Remote work has increased significantly in recent years as companies have found that it improves productivity and even lowers some of their operating costs. While there is an incredible number of benefits of creating a remote workforce, this endeavor also presents a few challenges. Here are just a few tips for building a strong remote team that can lean into its healthy culture to create a thriving company.
Create a Healthy Remote Company Culture
Company culture is one of the most important aspects of a thriving workforce, but it is also one of the least understood. Some may believe that a healthy culture requires little more than a nice break room and occasional outings. However, most businesses need more than this, and it has become abundantly evident for those who have worked from home for some time. Creating a healthy and positive culture requires you to address it in every teamwork aspect, including team meetings and company functions.
Make Company Values Clear
By defining fundamental company values, you will find it far easier to translate them into the company culture. Depending on your company’s needs, some possible options include integrity, diversity, teamwork, passion, constant improvement, and innovation. Make these values clear to new team members and all people currently working for your company.
Focus on Personal Communication With Remote Employees
Distributed workforces, particularly those located in various time zones, can make it hard for you to regularly connect with everyone. This is why a commitment to constant communication is so vital to the success of your remote company.
When you work in the same office building with your employees, you find it easy to have casual interactions with each person. However, it can be just as easy to forget about your distributed teams’ members when you are not bumping into them in the break room or at the copy machine. Take time to develop connections with each employee. Ask them how their work is going, or chat with them about their families or hobbies. This can help decrease employee stress and build strong, dedicated teams.
Hold Regular Team Meetings
In addition to the personal interactions you will need to foster, you must also create good team communication. One way to do this is to hold weekly meetings via video chats. If you have team members scattered across the country or around the globe, be sure to alternate when you hold these meetings not to favor any specific group of people. These meetings should include general work-related information, such as project updates, but should also be fun times when team members can share personal stories and laugh with one another.
Create Small Teams With Dedicated Team Members
Although you may think that building big teams will help your company get more work accomplished in shorter periods, the opposite is often true, especially for successful remote companies. Reports have shown that smaller companies generally have higher levels of engagement than their larger counterparts do. While there are many reasons for choosing smaller teams, some of the benefits you will gain include improved communication among team members, increased creativity and independent thinking, more innovation, and increased collaboration.
Make Time for In-Person Team-Building Events
While your team may be limited to remote work for everyday events, you should plan at least two or three times a year when single teams or all of your employees can get together in person. These can be intended team-building events, company parties, or even fun happy hours. If your team members do not live nearby, you may need to budget accordingly for regular travel. These in-person events are vital pieces to the healthy company culture puzzle.
Use Smart Day-to-Day Tools
Organizations with a remote workforce need a different set of tools than those in traditional brick and mortar offices. For example, you will need video meeting software, a virtual time clock, messaging software like Google Hangouts, team collaboration software like Slack, a project management platform like Asana, and cloud storage like Google Drive or Dropbox. No matter what tools you choose, make sure they are easy to use and don’t forget to allow time for training on these new platforms.
You should also consider providing each team member with a company computer and anti-virus software, dual-monitors to improve productivity, a high-quality webcam with a microphone. Other tech items to consider are a wireless Bluetooth headset for making calls through your CRM software, an IP phone with a WiFi dongle, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to power the computer, phone, and internet router in case of a power outage. It is also recommended that you reimburse remote team members for their internet bill.
Allow for Flexibility
One of the most significant benefits of remote work that most of your team members will comment on is the flexibility in work hours. Although there may be times when employees need to be online at specific times for team meetings, give them as much flexibility as possible. Let them choose their schedules whenever possible, and provide them with plenty of flexibility in scheduling vacation hours so that they can work around their personal needs.
Regularly Recognize Achievements
Remote work can eventually start feeling quite solitary. Team members may begin sensing that their work and achievements are not seen by their coworkers or even by you. By regularly recognizing and even rewarding achievements in weekly meetings, your employees will feel appreciated and more motivated than ever to work diligently even when no manager is looking over their shoulders.
Recruit the Right Remote Workers
As you continue to build your team, be sure that you recruit workers who have the qualities necessary to work well in a remote environment. The ideal candidate should be self-disciplined, organized, flexible, independent, confident, and a good communicator.
How to Build a Strong Remote Team and Improve Remote Team Culture
Remember that building remote teams and creating the ideal company culture takes time. Although you should not expect perfect results overnight, you should continually look for ways to improve your remote teams’ working conditions and productivity.
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