Does Absence Really Make the Heart Grow Fonder? – How to Re-Build Team Connection

By Tannen Carrillo May 24, 2023

We have all heard the term “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”, but does it really?

According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace, 79% of remote workers have grown distant from their teams and disengaged from their jobs in 2022.

Although this is an alarming statistic, it is not surprising. With teams working at home or in hybrid work situations, it is a challenge to stay engaged when you don’t focus on creating interpersonal connections. Teams have struggled with isolation which has led to the following 3 challenges: 

  • The Challenge of Physical Separation: Remote work has brought the significant challenge of physical separation. Teams thrive on daily interactions and non-verbal cues, which have become scarce. The lack of proximity has left teams feeling disconnected and lacking the synergy of working closely together.
  • Communication Breakdowns: Effective communication has suffered due to the absence of in-person meetings and spontaneous conversations. Teams struggle to maintain a clear flow of communication, resulting in misinterpretations, delays, and detachment that erode cohesion.
  • Loss of Shared Experiences: Shared experiences, such as celebrations and team-building activities, create a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Unfortunately, remote work has limited these opportunities which has contributed to the disconnection.  

Remote and hybrid work environments are highly popular among employees and are likely here to stay, so here are 3 simple tips to increase connection within these environments:

  1. Regular Check-Ins: Frequent check-ins foster open communication and ensure team members feel heard and supported. Try a simple weekly call to ask how your team members are doing.
  2. Virtual Team-Building Activities: Organize online social events, games, virtual happy hours, or collaborative projects to recreate shared experiences and strengthen team bonds.
  3. Foster Informal Connections: Encourage non-work-related discussions and create space for informal connections through dedicated channels or virtual coffee breaks.

The changes of work schedules and impact on team disconnection is undeniable, but with solid strategies in place,  teams can overcome these challenges. By prioritizing team connectivity everyone can emerge stronger and more resilient in remote work environments.

We’re curious – Has absence caused any challenges with your team? What are you doing to stay connected? We would love to hear your ideas and/or some of the challenges you face. If you need help with activities to run for your next team meeting, event or get together contact us or visit our team experience page!