Remote work is becoming a popular trend as technology advances. In choosing to work remotely, employees are able to do their job from anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet connection. This can be a great option for those who want to travel or work from home, and for businesses looking to save on office space.
However, creating and maintaining a pleasant remote work experience is not always easy. In this blog post, we will provide some tips for cultivating a positive remote working environment.
What Is Remote Work Culture, and Why Is It Important?
Remote work culture can be defined as the set of shared values, beliefs, and practices that shape how an organization’s employees work and collaborate remotely. It covers everything from how team members communicate to what resources they use to get their job done.
Creating a strong remote work culture is important for a number of reasons. First, it can help you attract and retain top talent. In today’s competitive job market, more employees are looking for companies that offer flexible working arrangements. According to a survey by CompareCamp, 76% of workers would be eager to stay with a company that offers such a schedule option.
Second, it can boost employee productivity, as it increases their happiness by as much as 20%, according to a recent study. When team members feel connected to their company and each other and have the resources they need to do their job well, they’re more likely to be productive.
Finally, it can indirectly affect customer satisfaction. Happy employees lead to happy customers, so it’s in your best interest to create a remote work environment that supports employee satisfaction.
11 Tips to Build Culture in a Remote Work Environment
We’ve seen, remote work can be a win-win-win situation for an organization, its employees, and its customers, but only if a good baseline of expectations is established. So now, let’s take a look at some of the ways this can be accomplished.
1. Define Your Company’s Core Values
Core values are the guiding principles that will shape how your team works together. When team members know what your company stands for, they’ll be better able to make decisions that align with what’s expected of them.
- Choose a few (2-5) values that are important to your company.
- Document what each value means in concrete terms.
- Share these values with your team and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Some examples of core values for remote work include open communication, prompt feedback, and mutual respect.
2. Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Onboarding
Just because employees are working remotely doesn’t mean you can skip the onboarding process. In fact, it’s even more important to have a well-defined system to help new employees feel comfortable and confident in their new role from the start.
When onboarding remote team members, be sure to include:
- An introduction to your company’s core values: Help new team members understand what your company stands for and how they can contribute.
- A tour of your remote work tools: Give new team members a tour of the tools you use.
- An overview of your expectations: Explain how you expect team members to communicate and work together.
3. Make Sure Everyone Is Familiar With Your Expectations
When employees are working remotely, it is important to establish clear expectations to ensure that work gets done and deadlines are met. One way to do this is to set up daily or weekly check-ins, either via video call or phone call. This will enable you to check in on progress, answer any questions, and provide feedback. Your team should also understand what tasks need to be completed and by when. This can be done by creating a detailed project plan with specific deadlines for each task. By setting clear expectations and establishing regular communication, you can manage your remote team more productively.
4. Encourage Social Interaction
Communication and collaboration are key to any successful team. Encouraging team members to communicate regularly and openly will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal. Remember that both work-related and informal communication matter in building a close rapport between team members, so don’t discourage nonwork chats and informal engagement.
Collaboration between team members is also essential, as it allows for different ideas and perspectives to be brought to the table. This will help you build a more cohesive and productive team.
5. Respect Each Other’s Time
If team members are working in different time zones, it’s important to respect each other’s schedules. This means not expecting everyone to be available at the same time, and being understanding if someone needs to take a call outside work hours. Another important factor is to not make your virtual meetings any longer than they need to be. Make sure each meeting addresses specific issues or updates the team on progress. This will help keep everyone on track and avoid unnecessary distractions.
6. Promote Work/Life Balance
In today's fast-paced world, it's more important than ever to promote a healthy work/life balance. By encouraging employees to take breaks, setting reasonable deadlines, and providing opportunities for flexible working arrangements, employers can help to prevent burnout and reduce stress levels. In turn, this can lead to improved job satisfaction, increased productivity, and reduced absenteeism.
Moreover, by promoting good work/life balance, employers can show their employees that they value their wellbeing. This can help to foster a positive culture across the virtual workplace and improve employee retention rates.
7. Make Feedback a Priority
A culture of regular feedback is essential for any remote team. When team members give and receive feedback regularly, they can identify problems and find ways to improve their work, so schedule regular check-ins with team members to provide feedback and guidance. In addition, you can encourage team members to give each other informal feedback.
It’s important, however, to remember the basic feedback rules: it should be timely, specific, about the behavior and not about the person. Feedback should also be given in a constructive way, with the aim of helping the person improve their performance. Remember the old adage: praise in public, criticize in private.
8. Celebrate Successes
When team members feel appreciated, they’ll be more motivated to do their best work. There are a few ways you can show appreciation for your team, such as:
- Recognizing individual achievements, whether it's in a team meeting or in a company-wide email.
- Hosting regular team bonding events like virtual game nights or happy hours. These events are a great way to show your team that you appreciate them.
- Giving rewards and bonuses to team members who go above and beyond. This will show them that their hard work is noticed and appreciated.
9. Provide training and learning resources
Investing in corporate training will pay off in the form of a more productive and efficient workforce. While it is true that some people can work effectively without any assistance, others may require some guidance to be productive. By providing employees with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed, you can create an environment in which everyone can contribute to the company’s success. In addition, by offering support and advice, you build relationships of trust with your employees, which can improve morale and loyalty.
There are two types of professional training – external and internal. External training encompasses local and international conferences, online courses, and meetups. You can also cultivate a culture of internal training, for which it helps to know how to record the screen on Mac or Windows to create program instructions and build a learning portal in which to store them.
10. Invest in Corporate Merchandise
basic – and/or fun – corporate merchandise, you can show your team that you appreciate their hard work. This can be anything from branded t-shirts to coffee mugs to pens to phone cases. It’s a small gesture that can go a long way in terms of building team morale and loyalty. Plus, it’s a great way to promote your brand and organization’s culture. But be sure your merchandise is actually usable – ie, that t-shirts are available in appropriate sizes an pens actually work.
11. Make Time for Team-Building Activities
In any workplace, it is important for employees to feel connected to each other. There are a number of team-building activities that can help to promote this sense of connection, even for a remote audience. These can be simple techniques like “2 truths and 1 lie” to more complicated online quests and quizzes. By participating in these activities, team members will be able to get to know each other better. They’ll also have a chance to work together and learn how to communicate effectively with one another.
While it may take some effort to establish a strong remote work culture, the benefits are definitely worth it. By encouraging communication and collaboration among team members, facilitating team-building activities, and promoting work/life balance, you can help your employees feel connected and supported, no matter where they are working. And with the right training and resources, they can be just as productive (if not more so) than if they were in the office. By following these tips, you can create a culture that will help your team succeed.