Whether it is temporary or the way you work, conducting business remotely has become more prevalent with the influence of modern technology. Despite rarely—if ever—meeting in person, building a team culture is vital for creating a beneficial and healthy work environment. Positivity and communication are key but let’s break it down into 10 tips.
What Is Team Culture?
Team culture is a collection of shared ideas, beliefs, and values among a team of people. Remote work culture also influences the environment the team works in, and it is always good to create a positive team culture.
Building a team culture is critical because it influences the way the team works and behaves. It creates a healthy synergy and ultimately affects how the entire team and business operates.
Below are the top 10 tips for building a strong and healthy remote work culture.
1. Foster a Team Identity
One of the most basic principles of team culture is having an identity. Having a uniting cause or a similar goal across all employees fosters a sound identity and forms better synergy. Even though your team is not working together in person, they can still work together online—and it all starts with a basic identity.
The best way to create this identity is by effectively communicating missions and values and then consistently upholding them. Writing a team handbook is a great way of distributing these ideas, but you can also sprinkle these ideas in every team email or work announcement.
2. Establish Expectations
From day one, team leaders should communicate their expectations for the team. Not only does this build a strong work environment, but it also establishes the baseline of treatment for each worker. With sending out expectations, you explain the protocol and expectations for different situations and assure that there is not going to be special treatment. Everyone must meet the same expectations.
While working remotely, there should also be an establishment of expectations for communications. Since the team is not meeting in person regularly, online communication is imperative. Clearly laying out the procedure builds a unified custom among all team members. Plus, it is great for organization.
3. Promote Conversations Between Peers
Team leaders are not the only ones responsible for building a team culture. A large chunk of this comes from the team members. Peer-to-peer conversations promote strong bonds between the team, which creates a great work environment through trust and commitment.
Team leaders can create peer conversations by encouraging feedback, asking each other for support, having team members learn new skills together, or brainstorming new ideas together.
4. Talk About Productivity Enhancements
One of the similarities shared among the team—as remote workers—is working online at a desk. The entire team works similarly and talking about productivity enhancements can encourage better work performance and peer-to-peer conversations.
An ergonomic office has been known to enhance productivity for desk workers. Office desks and ergonomic office chairs all promote comfort and posture for more motivation and energy. Since many members of the team work similarly, talking about different office enhancements helps build a team culture.
5. Establish Safety and Trust
Many workers—not just remote workers—often feel that not speaking up is more beneficial than actually saying something. As a team leader, promoting a culture of safety encourages more employees to speak up about feedback and ways to improve the business. You can promote this security by acknowledging mistakes, even as a leader; encouraging feedback that may be negative, avoiding the blame-game for different situations; and actively asking team members about their comfort with sharing their ideas.
Creating an environment of safety also leads to an environment of trust. However, you can go beyond by communicating about higher-level decisions. It is also important to regularly remind team members that you trust them and their work. In turn, they can reflect that same ideology.
6. Have Non-Work Conversations
Having non-work conversations goes hand in hand with the idea of promoting peer conversations. Talking about things other than work can avoid burnout and help peers feel comfortable with their team members. You can use business-related social platforms—like Slack—to go off-topic and have non-work discussions.
7. Remind Workers of Your Appreciation to Have Them
Fostering a strong team culture also means showing appreciation for the team’s work. Not only does it build more trust, but it also creates an environment in which workers feel valued for their time and effort.
When working online, you can demonstrate appreciation through team-wide shoutouts, sending a gift card of appreciation, and sending gifts on birthdays and anniversaries—especially work anniversaries.
8. Mix Up the Methods of Communication
It is really easy to stick with the email method of communication and leave it there. However, mixing up the telecommunications allows you to connect with other team members on multiple levels—both personally and professionally. Having different methods of communication also avoids disrupting workflow. Therefore, when you want a non-work-related conversation, you do not have to use the same platform used for conducting work.
9. Ask for Feedback
As a team leader or a team member, asking for feedback is a great way of promoting a better work culture. Not only does it allow you to improve upon yourself, but it also shows your trust in other team members and their ability to critique you.
This is a great quality to have for team leaders because it shows your employees that you are not above them. Their sentiments toward the work culture are valid. It also makes you a more approachable leader and someone the team can trust.
10. Conduct Virtual Meetings
Though you work remotely, that does not mean improvements and conversations are not to be made. Conducting regular meetings provides a time and place for team members to address concerns and offer feedback. Plus, it fosters a place for employees to gather, discuss, and build relationships. Meetings also maintain team culture and allow team ideas to flourish.
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