- Remote work inevitably changes the culture of a workplace. Organizations that adopt remote working models need to take steps to cultivate a strong remote work culture.
- Improving remote work culture includes adapting leadership styles (and one-on-one meetings), defining roles appropriately, and introducing the right tech.
- Perhaps the biggest potential impact of remote work on work culture is its effect on collegiality and workplace communication. Active steps need to be taken to replace the social element that can be missing in remote work (for example, virtual team-building events).
The pandemic has significantly changed the way we work and somewhat normalized the remote work culture. Today, companies all over the globe have started to introduce hybrid and remote working models into their organizations, with many choosing to go 100% remote. In fact, the amount of people working remotely each week has increased by a whopping 400% since 2010.
Therefore in order to keep up with this growing HR trend, HR and people managers need to rethink their traditional strategies to meet the needs of the modern-day virtual workforce. This means adapting their recruitment and onboarding processes, communication channels, learning and development approaches, and more.
In this article, we will share 10 key ways to build a thriving remote work culture.
Why is it important to build a ‘remote work culture’?
Building a remote work culture should be a top priority for all companies. By promoting a healthy and happy remote work culture you hold a strong reputation amongst potential candidates, which in turn helps to attract top talent, and ultimately has a positive effect on the business as a whole. Not only does a positive remote work culture help to retain employees, but it can also lead to a 33% higher revenue. Let’s explore the ways you can build a strong work culture for your remote employees.
10 Tips for Building a Remote Work Culture
1. Clearly define roles & responsibilities
It’s important to have clear expectations and guidelines in place for your remote team members. This includes setting clear goals and objectives, as well as clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of each team member. On the other hand, you must avoid any kind of micromanagement. By clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of each remote team member, you can set them up to work well independently, which helps to foster a great level of trust in your virtual team and most importantly, keeps your employees happy!
2. Encourage video calls
To build relationships between your remote employees and maintain a sense of connection amongst them, we recommend encouraging your team to engage in regular video calls. According to research by CoSo cloud, remote employees often fall into the habit of making email their primary method of communication, followed by instant messaging apps, and then video calling.
As their manager, you should encourage open communication between your employees by encouraging them to video call each other. Not only will this type of communication help to promote a positive remote work culture, but it also helps to reduce any feelings of isolation between team members. After all, as many as 19% of remote workers report loneliness as their biggest challenge when working from home.
It is worth noting however, that there is a time and place for calls — where a company has adopted an asynchronous working model it is important to minimize interruptions. This may mean limiting calls to certain times of the day/week.
3. Foster a sense of community
A remote team should still feel a strong sense of community. Encourage team members to share their personal interests, hobbies, and experience to help build relationships between teams. Fostering a sense of community gives remote workers the support and fellowship they’d expect from an in-office job.
By encouraging your employees to connect with their fellow remote colleagues you can make your employees feel more motivated and involved in the company, promoting their employee well-being, and happiness. This is where slack channels and other communication channels come in handy.
4. Provide the necessary tools and resources
Make sure that remote team members have the necessary tools and resources to complete their work effectively. This includes providing access to the necessary software and tech. You need to ensure that your remote workers are fully equipped to help their productivity levels and in order to make them feel valued. You can ensure that your employees have access to the necessary tools and resources during their remote onboarding process.
5. Encourage work-life balance
Having a good work-life balance plays an important role in encouraging your remote team members. This may include setting clear boundaries around when they need to be online, and for approximately how many hours. It’s also just as important to encourage them to take regular breaks and disconnect at the end of their working day.
Remember, you don’t want your employees to experience burnout. A 2019 remote work study by Buffer, found that 22% of remote employees report how signing at the end of their working day is their biggest challenge.
6. Offer training and development opportunities
Just like onsite teams, remote teams should have access to remote training and development programs to help with their professional growth. Nowadays, employees are looking for opportunities where they can learn new skills through on-the-job training and other learning and development programs. Within LinkedIn’s 2019 Workforce Learning Report 94% of employees said they are likely to stay longer at a company if that company prioritized and promoted learning and development programs.
Providing your remote team with access to on-the-job training programs helps to keep your employees up-to-date with the latest tech, trends, and ways of working. Which ultimately, helps your business.
7. Conduct regular one-to-ones
Encourage your managers and employees to take regular one-to-ones. These meetings offer a great opportunity for team members to share their opinions, ideas, and feedback with their managers. By conducting these meetings regularly, you help your remote employees to feel respected and heard. Try to conduct these virtual one-to-one meetings at least twice a month to promote a strong work culture.
These meetings don’t always need to be work focused, but they can also be in the style of a virtual coffee break, allowing your employee to discuss any personal and professional issues, or just used as a moment to catch up.
8. Reward your remote team
Although it may be slightly more difficult to reward your remote team members, it’s still important to acknowledge their hard work. You can do this through a special mention in an email or group chat channel or you may even decide to introduce an employee recognition platform such as kudos.
To reward your remote employees for their hard work and achievements, you may consider offering employee incentives like bonuses, flexible working hours, flexibility to work wherever you feel most productive, and other perks.
9. Organise remote team-building events
Team building is just as important for remote work teams as it is for in-office employees. Of course, it’s not always possible to bring your remote employees together, but if your company does have the resources, we recommend organizing face-to-face teambuilding events, even if it’s once a year.
Depending on where your employees are based, it may be more difficult to bring them together at the same time across time zones. But hopefully, with some organization, you can make it work.
Here are some virtual team-building ideas:
- Virtual happy hours — Zoom meetings where your employees can get to know each other without having a conversation about work
- Lunch and learns — Workshops where employees can collaborate
- Virtual games nights – Organising online games that your employees can play through zoom or other online video applications.
10. Gather feedback
Last but not least, if you’re wondering how to improve company culture, feedback is something that you should prioritize as a manager. Strong leaders make the most out of the feedback from their teams, taking each comment and suggestion on board. You can do this by encouraging regular group feedback sessions or by collecting feedback through regular remote work surveys.
Thankfully nowadays, we have access to lots of useful resources to help us build a strong remote team. We recommend implementing all of these top ten tips within your remote workforce and you’ll witness your remote work team blossom.
The lack of physical proximity essential to remote work impacts how employees relate to each other and management — workplace culture. While there are pros and cons, it is important for every organization to take steps to cultivate an excellent work culture remotely, including robust remote onboarding, mentorship and virtual team-building.
There is no magic bullet, but important steps include fostering a sense of community, virtual events and remote mentoring.