After the crisis with COVID-19, most companies moved their work online and began to use a fully remote model, and that changed a lot about the way people handle their daily tasks. A remote or distributed team can be a great way to get work done, but also a very different way of working than the office work.
You have a more diverse range of people to choose from, you’re not tied to one location, and you can generally get work done more efficiently (hopefully). But one of the most important — and often overlooked — aspects of a remote team is culture. Without a strong culture, your remote team will quickly fall apart.
This is essential for any organization with employees working remotely. A positive remote team culture can improve productivity, communication and overall employee satisfaction. Additionally, it can help to attract and retain top talent in the company.
So, how can you foster a strong remote team culture?
Define Your Company’s Values and Ensure Everyone Is on the Same Page
Your company’s values should be the foundation of your remote team’s company culture. Make sure everyone in your organization is aware of these values and is living them out on a daily basis. You can do this by sharing your company’s values in onboarding materials, hosting regular training sessions for employees or webinars on company values, and infusing company values into performance reviews.
Encourage Open and Frequent Communication
Open and frequent communication between remote workers is key to maintaining a strong remote team culture. You should encourage employees to communicate openly with one another about both work-related and other matters, as if it were in-person interactions.
Additionally, you should provide employees with multiple channels for team communication, such as email, instant messaging like Slack, Zoom, Hangouts, Teams etc, video conferencing, and more. Establish types of communication that your team should expect from the leadership team and each others. And finally, you should make yourself available to employees as much as possible, so they feel comfortable coming to you with questions or concerns.
Promote Transparency as Part of Your Culture
Transparency is another important aspect of a strong remote team culture. When everyone is in the same office, it’s easy to see what everyone else is working on. But, when people are working remotely, it can be harder to stay up-to-date on what everyone is doing. That’s why it’s important to promote transparency within your team.
Use project management software so that everyone can see what tasks need to be done and who is working on them. And hold regular check-ins so that everyone knows that progress is being made and where things are at. By promoting transparency, you’ll help everyone stay on the same page and work towards the same goals.
Schedule Regular “Check-In” Video Calls or Chats
Regular “check-in” calls or video calls are a great way to stay connected with remote employees and ensure that everyone is on the same page. These calls or chats should be scheduled on a regular basis (e.g., weekly or biweekly) and used as an opportunity for employees to share any updates or concerns they may have. Additionally, these calls or chats can be used to brainstorm new ideas or discuss any challenges the team may be facing.
Conduct Employee Pulse Surveys
An employee pulse survey is a quick, regular check-in with employees to gauge how they are feeling about their job and the company. Pulse surveys are different from traditional employee satisfaction surveys in that they are shorter, more focused, and happen more frequently. They can be used to identify specific areas of concern or to get a general sense of how employees are feeling. Either way, they are a valuable tool for gaining insights into your company remote culture and employee morale.
Plan Fun Virtual Events and Team-Building Activities
If your team is remote, it doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun! There are tons of great virtual events and activities that you can do together as a team, such as virtual happy hour, game nights, trivia contests, book clubs, charity fundraisers and more. Virtual events and activities are a great way to build relationships among employees and foster a strong remote team culture, and also keep their mental health on a higher level.
Reward Hard Work
Finally, don’t forget to reward hard work. Just because someone isn’t in the office doesn’t mean they aren’t working hard. So make sure you find ways to reward this, whether it’s with bonuses, paid time off or simply public recognition (email, Slack channels, Teams).
When you reward hard work, you show your employees that their efforts are appreciated and that they are valued members of the team. And that will go a long way toward building a great culture for your remote team.