While most of the time your remote team members will never see each other in person, it sometimes might be worth getting them all together in the same room in the real world.
While there are many reasons why you might choose to bring your team together, there are three benefits that are particularly important with remote teams. Spending time together in the same space allows them to develop three key things: Context, Clarity and Community.
While it is amazing to have the technology to communicate with almost anyone, anywhere in the world – the major innovation that makes remote work possible – detail and nuance can be lost when all information comes through email, Slack, or your phone.
The fact is, humans as species have developed over some four million years for face-to-face communication. To put that in perspective, the telephone has been around for 143 years, or 0.00004% of that time. With an email, there is a lack of tone and non-verbal body and facial cues that make up complex human communication. Without this context, there are going to be misunderstandings and damaged work relationships.
When you bring your team together, it allows everyone to better express themselves and explain why they made certain decisions, and, more importantly, the space to have meaningful conversations about those decisions.
One of the best reasons to bring any team together, not just remote teams, is making sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to goals. While you might think that email you sent our last week was clear about where there are areas for improvement on the team, it’s often surprising how much impact a message loses when it’s one of the dozens of emails arriving in your inbox that day. And, much like above, the team might have varied perceptions on of that “urgent” request you sent to them.
By having a face-to-face meeting with the team, you have the opportunity to create a clear map of the company’s goals, and how they can be reached, and make sure everyone understands what is a priority in an atmosphere of trust and transparency.
Finally, this probably seems obvious, but having in-person meetings is an effective way of developing connections and team culture. When your team’s only contact with is the impersonal computer screen, it’s easy to forget that there’s a warm, friendly human being at the other end.
Here at My Byward Office, the teams in our coworking space that commit to doing ‘team days’ get a chance to connect and form bonds outside of the work they do. They get listen to each other about their family, kids and life when they have lunch together.
These connections provide them with a sense of wellness and community they might never gain otherwise. The result is stronger, more personal relationships between team members that help them work better together. As well, by bringing together people that may not interact with each other much, you provide the space to explore possibilities for new ideas and collaboration.