As you know, remote teams are on the rise and many companies are moving towards implementing flexible working models. With all the fancy telecommunication tools and applications readily available, organizations are now in a better position to have employees on a remote working schedule.
This initiative benefits both companies and employees as workers are in the field globally with stellar expertise. Employees get to exercise freedom and flexibility, creating a balance between work and personal lifestyles.
However, employees who work from home sometimes feel disconnected from the rest of the organization. This is where managers are responsible to integrate a remote team workflow into the positive work culture of the company and build positive remote team culture because people often miss out on building bonds and connections with co-workers who are not around physically.
It may be challenging for them to feel like they are truly a part of the team as they sit miles away on an office ergonomic chair. Though it can be difficult, managers must find ways to facilitate building remote team culture or integrating remote teams into culture and maintaining a supportive organizational culture too.
What Is Company Culture and Why Is It So Important?
Company culture can be described as the shared values, characteristics, attributes, and practices of an organization. It speaks to the behaviors and attitudes of the employee and the company, the way employees feel about the work that they do, where they think the company is going, the values they believe in, and what they can do to move the company forward. All these traits come together to represent the culture and personality of the organization.
It does not stop there, as company culture encompasses various other components such as company vision and mission, work environment, leadership styles, goals, ethics, and expectations. Hence, it is important to integrate remote teams into culture.
Organizations that have a strong company culture experience lower turnover, better stock returns, better employee engagement, more productivity, and profitability. Even in a hybrid workforce, diluting company culture while remote working should not be a thing associated with your organization.
Five Tips on How to Build Remote Team Culture
Integrating remote teams into culture helps to maintain company culture with clear communication so there is never a disconnect. It also helps remote employees understand the organization’s ambitions, as well as increasing their empathy and engagement. Here are some tips to make remote teams a part of the culture package:
Communication can be one of the challenges to building remote team culture. Since everyone is working from various locations, it is quite easy for things to slip through the cracks and people forget to reach out. Establishing communication norms such as chat practices, proper email etiquette, and reasonable response time frames can ensure clarity and make the process easier.
You can create a company newsletter where you share goals, achievements, and future events in various departments to bring the company together and keep everyone informed. Sending a survey to get employees' feedback is another option. Employees get an opportunity to share what they think, dislike, and like about the current culture and ways to improve or tweak it.
Address Hardware and Software Needs
Providing the right technology and equipment by making an office furniture bulk order for things, such as an adjustable standing desk can make employees feel valued or an office ergonomic chair. It is in your best interest to equip employees well with the tools they need. It helps to integrate remote teams into culture.
Appropriate hardware, software, project management, and real-time chat applications are necessary too in making communication a breeze for integrating remote teams into culture.
Mandate Face-to-Face Virtual Meetings
Hearing and seeing colleagues, if even through a screen, can be quite satisfying and engaging as it allows you to pick up slight cues and gestures that can help in identifying problems and connecting better. This establishes a sense of trust to integrate remote teams into culture. Hosting weekly one-on-ones with individual employees via video conferencing to check-in or celebrate victories and wins can build a stronger connection.
Managers can give meetings themes, such as, “presentation skills 101” to learn from and engage fellow employees.
Establish Relationships, Avoid Isolation, and Stay Connected
Remote teams have no way to have a chat with employees by the water cooler or in the break room, which can make it challenging to form and maintain any camaraderie.
As a manager, you can implement fun interaction methods, such as Microsoft Teams and Slack so employees can establish common ground in areas, such as fitness and movies. They can even learn more about each other.
Having virtual social after-work hours can bring back those old feelings you had in the office to build a remote team culture and even fill the void. It can be happy hour, games night, movie night, cooking class, virtual team building activities or even karaoke just to get the team going, having fun, and staying connected.
Engaging in lunchtime or breakfast activities (depending on the time zones) such as yoga, Pilates, and meditation can be fun and help promote healthy habits.
Share Company Values and Establish Community Traditions
Company values are a huge part of the culture and also remote team culture. They are the pillars that guide and govern organizational operations. You can share values by incorporating them from placing them on the company’s website and making them known during the hiring process.
Encourage a virtual system of peer-to-peer recognition to integrate remote teams into culture. This where employees can nominate co-workers they feel have displayed company values and show appreciation to them. Maintaining anything that felt excluded in a virtual environment such as birthday and holiday celebrations can show appreciation and the effort put in to keep the team engaged.
Develop Company-wide Initiatives
By coordinating initiatives or even specific department retreats, training seminars, workshops, and offsites, you can help promote company culture to avoid diluting company culture while remote working. Host these events throughout the year to bring people from various locations and departments together virtually and help keep company values alive.
You may also Implement company-wide contests by beginning weekly virtual background matches, competitions, trivia, jeopardy, and work from home bingo with fun prizes to be won. It contributes to integrating remote teams into culture.
Host an all-hands-on-deck meeting where you update the entire company on important milestones, events, and happenings and have chat rooms for questions and comments.
Plan and coordinate events where you can bring employees together in person once or twice a year. Here, employees can focus on virtual team bonding, building connections, and reuniting with one another without the pressure of the job hovering over them.
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