Because of advancements in modern technology, it is now easier than ever for companies to operate with a remote team.
This massive shift in the global work environment has proven effective especially during the time of quarantine, where the remote setup helped companies survive drastic changes in their operation.
Cubicle farms are no longer required in today’s work environment. It is also not necessary to have every single employee in the same office. A lot of work can be done online, and so it is becoming more and more common to have some of the team working from their homes.
This online setup also allows team members from different parts of the world to collaborate, making recruitment much easier for companies that can now hire qualified talent from anywhere in the globe. In fact, companies can be very successful even without an office. Their entire workforce can work remotely and still produce results.
This type of work setup, however, comes with its own set of challenges: challenges that most companies are now learning to overcome. Here we will talk about how to build a healthy and positive company culture, even if you are working remotely.
The Value of Working Remotely
First we have to understand why companies are switching to this model. Remote working has valuable effects on employee satisfaction and productivity. It could also be good for maintaining your employees’ general wellbeing.
Studies have shown that at-home workers are happier, more productive, and less likely to quit compared to employees who came into the office.
Remote working, also known as telecommuting, improves employee engagement, productivity, and satisfaction, while reducing expenses and unscheduled absences. It also reduces the need for scheduled meetings—because it can all be done online. It can even improve collaboration between the whole team.
How to Build an Amazing Company Culture When You Have a Remote Team
The downside is that it is a bit harder to develop an effective company culture. The key to solving this problem is to make sure there is no lack of communication. Just because you’re not seeing each other in an office setting doesn’t mean you’re not going to try and cultivate a solid working relationship with the team.
For starters, you need to define your company values and try to keep everyone on the same page. You need to do this from day one. Either create or refine your company values so that it’s clear to everyone what direction your culture takes. Also make it clear what your goals are so that every member of the team can work towards it.
Defining your company values will boost your company culture. And once you’ve defined it, you should communicate it with the rest of the organization. Your company values should be inspirational and well-written. Keep reassessing your company values every now and then to make sure it is up to date.
Introduce New Employees to the Team
Hiring qualified talent is easier now because it can be done online. That is why it can be easy to forget something as simple as introducing new members to the rest of the team.
Welcome your new employees in front of the entire team. Just because you’re working remotely doesn’t mean it’s not important. It only takes a few minutes, and it helps new employees learn about your company culture. It also helps them adjust to the new environment more easily.
You can introduce them to the different departments, or encourage them to arrange one on one meetings with as many of the team as they feel comfortable with. Getting everyone acquainted on a personal level will help new members gain a better understanding of who is responsible for what. It also introduces them to the work dynamic that you’ve already built.
Encourage Open Communication
Communication will be your biggest challenge in this type of working environment. But luckily, the online setup gives you all the tools you need to stay in touch with each member remotely. You can use group chats, direct messages, email, video conferences, etc. The only thing you need to worry about is creating an environment of open communication and feedback.
Promoting transparency will let you get more work done, and it will help the team to stay organized even when there’s a lot of work to do. You want to build a company culture where everybody is participating—and not just the extroverts of your team.
You don’t want team members to just keep quiet or feel isolated. So as much as possible, avoid any red tape or formality associated with communication. Typically, more casual and laid-back team communication fosters direct and honest conversations.
Communication is very important, and your remote company culture will thrive—or fail—purely on communication.
Define Communication Channels and Set Expectations Accordingly
Because everyone is working remotely, it is easy to think that all your team members are readily available at any given time. But don’t ask people to work around the clock, as this will only make them suffer from burnout and may even breed contempt. Instead, set your team’s expectations on the communication channels that your company is going to use. You can discuss serious topics or send documentation via email, or you can have casual conversations and team huddles using Skype or Slack.
Even though team members aren’t always online, they can still receive notifications or catch up on discussions once they open their messaging app or browser.
Try to keep a consistent schedule if you want regular all-hands meetings. If time zones are a problem, you can always arrange two meetings to keep everyone updated. To foster a closer relationship, you can conduct meetings using video conferencing. Even when you are working remotely, body language and facial expressions play a very important role when it comes to communication.
Get to Know Everyone
Finally, take the time to learn about each and every one of your team members. Because you’re not spending time together in a physical workspace, you need to make the conscious effort to get to know your employees.
Get a sense of who they are as a person and what their personality traits are. This will help you communicate and work with them more effectively.
Even with an online work setup, developing a healthy work environment and positive company culture is still important because it will make everyone happier and more productive.