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Can you truly remain a team while working in separate places?

Being a project manager is an exciting role precisely because of its variety and responsibility. This often means working not just outside usual office hours but in a different location and this may also be true for other key members of the project you are working on. With more and more people opting to telecommute, and flexible working hours becoming more common too, the project team is changing.

The question is therefore; can you truly remain a team if you are often working in separate places instead of being located under the same roof where camaraderie is naturally found and doesn’t have to be created?

Absence can make the heart grow fonder

The answer to this question is both yes and no. Yes in the sense that you can still work together effectively to achieve a successful completion to a project you are joining forces on but no in the sense that it will not feel the same as being in close physical proximity with fellow colleagues and it would be naïve to think otherwise. However – you can still be a virtual team and foster your own unique “team spirit” mentality with careful handling and this is where project management training led by a company (who understands these unique challenges) can be of vital help.

Social and professional bonding

The three main challenges are the sense of collaboration, morale and the feeling of belonging that you naturally find whilst sharing the same office building can all take a big hit. It is easy to feel isolated and disillusioned especially when you find yourself running into problems and a vent to colleagues by the coffee machine is out of the question. Complaining to the cat or a long-distance co-worker that you don’t know that well will probably not cut it and it’s not difficult to see how confidence and productivity can quickly take a nose-dive taking the potential success of the project with it. 

The winning team

It is important therefore, to truly work at the initially bonding both personally as well as professionally and the following two pieces of advice taught on project management courses will help you to feel truly feel and remain part of the winning team!

  • Create the usual office culture by using virtual coffee break video calls where colleagues can talk about their daily lives and interests. Sharing pictures of pets is always a good ice breaker, as is talking about a popular TV show or a funny item of news.
  • Then continue further by turning the personal vibe into a professional one using communication platforms and conference calls where hard work can still be interjected with elements of shared downtime and office gossip.

By providing the professional and personal tools employees need in order to build good, mutual working relationships; anything goes – from a virtual boardroom meeting to a gaming session on company time – isolation can be both productive and fun!

2 thoughts on “Can you truly remain a team while working in separate places?

  1. Thanks for sharing, this information is really helpful. Especially in unusual times when so many people are working from home not through choice but because that has become company policy or law during the current pandemic.

    1. You’re right Richard that many people are being forced to work from home right now. For some it can work well and productivity can be high – even higher than when teams are working together in an office or other workplace.

      But it becomes harder to maintain a cohesive team over a longer period when people are physically not in the same location and this requires extra effort from leaders and managers to ensure their business is not missing out on new ideas and innovative solutions to their business problems.

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