Fostering a great work culture can be a challenge to any business, and there isn’t a quick path to building one. With co-located teams, it’s expected that a work culture will be built naturally through activities, collaborations, and shared experiences. But with a remote team, there’s no time spent together to give a sense of belonging and purpose.
Since remote teams are physically distanced, building a culture is more challenging, but the need is even greater. However, work culture is much more than just group activities. It’s about a feeling of connection co-workers experience and it’s about how the team works together as a cohesive unit.
Fostering a connection between a company and its employees takes time, and when employees don’t share an office, creating a culture requires even more proactive efforts.
In this blog post, we share some ways of creating a work culture with your remote team.
Create An Open Environment
In order to create a company culture, you need to cultivate an open and judgment-free environment. Give everyone a voice and make sure people are comfortable sharing their opinions and ideas. Remember: different people have different ideas and ways of working. Acknowledge the differences in ways people learn and have a conversation to assess needs and expectations. A more transparent workplace will encourage the whole team to contribute more.
“A culture of psychological safety enables employees to be engaged. They can take risks and experiment. They can express themselves without the fear of failure or retribution.” — Gallup
Tools For Collaboration and Recognition
Teams that work in the same office develop their own personality through inside jokes, shared experiences, and a collaborative environment. Try to find and use tools that will create something similar to your remote team. If you use Slack, for example, create specific channels to talk about personal stories and random things. Also, find creative ways to keep people engaged by using amazing team rewards. By setting simple ways of recognizing the work your team does, they will feel more valued, appreciated, and create a feeling of belonging.
“By rewarding team performance, their collective effort is acknowledged. It builds a stronger bond for the team and adds further incentive for them to continue to perform as a unit.” — Forbes
In-Person (Non-Work) Meetups
Getting the whole team together once in a while is really important — especially with a remote team. In-person moments allow you to learn more about each other, something that maybe wouldn’t happen during a normal workweek. Creating spaces for casual conversation and meeting face-to-face is important for relationship building and it helps foster a culture.
“85% of people believe face-to-face meetings contribute to stronger, more meaningful business relationships.” — SpeedNetworking.com
Create Rituals And Traditions
Adding traditions to your remote team will help ensure employees feel like they’re members of a community, and will keep them engaged. Get your team synced on a weekly basis to share professional and personal achievements.
“Families and close groups of friends tend to have certain activities, processes, or things that they repeat — traditions. Creating these traditions with your team members, regardless of how often it happens, helps keep the team cohesive and encourage open communication and trust.” — Toggl Blog
Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!
Communication is key! Make sure you have clear and open communication with your employees — especially when you are part of a remote team. It’s hard to build a remote culture if the team doesn’t communicate on an ongoing basis. By scheduling regular meetings to share updates you’re able to address challenges and make sure everyone is in the loop.
“When remote teams communicate well and leverage their strengths, they can actually gain an advantage over co-located teams.” — Harvard Business Review
Strong remote culture is possible, and it doesn’t require much. However, it’s a constant effort and you need to actively work on defining one. The unique challenges of creating a culture in a remote team might actually incentivize the creation of a stronger culture than those who operate face-to-face.