How remote work changes team dynamics

by Kayla Crum on Jan 18, 2024

Woman overwhelmed at work

Remote and hybrid workforces have become the norm over the last several years. There are lots of benefits, like a wider hiring pool, lower attrition rates, and increased employee satisfaction.


But anyone who has worked from home knows that team culture just isn’t the same. Many companies are struggling to figure out how to build and sustain healthy team relationships in this remote landscape.


For leaders in particular, managing employees remotely is a challenge. Entrepreneur says it this way: “Compared to leading an in-person team, leading a remote team comes with a different, unique set of priorities and areas of focus. Even many experienced managers need help ensuring their employees have a positive, productive working environment.”


So how can you adapt to the reality that work-from-home culture is here to stay? Consider these facts:

1. Without intentional action, remote work breeds disconnection

While it may seem obvious, it’s important to acknowledge the truth that remote employees are less connected to one another. Although employee satisfaction and retention tends to increase with remote work, the links between employees and the quality of communication among a team drops.


According to Harvard Business Review, remote employees often feel the need to be “constantly available” to their managers over email or instant message while working from home. They are less likely to take a true lunch break or have a hard stop time at the end of the day.


Meanwhile, managers suspect that productivity actually decreases when their employees work remotely. This wariness cultivates a sense of distrust and weakens team bonds, which can translate to less innovation and less profit.

2. In-office team culture strategies don’t translate to a remote setting

If you used tried and true team bonding strategies in the office, you may be looking for a way to implement those same strategies remotely. But in-person culture building practices don’t necessarily work through a screen.


Online happy hours or trivia games may satisfy employees individually, but they rarely lead to more honest and innovative team relationships. When it comes to feedback, annual performance reviews may cause more anxiety for employees as they are less able to read a manager’s body language and demeanor through a screen. This in turn leads both parties to be less open and constructive.

3. The key to a healthy remote culture is ongoing 360 feedback

So what can you do to build and sustain a healthy team culture in a way that stimulates creativity and innovation?

According to Forbes, in a remote setting you need more frequent feedback rhythms, not less, to dispel some of the anxiety and make up for the lack of in-person communication signals. Consider implementing one of these ideas:


  • Create guidelines for communication patterns with input directly from team members
  • Host weekly all-team meetings in which milestones are celebrated
  • Schedule frequent one-on-ones to keep a pulse on the difficulties each team member is facing instead of saving it all for an annual review


It may be difficult to get your remote team to communicate openly and constructively at first. That’s where the Teamalytics 360™ Assessment can help. Our proprietary, scientifically-validated assessment tool is designed to invite self-reflection and combine it with peer and leader feedback for a truly 360 degree path to change.


At Teamalytics, we’ve worked on leadership growth and team dynamics for over thirty years. We guide teams through the crucial steps of awareness, accountability, and acceleration to effect lasting change in team cultures. Recently, we’ve implemented our validated assessment tools in remote workspaces with exciting results.


Download our free guide “Know What it Feels Like to Work with You” today to explore the benefits of our unique approach to leadership and team assessment.