Having a strong company culture, both onsite and remotely, with clear lines of communication, can help a team do much more than simply implement their projects. It can be the catalyst for higher-quality work, greater efficiency, and improved morale.
Remote teams with a positive culture will have a greater sense of accountability – a benefit that cannot be understated when considering working environments where supervision is more challenging.
Let’s break down a few ways to help build a better culture with a remote workforce:
Tip 1: Build Team Communications and Working Relationships
Even when geographically separated, teams can still develop excellent communication by extending their office cultures into the virtual environment. Several of the most popular remote team collaboration technologies available today – such as Zoom and Slack – have features built into their interfaces that are expressly designed to facilitate this process.
In order to maintain a positive culture it is important to remind everyone that they are still part of the same team as they were before the switch to remote work was made.
Tip 2: Support Team Collaboration
Employees become stronger and more cohesive when they can freely collaborate on a platform that is accessible by all of the team’s members. The feeling is akin to that of being on the same boat, all working on the same problem that, if solved, will benefit them all equally.
This connection motivates employees to collaborate in order to achieve their common objectives. Physical distance creates hurdles and gaps that must be bridged, and this is made easier by allowing them to interact.
Tip 3: Control Your Message Volume
Do you follow up on an assignment using an email, a text message, or a phone call? Do you have a habit of checking in with individuals to see if they received your last message?
In many cases, oversaturating these points of communication can be seen as an act of digital dominance, a relentless and unpleasant type of harassment that can hinder the team by placing distinct demands on the time of the receiver.
Be careful not to overwhelm the team with communications. Make an informed decision about your digital volume and review it regularly with everyone to prevent issues from arising.
Tip 4: Reduce Virtual Distance
Virtual distance is a feeling of psychological and emotional detachment. It develops gradually and unknowingly when our in-person experiences are replaced with digital experiences – and it can have a negative effect on team culture.
As a manager, you need to reduce this virtual distance. Try substituting more of your phone calls and emails with video chats. Seeing the people you’re talking to is much better for establishing rapport and creating empathy among team members.
Tip 5: Be a Proactive Facilitator
It is critical to be proactive when bringing your team together remotely. Encourage virtual guests to actively participate to keep everyone interested. You might even try keeping a running tally to ensure that everyone is contributing and that everyone’s viewpoint is heard.
Avoid asking the cliched question, “Does anyone have any further points to add?” Instead, make a specific appeal to individuals.
Finally, don’t allow people to ramble or veer off course. It’s your responsibility as the meeting facilitator to politely intervene when required so that it doesn’t turn into a “one-man show”.