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How can I maintain a feeling of community among a team of remote workers?

The pros share tips on how to foster and maintain a feeling of community among a team of remote workers.

Take a cue from MTV Cribs.

Our team members at Museum Hack share short videos of their homes and where they work. Knowing a little more about where and how people work helps team members bond and also inspires new work habits. The first video was by our founder, Nick Gray, who showed his NYC apartment—and his obsession with efficient storage—as well as nearby Washington Square Park, where he takes walking phone meetings. —Michael Alexis, marketing director, Museum Hack

Share recipes and pet photos.

We have a Slack #random channel dedicated to sharing recipes. It’s a great feature for work-from-home team members who tend to cook more and want to eat well. We also have #random-pets, one of our more popular non-work channels. Team members post pictures of their dogs, cats, turtles and any animals they may be pet-sitting. These posts get a large number of emoji reactions and “Aw!” comments from colleagues. It’s a way for remote folks to connect over shared interests. —Alexis

Take personality tests.

We invite remote workers to use a free app like Crystal to take a personality test, and we see each other’s results. It lets you know how other team members like to communicate, and it lets you find like-minded people within the organization. It’s a fun way to connect. —Dave Nevogt, CEO, Hubstaff

Exchange unique gifts

Our remote workers each give something from their own culture. Someone from Colombia gave me Colombian coffee. I’m from Indianapolis, so I gave someone a picture of the Indy 500. With remote teams, little interactions like that go a long way toward building culture. —Nevogt

Don’t be Big Brother.

We don’t track our remote employees on an hourly basis to measure their productivity, which a lot of companies think they need to do. It just ends up creating resentment and frustration. Also, we give our remote workers the same privileges we give our team here in Atlanta. For instance, every two years, we provide up to $700 to each employee to get a new laptop. That can get you a decent laptop in the United States but a phenomenal laptop in Central or South America, where a lot of our remote workers live. —Krish Chopra, CEO, NPHub

Host a virtual karaoke session.

We gather everyone on a video call, and we take turns picking out a song and singing. We don’t care if you can’t sing, or if you don’t want to sing and just want to join the fun. It’s really cringe-worthy, but it’s a good way for us to let our guard down and create a no-judgment comfort zone. —Jinny Oh, founder, Wandr

Engage in some friendly competition.

We have a competition every month—like with baby photos, where team members change their Slack profile image to their cutest baby pics. The most recent one we did was a competition to see who could do the most burpees without stopping. I did 50, but the guy who won did 60. We gave the winner of that competition a gift card for Lululemon. —Oh

Try pod huddles.

We divide our 120 remote workers into what we call pods. A pod is a team of eight people—anything bigger and you lose the personal connection. The pods have weekly Zoom meetings that last about 45 minutes. But they also live within 10 to 15 miles of each other, and they have social interactions, or pod huddles. We pay for the cost of travel and the cost of the event for them to get together once a month at a venue like a coffee shop. They take pictures of the huddles and share them on our internal social media account. —Richard Walton, CEO, AVirtual

Illustrations by John Jay Cabuay