How to Connect with Your Remote Team and Build Culture

Tools and tactics that will help you connect with your remote workforce and create a great company culture.
How to Connect with Your Remote Team and Build Culture
By
Shaheryar Sadiq

In the absence of workplace socialization, water-cooler chats, and foosball sessions in the break room, building team spirit and maintaining organizational culture is extremely challenging.

While telework might be saving you hundreds of dollars in bills, it cannot replace the familiarity one builds with in-person communication.

Developing a workplace culture for your remote team can help you connect with your teammates. Before we talk about building culture, let’s see what culture actually is:

What is Team Culture?

Most commonly, company culture is defined as the set of formal and informal rules, policies, procedures, values, and ethics that govern a team’s work. A team’s culture is reflected in everything they do, such as:

  • How the team communicates
  • The team’s hierarchy
  • How the team makes decisions
  • How the team disseminates information
  • How the team rewards or penalizes its members
  • How the team handles conflict and disagreement

Can You Build Culture in Remote Teams?

Experts agree that physical togetherness is not necessary to build a strong culture. In fact, the best cultures are developed through actions rather than geographical proximity. Cultivating a strong company culture is still possible even if the employees are scattered around the continent. It just requires an ideal amalgamation of mindfulness and intention towards creating a strong bond.

Experts agree that physical togetherness is not necessary to build a strong culture.

Let me share my experience in creating a healthy company culture with gratitude and appreciation. All my employees are now working remotely, and we enjoy a satisfactory work culture. Read below:

Creating Culture

To develop culture, it’s essential to define what your team’s culture is going to be. Therefore, it is imperative to set clear rules regarding communication, hierarchy, decision making, rewards, and conflict management.

Think about it like this; your family has its own culture; they have their own way of making decisions, celebrating, and dealing with sadness. All family members are aware of these rules, and all participate accordingly, which increases the cohesiveness of the family as a unit.

In the same way, your team members must also know the ways things are done in this team. One thing to remember here is that some rules are formal such as that the team will have a daily meeting at 09:30 am every day. However, some are unspoken, such as that team members are expected to respect each other and communicate amicably.

The best cultures are developed through actions rather than geographical proximity.

The team leader plays an instrumental role in creating culture; what she does, the other members follow. Therefore, the team lead should mention these rules clearly, and then emulate them through their behavior.

Staying Connected

You can neither build team spirit nor culture in isolation. Hence, it is essential to stay connected with your team members. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when doing so:

Communicate as Much as You Can
Body language delivers a lot of messages. When you are working from home, you will surely miss this benefit. To overcome it, try to communicate things in a simple way.

Always Go for Video Calling
Do not take any chance of miscommunication. Whenever you feel anything is wrong, go for a video call right away. Resolve things right away instead of waiting for long.

Show Empathy
Many of your co-workers are new to remote working. Help them as much as you can. In this way, the company can build a culture of coordination, trust, and bonding rather than shame and pressure.

How to Stay Connected?

Choose a Platform
From Microsoft Teams to Slack, many remote working platforms make it easy to connect with your team members. Pick a platform that best suits your connectivity needs. In my organization, we use Slack, it is straight-forward, and we can make multiple chat rooms for formal and informal conversation.

Appreciate Explicitly
Good companies have a culture of selected employees of the year, rewards for hard work and training new employees. It doesn’t matter if you’re not having your annual award ceremony; you can still appreciate the best-working employees via Slack, Hi5, Microsoft Teams, or any other tool.

Even if your company is not using any of these tools, a simple email to the entire workforce will show explicit appreciation.

Encourage Virtual Hangouts
Zoom and Google Meet are excellent for calling your remote team and having a virtual hang out. Remote workers are often working alone. At the office, the monotony of work is often broken by a light conversation with a colleague or a tea break.

Digital informal meetings help in letting your workers take a break from work and socialize with each other. Some companies are even arranging free online yoga classes as in-house office gyms are not open yet.

Tips:

  • Try Slack’s Donut for a new change in virtual hangouts. All your remote workers will love the way it pairs one employee with another randomly. These small groups can then have informal chats.
  • You can also try the team pairs by Zapier. This tool also pairs up two employees every weekly so that they can have some communication and build a strong bond.
  • You must have heard about Pinterest. This social media channel makes a group of employees having similar interests.

Involve Every Member in Decision Making

Remote workers already have a tough time. At this time, they need something to fuel up their spirits.

To build a strong bond, connection, and culture, it is imperative that every employee feels valued.

This can be done by letting every employee participate in the decision-making process. So what if all the employees are not working at the same place, they are working for the same cause and the same company. They should be given an equal opportunity to participate in every activity.

Higher authorities can send emails regarding the views of remote workers on a certain decision. Likewise, Zoom meetings are best to discuss new projects and issues. Skype video conferencing and even WhatsApp groups are best for letting the remote employees participate in the company’s decisions.

Example:

A coaxial cable manufacturing company wants to arrange a workshop for new employees. The firm can take the views even from remote workers regarding what the workshop should cover.

This practice will create a healthy work culture in which employees will be free to share their views. In contrary to the traditional method of taking reviews only from the higher authority, it will highlight the importance of every employee irrespective of their designation.

Final Thoughts

At this time, remote working is keeping businesses alive, and connecting with teammates is crucial to productivity. Though the comfort of home is providing matchless flexibility, it is essential to ensure that the employees don’t feel lonely, demotivated, and frustrated. Thus, cultivating a strong company culture is a dire need of every firm.

Remote working is keeping businesses alive, and connecting with teammates is crucial to productivity.

By establishing social connections, explicitly recognizing great work, and building good relationships, you can build a good company culture. Wherever there is a well-defined company culture, productivity is fostered, whether the team is physical or virtual.

What tools or tactics are you using to connect with your remote workforce? Share some tips with us!

Author Bio

Shaheryar Sadiq provides ghostwriting and copywriting services. His educational background in the technical field and business studies helps him in tackling topics ranging from career and business productivity to web development and digital marketing. He occasionally writes articles for Shireen Inc.

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