How to Foster Genuine Working Relationships in a Virtual Team

Managing a remote team within a fully online company can be challenging. It’s common to have team members working from different time zones and even having people check-in at different days of the week. As an HR manager or team leader, you might notice a lack of camaraderie and culture in your organization.

 Your remote employees might feel isolated and disconnected from the team and unmotivated to perform. Your department heads might notice less engagement in their juniors. And you might even wonder if your people are happy in their jobs.

 How are you supposed to keep virtual employees happy and connected in a remote setting?



Happy employees are productive employees.


The most productive employees are the happiest ones. In a virtual team, it’s important to foster not just good working relationships but genuine and friendly ones. When people feel part of a group, they are more inclined to put in time and effort in contributing to the entire organization’s success.

Building and nurturing professional relationships helps employees internalize more responsibility towards their work, their colleagues, and the organization. Their sense of ownership over their duties and outputs is increased, and their feelings of productivity and motivation also get a boost.

Moreover, their enthusiasm for teamwork and helping each other is also strengthened because they understand that the group’s success is just as essential as their own individual accomplishments. Real loyalty and care are reflected in their everyday demeanor, performance, and attitude.



Nurture professional relationships through collaboration and communication.

Having happy and connected virtual employees is the ideal situation for any company. But it’s a lot easier said than done, especially when working with people from different locations. How can you bring people closer when half the company isn’t even online at the same time?

 The key is active collaboration and open communication.

 Here are some ways the HR department, managers, and team leaders can promote this culture.

1. Use online productivity and messaging tools.

Remote working companies always use a variety of collaboration and communication tools. These applications and systems aren’t just for keeping track of everyone’s tasks and duties. They also help teammates get updates about everyone and share ideas and suggestions.

Encourage department heads to schedule regular one-on-one sessions with their team members to check-in and make sure each member is meeting expectations or to address any concerns. It’s almost vital that each department has their own internal meetings, so everyone is on the same page and knows what’s going on with their colleagues.

Pro tip: Schedule a monthly company town hall where everyone is present and can get an update from top management and hear about organization-wide news, developments, and changes.

You can also maximize these meetings by requiring people to turn on their cameras. It’s easier to form a connection with someone when you can put a face to a name instead of just a black screen with their initials.

And remember to keep all meetings dynamic and lively! Give everyone a chance to talk but make sure the topics are light and fun. Short and sweet meetings tend to get more attendance than hours-long drawls.



2. Get to know virtual employees outside of their work roles.

It can be easy to reduce colleagues to their work roles when you don’t know anything about them outside of the job. Getting to know coworkers’ hobbies, interests, and backgrounds helps build friendships and concern for each other’s well being.

Whether in meetings or communication apps, take the initiative to share news, trendy topics, and new ideas to encourage people to participate in the conversion. Be active in mentioning people by name and getting their take on certain subjects. It’s a great way to know more about teammates than just the usual “how are you” or “what do you like” questions.

It can also be helpful to start weekly meetings by going around and asking the group what they did over the weekend or if they have any upcoming plans they would like to share. These tidbits about their lives paint a more vivid picture of their personal lives.

Another way to encourage teamwork and camaraderie is to set up a mentorship or buddy system, especially for new members. Having an experienced team member show a newbie the ropes and work closely together can create a special bond and help recruits feel welcomed in the company.



3. Set up group projects or partner programs.

One of the best ways to encourage people to get to know each other is to work together. Try introducing training programs and group projects virtual employees can work on aside from their regular duties. Not only is it a great way to upskill, but it’s also an opportunity for teamwork.

Instead of letting people choose their partners or groupmates, pair people with opposite personalities or those from different departments. Having a diverse group with various perspectives can often produce the most interesting insights and outcomes.

Having this setup also builds people’s confidence in their skills, allows them to explore new opportunities in the company, and gives them the chance to find new ways to contribute to the organization. It also dispels any preconceived notions about coworkers or job roles people may have.



Staying connected in a virtual team is hard but it’s not impossible. It can even be a fun challenge for HR and managers! The trick is to always empathize with employees and think of how they would feel more supported, welcomed, and motivated in the company. Remember, the happier your employees are, the stronger your company.

If you’re ready to expand your team with highly qualified remote employees, let Engage help! From sourcing candidates to interviewing, hiring, and training, we’ll help find the perfect fit for your team. 

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