How to Build a Strong Culture in a Remote Team
Remote work introduced loads of perks and improvements into employees’ and employers’ lives, but it came with a unique set of challenges.
Feelings of isolation and low employee engagement are the most persistent issues remote companies needed to face. Dragging people back to the office turned out to be an unpopular measure with a barrage of complaints on social media translating to real-life resignations, and opting for employers who do offer remote work.
Below, we’ve come up with five ways to strengthen your company culture while maintaining a remote business with ease!
5 Ways to Build a Strong Culture in a Remote Team
Invest in your employees’ well-being and education
Switching to remote work saves the money that used to be put aside for office rent, utilities, and other expenses a traditional office demands. Now you can use these resources to invest in your employees!
Here you can get creative and show you care in plenty of ways:
- Create a quarterly education budget and let them pick a course, seminar, or another form of education they’d love to get access to. Skillshare, Udemy, and Coursera are great platforms to use, or they can pick something an industry leader in their area of expertise put out.
- A healthy mind occupies a healthy body: a free gym membership will help them feel their best and get in shape after hours spent working hunched over their desks.
- Enhance their home office with new and improved ergonomic chairs, tables, better electronics, or even treadmill desks that are all the rage on TikTok right now.
- Organise and sponsor excursions, events, trips, or time in nature to help team members relax and enjoy.
Schedule weekly team bonding sessions
Fridays are said to be the least productive workdays and get the worst reputation — but Monday blues are known to diminish motivation and make people feel sluggish and uninspired.
Scheduling a brief team bonding meeting for the first thing in the morning can be a great start to the work week. Ease into the day with a non-work related chat about the weekend, see what’s new in their lives, and all the regular water cooler banter you’d have if there were an actual water cooler around.
Team bonding can help with several issues that regularly appear in remote teams: they prevent feelings of isolation and dread, engage people and keep them involved, build a strong culture, and make workdays more fun.
You can use a video chat service such as Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams — or make a deal with coworkers to come to the office once a week.
You can take team bonding outside the virtual office and gather coworkers for a cup of coffee after work, or go and book venues for exciting team-building activities.
Make better use of time
If it could have been an email, it should have been an email. 👀
You can’t and shouldn’t avoid meetings, by all means, just make them worthwhile. Meetings will be more efficient if you:
- Announce the meeting agenda and timetable in advance; this way, your coworkers can tune in when they’re needed and omit the rest of the meeting, and know how to prepare and what to expect.
- Keep them as short as possible, keeping the average attention span and time of the day in mind.
- Encourage time-blocking so employees can engage in deep work; they should mark the times in their calendars, so managers know when not to invite them to meetings. You can also use Vacation Tracker and let the employees mark their absences, and prevent meeting invites for people who are out of the office.
- Consider another form of virtual meet-up: a quick Slack huddle can replace a formal meeting and serve as a quick fix during busy days.
Good time management contributes to a strong culture in the workplace. It is a strong indication that you respect their time and work tempo, and trust them with their workload. Micromanagement is curbed, or at least minimized, creating a more pleasant work atmosphere.
Arrange cross-team collaboration
A strong culture at the company means that each coworker, team, and branch work towards shared goals and hold similar values. That’s why you shouldn’t keep the teams in a vacuum and need to help them work together instead.
The product team, salespeople, marketing department, and developers may have distinct tasks on their plates, but one team’s insights can help resolve the issues other teams have.
If several customers complain about, let’s say, a clunky interface:
- Customer support will be the first to hear it;
- The product team will work out a solution;
- Developers will create what the product team came up with;
- Marketing team will introduce it to the audience;
- Sales professionals will close the deals.
For this reason, teams working in unison are more closely knit and efficient. To keep them close and invested, you can schedule shared brainstorming sessions, and bring them together at meetings. At the same time, encourage day-to-day chat and knowledge sharing across the whole organization.
Hold a toast to each success 🥂
Strong culture requires regular upkeep and nurturing — and generous praise is the easiest way to make people feel confident and like a part of something great.
Take some time to examine the employee evaluation stats, come up with some kind words and congratulate the employee (or the whole team) for keeping up with the KPIs or outdoing themselves.
Picking an employee of the week, month, or year is one way to motivate the employees and reward them for hard work (provided that this title brings a more tangible reward). Setting a positive example and showing that no good work goes unnoticed will create a healthy and productive atmosphere.
If you’re creating a presentation to recap the end of the year/ quarter, add a couple of slides to showcase your rockstar performers. Even better — kindly ask them to prepare a brief presentation themselves and show the others in their team what they did to achieve such great results.
Finally, you can use a company-wide email or a general Slack channel to share the message and let others chime in with congratulations themselves.
Strong culture at the workplace is a result of plenty of tactics and continuous effort but requires work that is in its nature quite simple.
Here’s what we suggest:
- Sponsor your employees’ health, education, and happiness;
- Take time to bond with coworkers, virtually and in person;
- Show that you respect their schedule and improve your time management skills;
- Create an environment where people across different teams share their insights with each other and seek solutions together;
- Don’t skimp on words of praise.
These measures put your employees first, and they will help you build and cultivate a strong culture in your company, no matter where the people work from.