would normally belong in different time zones
Quarterly team-building days for regional teams
Happy-hour mini meetups or team dinners
Incorporate in-person introductions as a key part of the onboarding process
Make the most of face-to-face time to build trust and connection.
There could be a tendency to slip into work discussions, but don’t forget to schedule some time for fun and relaxation as well!
With that said, in-person meetups should be thought of as a “nice to have” rather than a must. A culture of connection can’t be fostered within the span of a few days.
It’s simply the cherry on top of a solid foundation of good communication, clear culture, and healthy connections.
Garage Society helps businesses across Asia work better through WorkStyle solutions tailored for them. From entrepreneurs to large corporates, we understand the diverse ways in which people work.
We focus on getting to know you and your business so we can tailor a better and smarter way for you to get work done. Since 2014, we’ve taken on a community-centric approach to empower our community through people, place and programming.
Whether you are planning a workshop or a themed event for your next team-building exercise, Garage Society is your place - conveniently located in 5 prime areas on Hong Kong Island!
Beside co-working spaces, we offer the perfect venue to organize all sorts of team building activities and workshops. We're conveniently located in 5 prime locations across Hong Kong Island, with fully equipped event spaces and AV systems.
Interested in an event venue or flexible workspace at Garage? Get in touch with us.
Author: Ching Lam Ip, Programe & Marketing Lead
Here at Garage Society, one of our core values is to catalyse change, and we believe this extends to the decisions we make as conscious consumers.
That’s why we’ve put together an Impact Gift Guide: highlighting Social Enterprises and small local businesses that make an impact in our community. Consider purchasing a unique gift from these SMEs for your friends and family this holiday season!
Author: Ching Lam Ip, Programme & Marketing Lead, Garage Society
As part of our #BeTheChange series, we sit down and discuss how people and business have evolved, with change-makers in our Garage Community.
This week, we sit down with Michelle Hong, co-founder of Rooftop Republic, a social enterprise on a mission to introduce the joys of urban farming to the city folk of Hong Kong.
Rooftop Republic has been part of the Garage Community since 2018, and they have a rooftop farm on the terrace of our Wan Chai Lockhart space.
It was great to catch up with Michelle over sustainability, social entrepreneurship, and the joys of growing your own food.
The advent of user-friendly e-commerce tools has made starting your own small business easier than ever.
With so many people embarking on their entrepreneurial journey, we thought we’d give you a reminder on how to support small, local business owners.
We encourage everyone to be conscious consumers - whether this means voting with your dollar for locally farmed vegetables, or writing a positive review for the indie coffee shop in your neighbourhood.
Here are a few ideas to get started: