We typically spend up to 40 hours a week with the people we work with – so it should come as no surprise that teams that have strong relationships work better together and achieve more. With COVID-19 forcing many teams across the world out of the office, and many employees expected to spend more time working from home for the foreseeable future, making the effort to build a great relationship with your team may be trickier than before, but it’s something that’s become increasingly important.
Whether your team will soon be returning to the office full-time or you’re planning to swap your physical workplace in favor of remote working, teams that have a strong relationship and enjoy working together are the ones who have great communication and collaborate together with ease – meaning they work more efficiently and achieve more. In fact, SHRM’s 2016 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Report identified that having strong connections with colleagues is a key factor in boosting employees’ engagement levels – and this is something that still rings true today.
Under normal circumstances, most of us spend more time with our colleagues than our friends and families, so it’s vital that we have good relationships with them; that we feel comfortable approaching them for help and providing them with honest and constructive feedback when needed. Not only that, but with an increasing amount of teams now spending less time together in the office, the need for us to keep communication high is vital to ensure that everyone is kept on the same page and that your team still feels like a team.
Here are just some of the ways you can develop a great relationship with your team that’s built on communication, trust, and most importantly, friendship.
Whether this is having a quick chat about the television shows you’re all watching or asking someone to take a task off your plate when your to-do list is fit to bursting, communicating effectively with your team is essential for building a great relationship with them. If everyone is comfortable enough to share any worries and concerns they have, ask for help when needed, and provide constructive feedback on each others’ work, they will be more willing to suggest more out-of-the-box ideas during brainstorming sessions (which may prove to be extremely fruitful) and work more efficiently as there will be less room for misunderstandings.
As you’ve probably already realized over the past few months, communication is even more important when working remotely. If your team is continuing to work from home, using an instant messaging app to create a group chat for everyone to contribute to is a great way to keep everyone feeling connected. This is because it can be used to mimic the chats your team would usually have in the office – whether this is a heated debate about their favorite biscuit or asking for feedback on a piece of work they’ve produced. Arranging daily catch-up video calls each morning will also give members of your team an opportunity to provide updates on what they’re working on, voice any concerns they have, and get clear answers to important questions.
Trust is the foundation of every strong relationship – and this also applies to the people you work with. A recent study from Payscale found that employees who felt like their bosses trusted them were happier and less likely to look for a new role. In fact, 76% of workers who felt their managers had little confidence in them said they were likely to start searching for a new job in the coming months! So, although you should have a thorough sign-off process in place that includes multiple people (as this ensures you’re sending out the right messages as a business), trusting your team to make the decisions you know they’re capable of will make them feel that their opinions matter and give them the confidence to grow.
On the other side of the coin, don’t forget that it’s also vital that your team trusts you, as their superior. If they feel comfortable sharing any worries they have with you, the easier and quicker it will be to nip these in the bud – and the less likely they will be to jump ship later down the line. Arranging regular 1-2-1 meetings (either virtually or in-person) with individual members of your team will give them a chance to share their thoughts and any concerns they may have – just be sure to reiterate that they won’t be judged or reprimanded for sharing their honest feedback. You should also assure them that what they tell you during these sessions won’t be shared with others (if they don’t want it to be).
Establishing genuine friendships with the members of your team isn’t something that should be overlooked. Countless research has found that working with your friends can lead to greater satisfaction, whether this is in the classroom or the workplace. A number of studies have also discovered that people perform better when they work with those they consider to be their friends, rather than their acquaintances. With members of the same team likely to share the same goals and similar ambitions, they already have plenty of things in common, which creates a great foundation for winning friendships to be formed.
Though getting your work done should always be your first priority, factoring fun into the mix will help everyone connect and see each other as friends, as well as improve their morale and make them appreciated for a job well done. Something as simple as hosting a weekly or monthly quiz for everyone to get involved with, or organizing quarterly activities such as extended lunches out of the office, an afternoon bowling or even a cocktail making class after work can give them a much-needed break from their to-do lists, as well as the opportunity to discuss and bond over something other than that big project they’re working on. If your team is still working from home, the likes of quizzes and drinks can be easily done over a video call!
To truly reap the benefits of a strong and connected team, you need to give them the tools to work together effectively. Ayoa combines Mind Mapping and Task Management capabilities, so everyone in your team has a space to plan their work and brainstorm great ideas, as well as keep track of their deadlines. With built-in collaborative features, users can easily share their work with others, contribute their thoughts, delegate tasks, and track the progress of their shared projects – so you can easily see if someone needs some extra help to achieve an important goal. Try Ayoa for free today!
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