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Building a Remote Team Culture

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While remote work has been around long before COVID-19, the pandemic prompted companies around the world to redesign organizational culture. Studies revealed that while work-from-home employees were still productive, they felt disengaged and alienated. As such, businesses had to revisit the practices they had in place to ensure a positive remote team culture.

As a company that manages virtual assistants around the world, we at Wing Assistant understand how challenging it is to build a great remote work culture. What’s more, we know that such a company environment is not created by accident. You have to be intentional about having clear expectations and transparency within your team.

So, if you’re thinking about where to start, we’ve got you covered. This guide will be your resource for building and maintaining a positive company culture.

What Is Remote Team Culture?

Remote team culture is not merely a translation of traditional office culture into the virtual format. Instead, it is a reimagining of values, practices, and communication methods to make them applicable to workers from different locations. Such a culture fosters a sense of shared purpose among team members, no matter how distributed they are.

A strong remote work culture is characterized by the following:

  • Effective Communication: Despite being geographically distributed, team members must be well-informed to make them feel a part of a strong-knit culture.
  • Mutual Support: Organizations must facilitate a collaborative environment where individuals feel genuinely supported and respected.
  • Shared Values: Encouraging the team to work towards common goals and along the same ethical standards can reinforce the foundation of a strong remote work culture.
  • Focus on Wellbeing and Productivity: A great remote company culture also focuses on improving not only the efficiency of each team member but also their overall well-being.

Why Care About Remote Team Culture?

There are several reasons why any company or business should cultivate a positive remote work culture. Here are some of the ways it can significantly impact a virtual work environment:

Boosted Productivity

According to Eagle Hill Consulting’s Workplace Culture Survey, 76% of workers believe that company culture influences their efficiency and productivity. So, when you develop and maintain a cohesive remote culture, you can motivate your employees to do their best and contribute to the overall growth of the company.

Enhanced Employee Satisfaction and Retention

With all the options available to them, highly skilled employees can be difficult to retain. On the other hand, when remote workers feel respected and valued, they are more likely to stay. Investing in such type of company culture will help reduce turnover, allowing you to build a more stable workforce.

Improved Collaboration and Innovation

When you invest in a positive remote team culture, you’re also welcoming diverse ideas. By creating an environment where everyone feels safe to speak their mind, you can enhance remote team communication and collaboration. Along the process, you’ll discover solutions that drive innovation for your company.

Remote Team Culture for Introverts and Independent Workers

Introverts can also feel isolated when working remotely. In fact, a study conducted during the height of social restrictions found that individuals with higher introversion are more sensitive to loneliness. As such, it’s also important for companies to recognize and accommodate the social needs of introverts and foster an inclusive remote team culture.

For example, some introverts and independent workers may prefer contributing their ideas at their own pace. So, instead of forcing them to participate in video meetings, use tools that allow you to implement asynchronous communication. For those who excel when they have autonomy over their schedules and tasks, set clear expectations and goals. Instead of micromanaging them, give them reasonable deadlines and support.

Fostering Team Collaboration

One of the ways to create a positive remote company culture is by fostering an environment that welcomes collaboration. Also, using the right strategies and tools can dissipate communication barriers in remote settings. Here are some ways you can create a highly productive and collaborative remote work culture:

Effective Communication Strategies

When you want to maintain consistent and clear contact between remote workers, you must use various communication platforms and tools. Some examples include Zoom for video meetings, Slack for instant messaging, and Google Workspace for document collaboration.

Of course, don’t forget to implement best practices like setting clear agendas before meetings and encouraging active participation from everyone. Moreover, you can track progress and ensure that action items are addressed by conducting structured follow-ups. This way, you can clearly communicate what you can expect from every team member.

Project Collaboration Techniques

Project management tools can help you foster accountability and transparency when you’re managing collaborative projects remotely. Studies show that proactive use of technology can result in high-performing teams in virtual settings. After all, team members can review project timelines, share documents, and update task status using tools like Microsoft Teams and Trello. What’s more, you can keep them aligned on project goals by implementing regular virtual check-ins.

Encouraging Social Interactions

While structured meetings and efficient workflows can improve remote team efficiency, they are not the only factors that create a positive organizational culture. You can also enrich the work environment by fostering casual interactions and genuine personal connections. Here are some ways to integrate this into your virtual workspace:

Virtual Watercooler Moments

Those casual watercooler conversations are also possible in remote teams. You can create thematic chat channels or schedule virtual coffee breaks to engage workers in laidback chit-chat. They can talk about hobbies and share personal interests, all the while strengthening their bond.

Building Personal Connections

One of the ways to build understanding and trust across a remote team is by allowing everyone to get to know their colleagues on a personal level. You can organize informal hangouts or “get-to-know-you” sessions where team members can deepen their connections and boost each other’s morale.

Recognizing and Celebrating Achievements

According to Quantum Workplace’s Employee Engagement Trends report, workers are more than twice as likely to become more engaged when they receive recognition. Of course, such an approach is also effective when you’re goal is to build a positive remote work culture. Here’s how you can effectively highlight and appreciate the contributions of remote workers:

Showcasing Achievements

When you want to create a culture of recognition in a remote team, you need to have a system in place that involves regularly monitoring and acknowledging individual successes. It can be as simple as giving quick shout-outs during virtual meetings. You can also send out personalized appreciation emails or even organize company-wide virtual award ceremonies. These are some of the ways you can make remote team members appreciated and valued.

Rewarding Hard Work

Aside from the virtual praise and shout-outs, actual incentives and rewards can motivate remote employees and encourage loyalty. So, create a system of rewards that allows your company to recognize both major and small achievements. For example, you can roll out performance-based bonuses or provide other financial incentives like an increase in base pay or stock options.

However, remember that rewards can also be non-financial. For instance, a McKinsey global survey found that aside from praise, attention, and commendation from managers, 62% of employees want opportunities for growth and leadership as rewards. These non-cash motivators play important roles in making workers feel that their companies value them. So, aside from getting them those all-expense paid vacations and gift cards, invest in your remote worker’s professional growth.

Team-Building Activities for Virtual Teams

According to Gallup research team team-building activities can boost employee performance and lower absenteeism rates by 41%. After all, who wouldn’t want to show up for work when they always feel connected with their colleagues? So, here are some activities that can enhance team dynamics without sacrificing productivity:

Engaging Icebreakers

If you’re organizing workshops or meetings, include engaging icebreakers in the agenda to encourage remote team members to open up and connect on a personal level. Some activities that can help people warm up include “Two Truths and a Lie,” “Rank Your Favorites,” and “Draw Your Mood.”

Interactive Workshops

Conducting virtual workshops that enhance skills and foster team collaboration is another great way to build team spirit. These sessions can focus on a variety of topics, from communication strategies to creative problem-solving. Also, make sure to keep these activities interactive to encourage everyone to participate and contribute.

Gamification for Teams

Introducing elements of gamification into team-building activities can greatly increase engagement and camaraderie among team members. For example, you can organize friendly competitions based on work-related achievements. These competitions can be designed around achieving specific project goals, surpassing productivity targets, or innovating solutions to common challenges.

By setting up leaderboards or offering badges for different achievements, teams can visually track progress and celebrate wins in a playful, interactive manner. Such activities not only boost morale but also drive individuals to excel in their roles, fostering a motivated and achievement-oriented culture within the team.

Creating a Remote Team Culture is Vital for Distributed Teams

Establishing a strong remote team culture is essential for the success of distributed teams. By fostering effective communication, recognizing achievements, and encouraging social interactions, organizations can build a positive and inclusive work environment that boosts productivity and employee satisfaction.

If you want to get tips on improving remote work productivity, check out our other blog posts and discover strategies in building efficient and supportive virtual workplaces.

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