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Setting up a book club for remote teams

Setting Up Book Club For Remote Teams Search Remotely

In the landscape of remote work, companies are constantly seeking innovative ways to engage their employees. In a Forbes article on creating a more inclusive work culture, CertiK HR Director Erin ImHof suggests a book club might be a great activity for bringing remote teams together. We couldn’t agree more! Book clubs not only contribute to building a sense of community and camaraderie but can also serve as a powerful tool for continuous learning and development. One added bonus is that they provide an indirect benefit of encouraging self-care.

Are you looking for other ideas for engaging your virtual team? Check these blogs out!

The general benefits of book clubbing

A study published in the Journal of Educational Evaluation for Health Professionals concluded that partaking in informal book club activities can have a “significant positive impact on self care, perspective taking, and empathy.” Some researchers discovered too, that book clubing can be effectively used as “tools to develop teamwork, professionalism, and social identity through the maintenance of a positive and respectful group dynamic” (Smith, PE. and Hughs, T, 2016).  If these positive features are not enough reasons for setting up a book club for your virtual team, consider this. The Guardian cited a BMJ Open study showing that meeting and engaging with others can extend one’s life.  But that’s not all.

Book clubbing has enormous career benefits for professionals

Harvard Business Review (HBR) recommends business leaders and those aspiring to become future titans of business industry should join a book club for these reasons:

  • develop the habit of reading with the anticipation of learning new things, trends in your line of work
  • gain a deeper understanding of the perspectives of others
  • build new friendships and reinforce longstanding relations
  • attain greater self confidence for adding to, engaging in and supporting your point of view when in discussions

What can you do to help develop your remote staff and virtual teams? Set up a virtual book club. Providing interest clubs for remote teams can be more challenging than it sounds. Before encouraging any team member to join, your book club must be properly set up with the right logistics and materials. To help you out, here’s a beginner guide for setting up a book club for remote small businesses and larger firms alike.

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Plan your material: curating must-reads for remote employees

The foundation of a successful remote team book club lies in selecting materials that resonate with the challenges and opportunities of remote work. In our previous article of 12 Must Read Books, two materials that stand out are Remote by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, and How to Work Remotely by our own writers. These books provide insights into reshaping the way individuals perceive and navigate the world of remote work. Remote delves into the practicalities of managing distributed teams, while How to Work Remotely offers a comprehensive guide for remote professionals. Encouraging team members to share their own suggestions can also diversify the reading list, ensuring a broad spectrum of perspectives and interests.

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Coordinate book acquisition: ensuring accessibility for all

To streamline the process, it’s crucial to coordinate how team members acquire the selected books. Options include having participants purchase their copies individually or renting from the local library. Otherwise, your organization can opt for a subscription service that provides access to the same titles for everyone. See how Everand has several ebooks and audiobooks, from Mastering Communication at Work by Dr. Ethan F. Becker and Jon Wortmann to the 2023 Pulitzer Winner, Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver.

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This centralized resource can simplify the logistics of acquiring books, ensuring that all team members have convenient and equal access to the reading materials. It also allows a more immersive team experience where members can easily follow the recommendations of their teammates following each session.

Create a schedule: utilizing calendar apps for seamless planning

Establishing an effective schedule is paramount for a thriving remote team book club. The establishment of a regular schedule for book discussions not only maintains momentum but also ensures sustained engagement throughout the book club’s duration without sacrificing daily work performance. Streamlining this process is simplified through the use of calendar apps, such as Startup Rise which provides a scheduling engine to automates optimal meeting time selection. This innovation reduces the need for extensive communication, enabling team members to participate at their convenience. Embracing these scheduling tools enhances the overall efficiency and cohesiveness of the remote team’s book club experience.

Establish a platform: opting for video conferencing over chat

Choosing an appropriate platform for book club meetings is crucial. While chat platforms offer convenience, video conferencing platforms provide a more immersive experience. Zoom’s user-friendly interface facilitates face-to-face interactions with screen-sharing features that enhance team connections. Video conferencing platforms enable the use of visual cues and body language, fostering a deeper understanding among remote team members. This personal touch is invaluable in overcoming the challenges of virtual communication. However, it’s essential to consider Zoom fatigue, a phenomenon resulting from excessive virtual meetings. Striking a balance between personal connection and mitigating fatigue is key, so don’t be afraid to mix up sessions and opt for a chatting log when your members seem to need more time to themselves and their books.

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As the remote work landscape continues to evolve, embracing innovative activities like book clubs becomes increasingly essential for building a thriving and connected virtual community. For more on remote work, distributed work, and digital nomadism, check out our award-winning boutique recruitment firm Search Remotely.

Written by Veronica Snee for

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