A significant advantage of remote teams is that members can be chosen based on their skills regardless of where they live. However, once you've assembled your best team, you don't want to lose them because they're feeling isolated and demotivated among their peers. Geographic distance does not have to be a barrier because there are numerous tools and technologies that promote communication and connection.
You must create a culture that brings your entire team together as you build your remote team. Employees should feel a sense of connection and teamwork as part of your organisation, whether they work behind a desk at your headquarters or in a home office across the world. Cultural differences in communication styles, work styles, and other factors can cause difficulty, but a strong organisational culture can help bridge gaps and create unity in your diverse team.
A lot is dependent on your remote workers and how they interact, communicate, and collaborate on their own. However there are a few techniques you can employ to assist your team in developing the best possible remote work culture, allowing them to express themselves and make remote work both enjoyable and productive. This article is a resource for anyone in charge of virtual teams who wants to create a workplace culture that is at least as strong as that of conventional teams. With these ten easy-to-implement, practical tips, you can keep your remote workers engaged, productive, and happy.
What is remote culture?
An official team culture can be documented, for example, on a website or through social media. This is a type of publicity or public relations related to the company's own team culture, i.e. the values that a company practically lives by towards the outside world. The unofficial team culture is a culture of values that are actually lived and emerging dynamics in the team. It reflects reality because you deal with questions like "What do we value in our team?" and "How do we treat each other?" on a regular basis. The remote team culture goes a step further because it addresses issues like different daily workflow requirements across time zones and results expectations when the team is not physically present.
The importance of a strong corporate culture
A positive corporate culture can improve employee well-being, engagement and loyalty. A positive work culture is supportive, empathetic and goal-oriented. While these general principles should apply across organisations, it is also important for organisations to develop a culture that is unique to them. A well-defined corporate culture can give employees a sense of purpose and help a business thrive. Culture is more than just a corporate characteristic. Culture surrounds us. It has an impact on how we dress, eat, and interact with others on a daily basis. It also has an impact on how we conduct business. National or regional cultures frequently clash with corporate cultures in a variety of ways.
Understanding your employees' cultural differences will also assist you in avoiding developing a corporate culture that is incompatible with some employees' national cultures. Instead, create a culture based on widely held beliefs and values. For example, if you are accustomed to a more competitive or even confrontational approach to business, you should consider changing your approach to encourage a more collaborative mentality in your team, as this mentality is prevalent across cultures.
Consider the specific qualities you want to see in your employees' day-to-day collaboration and how these values will manifest in your organisation. For example, how can you make your employees feel secure while also being stimulated by challenges and change? How will you encourage both adherence to specific values and practices and tolerance for differences? What values will you emphasise to ensure the success of your company and its employees?
Whatever conclusions you reach about the ideal company culture, you must express it explicitly. To help new hires quickly understand what it means to be an employee of your company, think about including clearly stated values and practices in your employee handbook. Try to strike a balance between being too general and too detailed. Communicate your cultural principles in a way that will enable staff to accurately predict how those core values should apply to various tasks and interactions.
It's a common misconception that teams who work together in the same office space develop a great culture naturally. At first glance, it might seem counterintuitive to intentionally shape something like a culture that appears to be organic. Whether co-located or not, amazing cultures are carefully planned and constructed. Managing a virtual team requires managers to consider how to bring together individuals who do not share an office, time zone, or cultural background. Perhaps "challenging" is putting it mildly.
How to Uphold Company Culture While Working Remotely?
1. Onboarding properly. First impressions matter more than ever when it comes to the virtual work environment, proving the adage that you never get a second chance to make a good one. Building a remote company culture starts long before a new team member logs in for the first time. In addition to preparing the necessary resources for employee onboarding, make certain that a new hire is introduced to colleagues and encourage your team to extend a warm welcome to the new colleague. If face-to-face onboarding is not possible, you should still use the opportunity to introduce your new hire to as many team members as you can. In some cases, an introduction at onboarding is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet members of other teams since this person won't be passing by their coworkers on a daily basis. Inform others about your processes, where to find essential information, interesting facts about team members, inside jokes, and more.
2. Highlight the Culture. The systems, practices, and behaviours that employees use to uphold your organisation's culture should also receive significant attention during the virtual onboarding process. Core values increasingly become the primary force guiding corporate culture, particularly in organisations where all or a sizable portion of the team works remotely. Great onboarding should cover all the customs that define your company's culture in addition to its core values. The little details that define your company culture, whether humorous or serious, modest or outstanding, should be discussed during onboarding.
3. Uphold Your Values. Starting with onboarding, you can create a team that truly represents the core values of your business. It never ends after that. Following the sharing of your core values during onboarding, the process of building a virtual workplace where those ideals actually guide employee behaviour is next. Having a strategic system in place to do this is crucial for all leaders, but especially for those in charge of a virtual team. Without a method for asserting the company's core values, they remain elusive ideas that employees (at best) interpret as ambiguous behavioural ideals or (at worst) can't seem to recall. You can turn core values into active (rather than passive) goals by reinforcing the values you want to define your company with. Employee recognition programs are a credible way for virtual team leaders to reward their most value-driven employees while also involving the entire team in celebrating what living by core values looks like in practice.
4. Endorse common objectives. A common goal is the best way to foster team spirit. Although this is a best practice for all effective leaders in the workplace, leaders overseeing a virtual team should be especially open with their team about the group's overarching objectives and the specific roles that each member plays. You should make your virtual teams' most crucial initiatives widely known, whether this occurs through quarterly meetings or is reinforced during weekly company updates. When you're sure that everyone is aware of these objectives, switch your attention to praising individuals for their individual contributions to achieving them.
5. Enhance your communication. Communication is one of the biggest challenges for remote cultures. Things are likely to slip through the cracks because everyone is working from different places. Simple solutions demand more time and attention. Establish communication standards, such as email protocol, chat best practices, and response times, to ensure clarity. Setting communication guidelines will stop people from receiving an overload of messages, minimise interruptions, and facilitate communication.
6. Create corporate initiatives. To help promote your culture, plan company-wide campaigns or even department-specific retreats, offsites, training seminars, etc. To maintain the spirit of your values throughout the year and to virtually connect people from various departments and locations, hold these events. Inform everyone in the organisation of significant occasions and achievements. Take some time away from the demands of work to concentrate on team building and company values.
7. Make employee well-being a non-negotiable requirement. Employee well-being is a critical component of forming a remote team. Unfortunately, long hours can cause remote workers to feel isolated and burned out. There are numerous ways to incorporate employee well-being into your employee experience. You can, for example, encourage employees to participate in employee wellness challenges, provide mental health insurance, or provide more time off for mental health days.
8. Express your appreciation. Because it can be difficult for your employees to determine whether they are performing well or not, you should try to go above and beyond to share recognition whenever possible online. Some people prefer verbal affirmation, but some team members probably value tangible gifts more. You can connect with more of your employees by using rewards in addition to recognition. When choosing rewards, take your time and make sure it matches the recipient.
9. Improve the flexibility and work-life balance. Paying attention to your employees' work-life balance in a remote workforce environment can strengthen your company's caring culture. For instance, offering virtual social activities, more accommodating leave policies to accommodate the new normal, and providing child care assistance for working parents will support employee work-life balance. By scheduling meetings and other interactions during core hours and respecting family time in the morning and evening, you can acknowledge the difficulties they face working remotely.
10. Face-to-Face Meetings. Take it offline at last. Since the beginning of time, humans have developed interpersonal relationships and cultures in-person. No matter how well you put the previously stated suggestions into practice, nothing can ever quite take the place of in-person interactions. Most new hires decide whether to leave or remain within three months of starting their jobs, and the chance to meet in person can make all the difference in swaying their decision in the former direction. Therefore, you should at the very least aim to meet virtual team members in person either at onboarding or within three months of them starting their jobs. Even though technology may be advanced enough to make your team entirely virtual, the appeal of real-world interpersonal connections continues to thrive.
It's challenging to maintain connections with remote workers. If you want to do more than the bare minimum, there are many factors to take into account. Hopefully, this article has given you a number of ideas and tactics to take into account as you work to give your employees the best remote experience possible. You can turn remote teams into an organisational powerhouse that thrives on company culture by putting these suggestions into practice. Virtual teams and a strong company culture are not incompatible, despite what might seem to be the case. The solutions we've outlined above show that it's well within the capabilities of a strong leader to facilitate both, despite the fact that many leaders still find it challenging to balance the demands of the modern workforce for both.