Making Strong Connections As A Remote Worker

Every remote worker is unique. You may be just transitioning to this kind of set-up, a seasoned pro with remote culture background, or even working remotely part-time. 

What unifies us all is being part of a team. We’ve got to work together to produce results, and what makes that possible is having meaningful relationships with your colleagues. 

Building remote relationships isn’t easy. For many, physical distance, time zone differences, and remote work interfaces make it challenging to forge sincere connection. 

But, with the right tools and mentality, it is possible to create and nurture valuable bonds with your colleagues, building cohesion, trust, resilience, and production amongst the team. 

Here are a few ways the PPM team empowers our roster of fantastic teammates!

Onboard IRL:

Whenever possible, new Proofpointers spend their first week of employment with the Executive Team at the agency’s Twin Cities home base. This experience truly brings the team culture to life, and provides invaluable face-to-face time getting to know each other personally.  This initial chemistry has been proven to create a lasting foundation for our PPM teammates, elevating their comfort level and camaraderie as they dive into their new role.

While the Covid world has certainly altered this protocol, PPM firmly believes in the power of video connection as a close substitution, and looks forward to a time when teammates can reunite and reconvene in Minneapolis for a team retreat.

Build 1:1 Connection:

Two of PPM’s core values are Transparency and Empathy. We hire teammates who are interested in upholding these through connections not only with clients, but each other.

Remote work should not feel isolating, and it’s important to proactively carve out individual face time with each of your colleagues. At PPM, we:

1.) Hold weekly 1:1 meetings between managers and direct reports. Not only does this frequency provide dedicated and predictable time to tackle work, but also spend time cultivating a personal connection.

2.) Encourage 1:1 coffee dates. These meetings are particularly essential during the onboarding process, initiating team conversion, but also integral to relationship maintenance over time.  Walk away from these meetings having learned something new about your colleague every. single. time.

3.) Hold virtual happy hours. We relax, kick back, and talk about ANYTHING BUT WORK!

Use Video:

Email and Slack are useful communication tools, and serve their purpose as work facilitators.  PPM believes that video is a superior tool for relationship building, getting as close as possible to in-person interaction. Hearing someone’s voice and seeing their face is invaluable, and all PPM meetings, both internal and client, are held via Google Hangout or Zoom.

Understand Personality Types:

To some, personality tests may seem like trivial HR exercises.  At PPM, we believe they are an important tool in getting to know a new teammate. What could be more important than understanding individual character traits, strengths, and weaknesses, in order to learn how to function as a cohesive team? 

At PPM we use 16 Personalities and The Four Tendencies; reviewing these quiz results during the Onboarding process is just like receiving a little instruction manual for working with a new colleague.

Dedicate Space for Informal Conversation:

Without a physical space to hang out, teammates need a place for virtual connection. 

PPM uses Slack’s platform as an opportunity to facilitate informal conversation.  Aside from our virtual #ppm-watercooler channel, we’ve also learned more about each other through topic-specific channels like:

  • #ppm-music
  • #ppm-healthy-eating-and-exercise
  • #ppm-gratitude-and-shout-outs
  • #ppm-learning-hub

All the emojis and all the memes strongly encouraged!

Let’s Get to the Point:

Trust is your team’s superpower: Relationships build trust, and trust builds unity. Build a tight-knit team, and performance will follow. Together, we are remarkable.

Your tools are there for more than just work: video, Slack, etc. Use ‘em!

Embrace your team’s unique makeup:  Empower yourself. Know the nuances of what makes or breaks your teammate’s day, when they’re in or out of their element, and some of their favorite things!