A remote working environment can make building company culture more challenging. But with the right approach to team building and communication, you can still have a positive culture while social distancing and working from home. It just takes a little more creativity.
Define Your Culture
The first step is ensuring that the culture you’re looking to establish is clearly defined. This will inevitably look different from one organization to another, but it’s generally shaped by your company’s values, mission and goals. Keep your business’s mission statement and core values at the center of everything you do. As your workforce remains separated indefinitely, it’s especially important to remind employees that they’re all still working toward the same goal.
Then, send out a weekly email or newsletter that talks about your mission and how it’s visible in employee efforts, such as work projects and everyday interactions. Also, whether it’s through these correspondences or an all-hands meeting, take time to recognize employees weekly or monthly who embody the company’s core values.
Embrace New Communication Methods
When you’re no longer working from the same office, idea-sharing and brainstorming can feel a little stilted. To overcome this, move beyond emails and text messages to embrace chat spaces with more functionality.
Look for virtual hangouts that allow remote employees to easily chat live. If you’re going to set up several chat rooms, create a communications guide so everyone knows which conversations go in which groups. Legal and HR questions, for example, should still be sent via email, whereas brainstorming sessions or project assignments can be done in chat rooms.
Make Time for Face Time
Bear in mind, it can be tough to sense someone’s mood or meaning through written text alone, so schedule occasional video meetings to gauge how your employees are faring.
Face-to-face interactions can make a big difference when you’re building a positive culture at work, whether they’re conducted in-person or over videoconferencing. One-on-ones are especially crucial during remote work for ensuring professional growth and mentorship continues. Managers should aim to have these conversations with employees weekly to catch up on questions, deliver constructive feedback and provide encouragement.
Encourage Social Interactions
Assuming a business-only attitude is rarely good for workplace morale. Instead, make an effort to build camaraderie by hosting virtual social hangouts and encouraging collaboration.
Host lunches or happy hours on video chat and tell employees to leave their work at the door. Plan a diverse range of activities, from just-for-fun events such as videoconferenced trivia and game nights to good-for-you sessions such as livestreamed yoga classes and wellness courses.
Consider creating a hangout chat that’s specifically for sharing entertainment and discussing water cooler topics. This way, employees can mute the channel when they need to concentrate and check back when they have bandwidth. Promote these channels and reiterate that they’re there for everyone to connect, collaborate and, perhaps most importantly, use without fear of ramification.
Why Company Culture Matters During Remote Work
Building company culture while managing a remote team is all about creative solutions and intentional conversations. Lean on your employees for feedback, as they might also have ideas for ways to shape your culture. Provide surveys so they can share their thoughts anonymously with your HR team.
Managers will need to set the example for a positive workplace culture, but employees will quickly follow suit. Remember, your workforce is likely feeling extremely stressed right now, so regularly check in on them and offer support so they’re able to embody the culture and excel in their roles.
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