Cultivating team spirit while working remotely

Successful and motivated teams depend on a strong community spirit. With an increase in remote work, building a sense of shared community has never been more important.

Employee motivation requires constant attention during the best of times. Nearly a year into the fast and furious adoption of large-scale remote work, the stakes are higher than ever before.


In many cases the new work-from-home reality has had a clear positive impact. Employees everywhere have more time and flexibility to balance work responsibilities with family life and other leisure time activities.


With that said, the increase in remote work has not come without its drawbacks: notably, more employees suffering from feelings of detachment and loneliness. Isolation poses a threat not only to motivation levels, but also to overall mental health. This is where a strong community spirit can make a huge difference.



Boosting community spirit in the workplace

Creating a sense of belonging has many benefits: from boosting employee motivation, to improving internal communication and employer branding.


A strong community can also help reduce employment turnover rate – creating a clarity of purpose that helps employees to better focus their efforts.


There are clear business benefits when employees feel more motivated and engaged. According to a recent Harvard Business Review report:


“When people feel like they belong at work, they are more productive, motivated, engaged and 3.5 times more likely to contribute to their fullest potential.”

Three key benefits to building a strong workplace community

While it may seem obvious that more motivated employees produce better work, too many workplaces still place a higher priority on keeping employees “in line” rather than cultivating a true sense of common purpose. Here are a few of the reasons why building community is a good investment for organizations of all sizes:



1. The stronger the community, the better the output

A community often evolves around a common goal. Sharing common goals and striving together towards them creates a fulfilling sense of belonging. The feeling of being a part of “something bigger” than one’s self has been shown to have a strong motivational force, especially when combined with a sense of shared ownership and empowerment.


This feeling of community spirit and sense of connection promotes engagement, which in turn leads to an increase in productivity.



2. Loneliness and isolation can seriously harm employee performance

In its 2020  Loneliness and the Workplace Report, Cigna sheds light on the “costs of loneliness”:


  • Missed working days: Lonely workers are twice as likely to miss a day at work when feeling sick.
  • Lower productivity: Lonely workers are less likely to report high productivity.
  • Lower quality of work: Lonely workers are less likely to be satisfied with their quality of work and rather prone to believe it is lower than it should be.
  • Higher risk of turnover: Lonely workers report thinking about quitting the job twice as often.


The Cigna study reports a direct correlation between loneliness levels and workplace relationships and shows that employees reporting a lack of good relationships with their coworkers are 10 points lonelier than those who report the opposite.



3. Checking in against checking out

A recent EY Belonging Barometer study sheds light on the importance of colleague interactions and regular check-ins:


39% of respondents say that when colleagues check in with them about how they are doing, both personally and professionally, they feel the greatest sense of belonging at work, ahead of receiving feedback (31%)


The third most important action boosting a sense of belonging at work, following regular check-ins and receiving feedback is public recognition (23%).

Building a sense of community to bring remote teams together

In the current challenging times, isolated employees have an even stronger need for a sense of community and belonging.


To keep employees motivated, it is the role of employers to create an environment which caters to the pursuit of these natural human needs.


Living up to this responsibility, we at PayU have launched several initiatives to promote a sense of community and belonging during remote work. And while real-life encounters with colleagues are impossible to replicate, this has only motivated us further to look into different ways of bringing our people together.



#InItTogether: The true PayUneers community spirit

The #InItTogether initiative promotes checking-in with our colleagues while enabling public recognition of the personal challenges and coping mechanisms PayUneers have adopted amidst the rollercoaster of the past year.


#InItTogether encouraged PayUneers to share their thoughts and experiences in 3 minute videos – to remind everyone in the company that no one is alone with their daily struggles, and that we are all #InItTogether.


Videos were shared on PayU’s internal social network using the Workplace by Facebook platform, where colleagues from around the world could watch and comment on each episode.


Here a sneak peak at some of the stories from our #InItTogether series:

Embracing the moment

There is no silver bullet solution to the challenges that employers and employees alike have faced during the disruption of the past 12 months.


We are doing our best to learn from each other and come up with our own innovative ideas, even when it feels like we are all making it up as we go along.


Click the links below to learn more about how we at PayU are navigating these extraordinary times, together: