People couldn’t believe me. They were going to pay me a bunch of money.

But money isn’t everything. Lockdowns around the world were psychologically draining. There was a time where meeting new people was way too complicated. That’s bad, especially if you’re single and just out of college. During 2020, the only new people you could (virtually) meet in practice were your co-workers.

I asked these people: “What team building activities do you run?”, and “how do people get to know each other?” Only to find myself with vague and discouraging answers.

It’s the year 2021. We’re out of a global pandemic and the flexible workforce is now bigger than ever. People in your team can work out of anywhere. It’s unbelievable that there are management teams not thinking about how to create a closer team culture.

But how the heck do you make your team feel that trust and kinship for each other again? How, if they can’t even see each other in person? “Maintain a healthy team culture”, they say. “Encourage team-building”, they say.

And why do you even want to do that?

With the pool of potential employers being global - thus an order of magnitude bigger - now, it’s easier than ever to switch jobs. Yes, it’s proven that providing remote work possibilities reduces employee turnover. But it’s also true that when searching for a new job you don’t need to deal with visas, taking a plane to get interviews, the logistics of moving cities, finding a new house, and the whole shebang anymore. As an employee that wants to switch jobs, all you have to do is click the “Sign” button.

It’s a sensitive topic. Feeling alone makes people quit.

The Best Companies Build Highly-Engaged Teams

It’s an old paradigm to think of work as something completely utilitarian. Here are conclusions of a few recent studies that support this claim:

  • Companies with low employee engagement scores see a 65% lower share price over time.
  • Companies with high employee engagement see 100% more job applications
  • Disengaged employees cost US companies up to $550 billion a year
Remote Companies as a Community

Offering remote work as a possibility isn’t a perk anymore. It’s something that’s expected. Not only in tech, but even in traditional industries such as banking, insurance and law.

The new perk is to be able to provide an awesome remote work culture with a close-knit community.

A good reason to go work for an amazing company is to make friends. To meet highly-compatible people with whom you build a life-long friendship with. Not all companies understand this. But those who do will build long-lived teams that produce outsized returns.

Do you have enough trust in your teammates to ask them if you could surf their couch in another city? Do you see yourself starting up a startup with a teammate in the future? Do you think your teammates will invite you to their wedding? If you’ve honestly answered no to one of these questions, your employer isn’t offering an internal community as a perk to you. It’s a litmus test to determine if your team has a cohesive culture or not.

In this new world, it’s normal to meet people online first, and then offline. Some of my best friends right now are people that I’ve only seen once or twice in person. But whom I share a lot of interests with.

Team cohesion is possible in remote, but it looks different. Having it will put your company ahead in terms of attractiveness as an employer.

Let’s evolve towards team cohesion 2.0. At Watermelon we will help you.

Watermelon is a Slack add-on that helps remote and distributed teams create a closer team culture. We reduce the activation energy for teams to build casual conversations around shared interests. Discovering these serendipitous connections is crucial to thrive in a remote environment. We just launched a new version of our open beta. Click here to install.