If you read our last article, you’ll know we are firm believers that a healthy culture can be built within any team or organisation, regardless of working arrangements. A remote-working team has to be more intentional about how they do this: we know because we are one! We use tried and tested methods to connect and grow, so here are some “real-life” tips for doing the same:
Meet up Virtually
There are tons of online tools and apps you can use – many of them free – to help you build the culture that you want. Have regular, scheduled meet-ups via platforms such as Skype, Google Hangouts or even Whatsapp. We would recommend scheduling this on a Monday to get your week off to a positive start. Also – don’t be a robot: allow 5 minutes for the team to chat about their real lives. Finding common ground in this way will oil the wheels of communication between team members when stuff gets more serious. After the initial catch up you can get down to business.
Make sure you welcome new employees
When new staff start in an office environment, they tend to get shown around and introduced to colleagues. This isn’t always possible in a remote team, especially not on their first day. It is therefore important that existing staff reach out to introduce themselves, even if it’s only by email. In addition to this we use a Microsoft app called Yammer which enables team members to connect online in a more social way.
If you’re working on a project together it isn’t always necessary to meet up in the flesh, but that doesn’t mean communication has to stall. We would recommend taking communication and the exchange of files off email and use a platform like Asana or Trello instead. That way you can make requests, upload files, add comments and move things forward – all while reducing email traffic and making project progress visible to other team members.
Create a team challenge
In our experience colleagues feel closer and more connected when they have a common goal (at the very least it’s a fun talking point!). Think of something you can all do together; maybe it’s a fitness challenge, learning a new skill, or raising funds for a charity. Whatever you decide, make sure you pick something that everyone wants to do so it’s not “enforced fun”.
Socialise in real life
Remote teams tend to miss out on the ad-hoc social life that comes with working from an office location. If possible, organise a social event – even if it only happens twice a year. Pick a convenient location and ask everyone to vote on what you do.
It is essential to reward employees, but it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture every time. A simple shout-out on a job well done is enough to encourage anyone. Again, we use Yammer for this as it gives everyone the opportunity to pass on their congratulations to their colleagues.
Remember that developing a healthy culture doesn’t just happen – whether you are in one office location or spread across the country. If we were to emphasise anything though, it’s that open communication is key, and making sure employees know they are valued is utterly priceless.
Check out our previous article for some Q&A on building culture with a remote team.
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Image Credits: Remote.co