Peter Drucker famously said, ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast.’ Developing your remote culture is crucial to overall productivity and employee satisfaction. Higher satisfaction increases productivity, meaning higher ROI, less unscheduled absences, and increased collaboration.
We are used to developing culture in the workplace. Not being able to see your team in front of you seriously impairs your ability to build culture in our accustomed to paradigm. While instant messaging and video conferencing are great ways to keep communication lines open, are they enough to keep culture from stagnating?
Luckily, remote work is not a novel concept, and there is already an entire field of research about how to curate your ideal workplace culture amongst a remote team. Since remote work has become the norm for most of the world, we have learned a lot about the endurance of company culture.
Building culture from a distance
To build a remote culture, it is essential that you consider the following:
- Establish company values – and ensure that all employees are aware of these values. You can distribute them in a document that includes your expectations and how you measure employee performance.
- Welcome new team members – to welcome remote team members, you can send an email to your whole team with some information and fun facts about your new colleague. Encourage new team members to arrange meetings with the rest of the team so they can get a sense of your company culture, as well as get to know their colleagues.
- Open communication – promote transparency by keeping your team communication channels open. You can arrange weekly meetings to see what your colleagues are working on and encourage them to stay connected via IM channels.
- Set communication expectations – make your colleagues aware of which communication channels you want them to use for various topics. For example, you may want to designate formal discussions for email and reserve Skype for informal discussions. Try to prevent employees from going silent; nothing kills productivity faster than an employee who refuses to participate online.
- Learn about everyone – without casual office interaction, it is difficult to get to know your colleagues naturally. Learn about your remote team members through fun activities like issuing an informal survey that asks about personal trivia.
Boost (virtual) social interaction
In remote teams, the opportunity for informal discussions is limited, which restricts how employees develop relationships with each other.
If your team feels lonely due to the lack of social interaction, they may be more likely to quit. To build social relationships with your remote team, develop a series of intriguing ice-breakers for your weekly meetings. You can even incorporate these into the onboarding process when hiring someone new.
It is ideal to schedule video chats several times a week, so that team members feel more connected to one another. Discussing matters not relating to work is as vital as productive work conversations. Having a channel dedicated to non-work discussions, where colleagues can engage in informal chats, helps your remote team build valuable connections with each other.
Get onboarding right
A thorough onboarding process is imperative for new colleagues to receive essential information, gain a sense of belonging, and build relationships with your team. These requirements are the same for remote team members. When it comes to virtual onboarding, there are a few things you must consider. Before a new colleague starts, you should readjust your expectations about their onboarding. You should be mindful of how the onboarding process changes with remote work. It may take longer for them to add value to your team, seeing as they have no face-to-face, on-the-job learning opportunities.
If the impacts of COVID-19 continue for an extended period, onboarding risks are likely to occur. New staff members may not get to know their colleagues or feel disconnected from HR. You must create a balance between welcoming new colleagues and providing adequate training. Even though these colleagues are working remotely, you still have to train and supervise them as much as you would if they were in the office.
Work out over video chat
Keeping your team connected in these unprecedented times is crucial. One way to create and maintain a remote working culture is to schedule weekly remote workouts over video chat.
Exercise is essential to maintaining focus, so schedule a video chat workout that your entire team can join, whether this is an intense cardio workout or just a relaxing yoga or meditation session. Not only does this create a bonding experience, but it also keeps your team healthy and mobile during the lockdown.
Get Tambla’s help through these times
At Tambla, we understand the significance of workplace culture. Learn more about how we are developing our new workplace culture and keeping our employees active with our virtual yoga sessions.
Through these tough times, many of our customers are claiming JobKeeper payments for their staff. Tambla can help you update your workforce management software solutions, to account for JobKeeper and ensure compliance with Federal government regulations.
As always, we are here to support you as a partner over the coming months and into the future. Please reach out to us if you have any questions, or require support.