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How To Promote A Positive Culture Remotely

From Working to Winning: Fostering a Positive Team Culture in a Remote Work Environment

The evolution of the global workforce continues in the wake of the pandemic. Prior to 2020, only 17% of US employees worked at home 5 or more days a week. Post-2020, this number jumped to 44%. Today, businesses across the globe have embraced remote work, or have adopted the hybrid model of combining remote and in-office operations.

While remote or hybrid work models have numerous advantages for employees and employers, there are still challenges. One of the biggest remains to cultivate a positive team culture. As employees aren’t in the office, it’s become harder to engage with them and to gauge whether there’s adequate job satisfaction. It’s also harder to build a cohesive team and encourage people to work toward an end goal that is better for the whole group.

In order to prevent employees from feeling isolated and to help you and your management team stay on top of employee sentiment, it’s important to ensure that you monitor and reaffirm your company culture on an ongoing basis, even in a remote environment.

These expert-led tips create a solid guideline for building and boosting team culture in the remote workplace.

Decide on the Company Culture You Want to Foster

First, you can’t foster a company culture if you don’t know what kind of environment you want to build. As the boss or manager, you are setting this tone in the way you communicate with employees and the way you face the work day. Of course, this is now harder for employees to see and mimic if they’re not in the office with you.

It’s best if you set out your expectations in writing and work out how to clearly communicate this to your employees. Everyone will now be on the same page. Employees can also offer feedback and let you know if those expectations are not being met for them.

Create Clear Paths for Communication Within Teams and Between Teams

No matter what size your business is, you’ll likely have people working on different projects or different areas of the business. These people may never need to communicate in their work but would get to know each other if they worked in the same office together. This is a key element that’s missing from the remote working world—internal office relationships.

It’s so important to build a means of communication into the workday to facilitate the feeling of working as a team or a group with a singular goal. For larger companies, it’s important to have levels of communication—within each team and then out into the greater company and the teams around them. If you’re just one team, then you still need to focus on building communication so that no individual feels cut off from the rest of the group.

A great way to do this is to have online meetups or to host fun and informative webinars that participants can engage with. You can’t get lunch break banter in the kitchen with a remote workforce, but you can have monthly sessions where everyone “hangs out” online. You could even host quizzes and separate the company into groups of people who don’t directly work together to create a feeling of camaraderie and collaboration. Online platforms like Teams and Zoom facilitate this type of interaction and make it easy for all parties to join in.

Build a Strong Onboarding Process

For many, the remote working setup came about in response to the pandemic, and the companies they worked for shifted to remote work models out of necessity. This meant that all those employees already had a connection to one another as they previously worked face-to-face.

Fast forward a few years, and there are now employees who are getting hired directly into a remote working environment. This is where the onboarding process is so important. 

In a remote workplace, there are none of the usual face-to-face introductions and there’s no induction process that takes place in person. Instead, every interaction is remote, and every introduction is virtual. This is where those expectations for a positive company culture that you documented will come in useful. You can talk your new employees through the details and explain exactly what is expected and what the company ethos stands for. 

Your online social gatherings or regular check-ins will also be vital for engaging with new employees and ensuring that they’ve connected well with their teammates. 

Have a Schedule for Checking in With Employees

Speaking of regular check-ins, this is vital for ensuring morale and motivation remain high within a company. As you don’t see your employees in person, you may miss cues that indicate unhappiness or body language that’s less than positive. In lieu of this, you need to actively set aside time to talk to them and discuss any concerns that arise or any issues they may have.

Remember, this isn’t about monitoring their work output or productivity. It’s about checking in on them on a personal level.

Creating a roster for check-ins that fits in with everyone’s schedule is a great way to do this. You’ll know that you have everyone covered on a regular basis so that no negative feelings will fester for too long if something is wrong. Your employees will also know that there is a time for them to raise concerns or questions.

It’s important to have these check-ins on an individual level as well as on a group level. You should have regular team meetings—small teams and the whole company, depending on how big your business is. These will cover work concerns and give everyone a chance to chat for a moment. Then, the individual meetings allow for more personal connections and conversations.

Remember That Collaboration and Communication Are Key

A company that communicates and works well as a team is a company that can thrive. Without the ability to collaborate and talk to each other, you’ll never be able to build a positive team culture that allows your company to grow and your remote employees to thrive. 

It’s vital that you, as the leader, have a strong foundation for communicating with your employees so that they can follow your example. When this happens, a positive team culture will become easy to establish and maintain.