How To Create A Great Remote Culture
Updated: May 18
`A remote corporate culture can feel like your taking your work family and sending them to different corners of the globe. But when you think about no more fighting traffic, water cooler chats or awkward elevator rides your heart starts to warm up to the idea. Your work at home days are filled with endless video calls, instant messages and the occasional meet-up. It's a culture where location doesn't matter and collaboration thrives on virtual platforms, and diversity, and those are all good things..
Will your employees be working from home in their PJs? Not quite.. They are still representing your organization, and should show up in those virtual meetings like the pros that they are. But arguably, much of that really depends on your company's corporate culture. In tech especially, I saw hoodies and jeans as the standard across the company even before the pandemic.
Yes, it can look more relaxed and casual, but don't be fooled, a remote corporate culture requires hard work, trust, communication, and self-discipline to make it work effectively. Anything or everything will not fly, but don't worry, we have a couple of ideas on how to make your company's remote culture shine! With the right technology and mindset, it's possible for team members to thrive, and feel connected even if they're worlds apart.
Here are five quick ways to create a great remote work culture that'll have your team feeling more connected than ever. First, establish clear communication channels so everyone knows where and how to reach each other on, and offsite. Second, make video lunch breaks and or coffee chats part of the culture to mimic the office socialization vibe.
One suggestion is a weekly rotating 30 minute break scheduled where seven members of different teams connect to talk about 1-3
predesignated topics. The topics are mostly lighthearted, but can also focus on an area that the organization is needing more clarity or ideas in. The video chats curb the uneasiness of not knowing what to say, and helps break up silos, and stagnant thought processes within the organization.
Third, reward good work with virtual badges, and shoutouts on company-wide channels. Fourth, schedule regular check-ins with each team member to ensure they feel supported and heard. And don't forget about team building activities - think trivia games or virtual escape rooms - that keep the camaraderie going strong.
The previous suggestions are all great starters, but we do want to bring attention to a few areas that require a more concerted focus. It's impossible to sufficiently stress the critical importance of communication channels when you have remote workers. Maintaining consistent communication with your team about ongoing projects, deadlines, and expectations is a must.
But also knowing what is going on with the company is essential. Therefore, it is crucial to establish effective ways to communicate regularly, such as through video calls, emails, mass text or other messaging platforms, to ensure that everyone stays on the same page. Additionally, setting clear expectations for response times and availability can help mitigate misunderstandings and keep teamwork running smoothly.
When it comes to effective communication in the workplace, there are other important factors to consider beyond simply the channels being used. One key consideration is clarity of message, which involves ensuring that ideas and information are conveyed succinctly, accurately, and consistently across all platforms with an intended focus. Another important aspect is context, meaning understanding who the audience is and what their needs or expectations are so that the message can be tailored accordingly.
Nonverbal cues also play a crucial role in communication, such as body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions which we can all see in a video meeting. It's also vital to maintain an open-minded approach to receiving feedback and responding constructively to any misunderstandings or conflicts that may arise in order to build stronger professional relationships and ensure a productive work environment overall. Ultimately, effective communication requires a combination of these various elements to promote understanding, collaboration, and success within an organization which is key to a great remote work culture.
It's also essential for a remote worker to maintain a sense of accountability by tracking their progress and delivering quality work on time. Remote workers much like onsite employees want to feel that they are contributing to the company's success. Waiting for a quarterly review to gauge progress is a sure way to create a toxic remote culture. Managers should communicate with direct reports on a weekly basis, and document areas of strength as well as improvement focus areas.
Additionally, actionable steps that are time sensitive should be discussed, and agreed upon. This level of clear, concise and proactive communication will ensure everyone is on the same page, and facilitate positive outcomes with your employees.
Just a peek at TeamBlind postings showcase workers being blindsided by substandard reviews much to their surprise. This insidious practice is unprofessional, and does not foster a positive work environment.
Some remote workers welcome a regional sync a couple times a year or a big year-end onsite event. Think about providing those options as having a variety of choices is one of the things that makes remote work attractive. One of our clients streamed an executive's wedding on the company's intranet. The employees, and contractor's overseas felt included, and appreciated. It really brought the team together.
Another great idea to keep offsite workers in the loop is by appointing regional mentors. Sometimes just meeting someone for brunch from the same state or region can make a difference. Several companies facilitate affinity groups, but this goes a bit deeper than that.
A regional mentor is like a fairy godparent, but instead of granting wishes and turning pumpkins into carriages, they guide and inspire working professionals in their specific geographic region. Think of them as the Yoda to your Luke Skywalker (minus the space travel and Jedi powers). They're experienced, and want to help onboard the new employees, and serve as continual support.
When a company provides a Regional Mentor they can help new employees tap into the vast network of connections within the organization. They can help develop a worker's skills, build confidence, and uncover new opportunities internally. Whether it's navigating tricky company politics or simply providing a supportive sounding board during those tough starter years with the organization, a regional mentor can be essential to employee retention, and curbing imposter syndrome.
Other niceties like free food is great for onsite employees, but how about sharing the love with remote workers? Corporate discounts at restaurants and or other retailers can really make a remote worker feel special. Even a box of cookies or a coffee bundle is cool. Also, make it easy for offsite employees to provide suggestions confidentially.
There are several ways you can do this. Weekly online surveys, or a virtual suggestion box work well. It is vital that transparency is maintained throughout the process, which includes sharing the feedback data with relevant departments in the organisation to ensure corrective actions are taken where necessary.
Furthermore, encourage honest and constructive employee input by making it safe for employees to share. All employees should clearly understand how the feedback system works and how their participation contributes significantly to enhancing company culture and performance.
And of course, providing access to the right tools and technology is crucial for remote workers to be able to perform their jobs effectively. This includes everything from reliable internet connections to collaboration software, and project management tools among other items depending on the work.
It's also important for employers to prioritize work-life balance for their remote employees. This means being flexible with schedules, encouraging breaks throughout the day, and promoting healthy habits with vouchers, corporate discounts or reimbursement (HSA) on gym memberships or exercise equipment. When employees feel supported in all aspects of their lives, they are more likely to be productive and engaged in their work.
As shared, there are many ways to create a great remote work environment.
Technology is on your side, and so is the global workforce. In our next blog post, we'll explore how to capitalize on the benefits of remote work for your organization.
And remember a great remote culture starts with "We" before "Me"
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