Being a part of a remote or hybrid team can at times feel disconnected, lonely, or just lacking in the day-to-day office banter. Good news for some organizations, Slack and other instant messaging software create an easy platform to initiate more casual conversations throughout the workday.
Remote team building can be specific to your team and won’t look the same for every group. To start having remote and hybrid team conversations, use these tools to open a line of communication via Slack. The following tips for managing remote teams can be used as a remote team building activity or as an everyday remote team communication strategy.
Create Interest-Based Slack Channels
Many organizations have a few main channels for discussing business-related topics. For example, you may have a #general channel, #announcements, #marketing, #sales, etc. Encourage employees to start (or request) new channels based on common interests. These could be channels for video game enthusiasts, Bachelor/Bachelorette fans, cyclists, football fans, Harry Potter aficionados, and more.
You can also start channels specifically for casual conversation. Try something like #fun-and-games or #random as a place for employees to share jokes, news stories, or anything that doesn’t fit into other channels. Some companies even have channels specific for finding free food around the office. Yum. Make sure every channel has a purpose listed or pinned to the top. If conversations get off topic, kindly suggest a better channel for the new discussion. Interest-specific Slack channels are a great way to build culture as a remote team and feel more connected.
Slack Conversation Starters
If you have a Slack channel for your remote or hybrid team, use the below prompts to kick off a conversation. To promote remote team building, you can set up a time every day for a prompt (maybe mid-afternoon once your team has had a chance to get some work in), or do this once a week on Mondays.
These prompts are a great way to replace the “water-cooler” (or espresso machine, barista line, communal kitchen) chatter for remote or hybrid teams. Make sure to limit these prompts to once a day or folks may get annoyed at constant chatter in the team Slack channel. For those who want more casual conversation, create a channel that is chitchat friendly. Finally, make sure leadership sets an example by chiming in. Slack can be a great way to recognize accomplishments and promote cross-team bonding as well.
Slack Integrations to Facilitate Remote Team Building
Slack provides many free apps that can help promote effective remote team working. These can help if you manage a remote team to free up some of your time spent checking in on remote or flexible employees.
Managing a remote or hybrid team can be challenging and it can be difficult to know how your team is feeling. Using these strategies to leverage Slack to help build remote team culture and communication will encourage team bonding and improve morale. Take advantage of polls and anonymous surveys to keep a pulse on how your remote team is feeling, then adjust your strategy to their preferences. Grow and learn with your team-- and don’t forget to have fun while you’re at it!