Maintaining a Strong Connection Remotely with Your Staff

By Lauren Forbes, RHIT

One of the challenges presenting itself in the virtual office is maintaining the connection built while staff worked on site together. While the days of greetings with smiles and quick chats may be gone for now, we can still work on maintaining and improving on our relationships as a team.

Virtual Team Developing

  1. Daily huddles are a great and simple way to reach your staff on a regular basis. Have cameras on if able to add a visual for the team. These can be quick 5 minute to more in-depth huddles. These can be a brief meeting that is a two-way relay of information about performance and hot topics.
  2. Ice breakers can help enhance the participation of staff as they will feel more at ease. This can be a simple question or “Would you Rather” questions. Having chat capabilities allows for more participation and staff not talking over each other.
  3. Smaller touch bases on a weekly or monthly basis. Having a larger team on huddles does not always allow for that time with each team or area. Schedule separate touch bases with 5-10 team members to allow for more conversations and closer environment.
  4. Create a virtual Breakroom to allow staff an environment to interact with each other. They can share pictures, recipes and have fun conversations as they would on site.

Maintaining and Improving Individual Relationship

  1. Have 1:1 with each individual team member on a regular basis. This can be weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc., to fit the needs of your team. We like to have questions sent to the team ahead of time and review the responses together with time for open conversations.
  2. Continue with Celebrations. Moving remote may mean no more office parties and celebrations for special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. That doesn’t mean they don’t need to happen! Celebrate on a team call, email or host a virtual celebration for key milestone. Send a card or gift to their home.
  3. Make yourself available through email, chat or phone calls so staff can still reach out as needed.

Encourage a Healthy Environment

  1. Promote breaks away from the work area and desk friendly stretches to get staff from sitting at a computer screen continuously.
  2. Set challenges and groups to encourage each other through exercise and healthy eating.
  3. Volunteering! There are multiple ways to volunteer virtually and in the community as individuals or as a team. Volunteering can give oneself a feeling of importance and increase their self-worth.
  4. Check in on staff through casual conversations to make sure they are adjusting to the new environment. Some may adjust with no issues while others are overwhelmed and lonely.

Just because your staff are not together physically anymore, does not make them any less of a team! Encourage each other and keep the open communication between the team and yourself. Remember that we are in this together and there is not a one size fits all with managing staff remotely. What works for some teams may not work for others. Find the best fit for your team and stay connected!

If you have any follow-up questions, please feel free to reach out!

Lauren Forbes, RHIT- Sr. Health Information Operations Manager, Ciox Health