A decade ago, most companies would have disagreed with the idea of employees working remotely. In fact, most employers didn’t think employees could be productive when there’s no one to keep an eye on them. This is no longer the case. Modern technology and internet access have changed the global work environment and companies across the economy are now shifting to remote work. It’s becoming more popular and acceptable to run a company with remote teams across the world.
As the traditional work environment changes, new challenges arise. And one of the biggest challenges companies are facing with remote work is how to build a strong team culture that mirrors the in-office culture. After all, company culture is very important and integral to company success. If you want to build an amazing team, here’s what you need to know:
Why is Remote Work Culture Important?
Company culture refers to the expectations, practices, and values that make your organization what it is. It’s important for your company to have a work culture as it affects your performance and informs the actions of your employees.
That said, remote work culture is the collection of traits that enrich your employees’ well-being, transform them into advocates, and ensure the success of your business. You want to build an inclusive culture that ensures your remote workers feel valued, supported, and more comfortable.
A strong remote work culture will help strengthen team bonds, enhance collaborative communication, and build trust between employees and the management. This means improved performance for your company.
5 Tips to Build a Great Remote Work Culture
Communicate Your Mission and Values Clearly
Your remote work culture should be built around your company’s vision, mission, and values. These are the foundation of a great remote culture. It’s important that all your employees understand your vision and mission and uphold your company values.
Consider including all of them in your employee handbook so they can read and always refer back whenever they’re confused or unsure about how to perform specific tasks. Making sure your remote workers understand your company values and keeping your focus on your mission will ensure everyone moves in one direction.
Cultivate an Environment of Trust and Psychological Safety
The first thing you should do is to create an even playing field for everyone on your team. You want to make sure no one feels disconnected from the team. This is only possible when your remote employees have a sense of confidence that they’ll not be victimized, embarrassed, or punished for sharing their ideas and speaking up. Your remote work culture should provide a baseline of safety and trust.
According to Gallup, many employees don’t share their ideas and speak up because they fear that the management will penalize them. It, therefore, means that you can’t build a positive remote work culture without the goodwill of the leaders. Everything starts at the top.
The company leaders and management should show up with fallibility, grace, empathy, and humility. You should not only encourage participation from each team member but also allow for constructive feedback. Let everyone on your team know it’s okay to make mistakes.
Provide Remote Incentives
Providing your remote employees with incentives can help keep them motivated and productive. It’s not uncommon for remote workers to feel disconnected, lonely, and isolated. So, make sure you incorporate incentives into your remote culture. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Use digital rewards. Rewarding your employees doesn’t have to be complicated. You can reward your remote workers with digital gift cards to stores such as Amazon, just to let them know you value and appreciate their work.
- Give them access to a co-working space. Giving your remote workers access to co-working spaces is a great way to incentivize them. It will help them retain a sense of stability and routine even as they network with other remote workers. Let them find a coworking space that works for them and offer a budget for their membership.
- Provide weekly encouragement. Take time to look at what each employee is doing and give them shout-outs to recognize and encourage them.
- Provide continuing education. There’s no doubt each employee is skilled at what they do and adds great value to your team. However, you can help them grow their skills and acquire new ones by providing continuing coaching. This will actually pay off for your company.
Request for Feedback Regularly
Don’t worry about getting everything right from the onset. One of the most important aspects of a great remote culture is being able to continually improve your processes and operations. But to do so, you have to collect feedback from each remote employee about what’s working and what’s not.
As mentioned, you should be open to constructive feedback. So, don’t be afraid to gather criticism from your remote team. Ask for feedback often and take the time to listen and reflect on what your employees are saying. Then go ahead and make the necessary adjustments as needed. You want your team members to feel safe and heard.
Create Opportunities for Non-Work Meetups
The traditional office environment allows employees to quickly have casual conversations that don’t necessarily have to do with their work. You should encourage your remote employees to have similar conversations as well. You can use instant messaging tools such as basecamp campfire, WhatsApp, Slack, and Google hangouts chat for non-work meetups. Your remote work culture should encourage team bonding and allow your employees to connect and interact beyond the context of work.