How to establish a strong company culture with remote teams

How to establish a strong company culture with remote teams

Whether your company has always been fully remote or recently switched to a work from home setup due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s imperative to build a positive remote work culture. This will allow you to create a work environment that is conducive to optimum productivity and gives employees a sense of belonging even when they’re miles apart.

Here are some tips to help you establish a strong company culture with remote teams:

Encourage communication and feedback

One of the biggest barriers to an effective remote work setup is poor communication. The lack of face-to-face interaction and the fact that people often work on different schedules make staying on the same page with coworkers difficult. As a result, things often fall through the cracks, which may lead to disastrous consequences for your business.

Make communication easy for remote workers by arming them with the appropriate tools and channels. Messaging apps like Slack are best for real-time communication, while video conferencing solutions like Google Meet and Microsoft Teams can be used for both one-on-one and company-wide meetings. Additionally, consider setting up a company intranet or an enterprise social networking service like Yammer through which everyone can share important updates. This has the added benefit of breaking down information silos between departments, ultimately promoting openness and transparency across your organization.

Related reading: Leveling up remote work: How to boost remote team collaboration

It’s also essential to provide your employees with opportunities to give feedback. For instance, send out a survey every month to find out what your staff think about the current setup, and make necessary adjustments based on their answers. You should also make it a point to give constructive feedback and celebrate successes regularly. Doing so motivates employees and builds team spirit, which can have a positive impact on performance and productivity.

Foster camaraderie

Camaraderie is an essential yet often overlooked element of company culture. It gives employees a sense of belonging that promotes trust in and loyalty to one another, as well as pride in their job and their company.

Building camaraderie among distributed teams may be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. By leveraging the technologies your company uses, you can easily hold events that will strengthen employee relationships. Hold weekly teamwide catch-up or virtual water cooler sessions. Host a trivia or game night once a month over your company’s preferred video conferencing platform, or play online versions of board games. Start a book club or movie club. There are plenty of other fun activities you and your team can do to get to know one another outside of work and reduce feelings of isolation.

Promote accountability

Accountability calls for all members of an organization, regardless of their position or tenure, to proactively own their roles and duties. This entails everyone taking full responsibility for their actions, behaviors, and performance. They can be trusted to complete tasks on time and to the highest standards. When they make a mistake, they don’t point fingers — they just do whatever is necessary to rectify the problem.

Build team accountability in a few easy steps:

  1. Define roles and responsibilities. When people know exactly what is expected of them, they’re more likely to take ownership of their tasks.
  2. Set and communicate company goals. You can inspire your employees to commit to their roles and perform well if they understand what it is they’re working toward.
  3. Provide updates. Be transparent about the progress of tasks and projects, and take the time to share how everyone has contributed to your organization’s achievements.
  4. Offer incentives. Rewarding employees for meeting certain milestones can motivate them to commit to their goals and even encourage them to go beyond what is expected.
  5. Lead by example. Behave the way you expect your staff to behave. Hopefully, this will encourage them to do the same.

Give employees some leeway

Many remote work setups allow for flexible work schedules. Remote employees can start and end their workday when they please, as long as they meet deadlines and standards of quality. Having control over their work schedule gives your staff more time for personal tasks, such as taking care of their kids or going to the dentist.

But while it’s important to give remote employees some degree of flexibility, you should establish some ground rules to keep productivity up and maximize team collaboration. This includes setting and sticking to a schedule, as well as being accessible during those hours. If they have to attend to something else in the middle of their shift, they must inform their direct supervisor and/or their colleagues, and make up for the time as needed. Similarly, if they experience technical difficulties such as spotty Wi-Fi or a computer on the fritz, make sure they have a fallback plan in place (e.g., using their smartphone or tablet).

Prioritize employees’ health and wellness

COVID-19 wasn’t the only health crisis to strike in 2020. Burnout also became a major health concern for many remote workers worldwide. As early as May 2019, the World Health Organization had identified burnout as a serious health issue, and just how serious it was became more apparent in the ensuing months. The sudden rollout of work from home setups, coupled with the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, took a toll on the mental health of millions of workers, leaving them anxious and exhausted.

Telecommuting also poses dangers to employees’ physical health. For one, it’s so easy to slip into a sedentary lifestyle when working from home. Sitting in front of a computer for hours at a time, using equipment that is not ergonomically designed, can also lead to a number of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and chronic body pain.

With large-scale remote working here to stay for the foreseeable future, you need to put in place strategies to help your teams stay healthy and comfortable while working from home. This can include enrolling your staff in employee assistance programs to give them access to free counseling and other wellness support services. You could also offer your remote employees subsidized health insurance plans.

Providing them with a list of mental health resources is also helpful, as is something as simple as encouraging them to take frequent breaks, do easy exercises, and eat more fruits and vegetables. And to ensure that they do take steps to get and stay healthy, offer incentives like gift cards or an extra vacation day for completing health challenges such as taking 10,000 steps a day or quitting smoking.

Building a thriving remote work culture is no small feat, but the experts at Quicktech are here to help. As Vancouver’s premier managed IT services provider, we’ll help you deploy the technology solutions you and your teams need to stay connected, agile, efficient, and productive while working remotely. For more information about what we can do for you, get in touch with us or download our free eBook today.