4 Ways to Maintain Company Culture With a Remote Setup
Remote working is the most popular it’s ever been, and this is the case for both employers and employees. For organizations, it’s an opportunity to save money on office fees and create a workforce based around the world, while for employees, it’s a chance to have a more flexible working experience and say goodbye to those dreaded commutes. So, it’s a win-win all around!
However, when not working in such a person-focused environment, there’s one major thing missing. That’s company culture. One of the elements that make a successful modern business great is its culture.
When this is done well, it’s something that reflects on your firm and gives you a good reputation, so it’s an important thing to keep hold of. But with so many businesses going remote, how do people make sure it’s maintained?
With the right information, it’s easy to adapt to a positive home working culture. Here are four ways to go about it.
KEEP UP THE COMMUNICATIONS
In an office, it’s easy to call meetings or ask the person beside you a question. Even bumping into someone and having a catchup is straightforward. These simple forms of communication are things you don’t give a second thought to when working in a physical space.
But when employed remotely, communication doesn’t flow as naturally. People who work at home often end up feeling out of the loop. It isn’t hard for people to become lonely either. To have a successful remote team with a good company culture, it’s therefore important to keep up the communication. It’s better to have too much than not enough.
Fortunately, thanks to modern tech, there are plenty of ways to do this. The first thing you can do is set up online video collaboration efforts with individuals and remote teams. Doing this means that instead of sending sporadic and messy email threads back and forth, you can have instant communication and see how people are doing.
Setting up video calls also means people who work from home can contribute ideas and have a say in the brand. This will make them feel more welcome and like their opinions matter. The more they feel they belong, the more likely they are to stay with the firm and the more effort they’ll put into their work.
Another great way to communicate with remote teams is via a CMS. Using software like this enables you to set work for staff no matter where in the world they’re based. It also allows you to give details about this and lets people comment on tasks. For easy organization, lots of companies use Trello. However, for superior chat or video options, there are plenty of alternatives to Trello available.
Part of having a great culture is ensuring that people are staying happy. So, when you’re connecting with remote workers, make an effort to talk about more than work. Even something as small as saying “good morning” or asking how people are will make a big difference to their demeanor. Again, this will make them feel more welcome.
If you can, take the time to conduct a weekly meeting with them to check on their well-being at work. After all, a lot of people’s time is spent at their desks, so it’s good to make sure they’re doing well whilst there. Doing this will show you care and help create a great company culture.
Make sure you listen too. If they have a problem, it’s your responsibility as an employer to do what you can to help them with it, whether it’s work-related or not.
MAKE PEOPLE FEEL INCLUDED
You could be completely starting afresh with a remote workforce or creating a mix of old and new team members. Whatever team you’re building, it’s important to make everyone feel included.
Of course, with longer-standing members of a team, there will inevitably be inside jokes and banter. While it’s okay to bring up the odd memory, try not to make it a regular thing. Or at least try to explain the joke, just for the sake of good manners. Everyone has been on the outside of a private joke. No matter how much you politely smile, you don’t feel comfortable.
Ensuring remote workers feel included goes a little deeper than conversation. It’s about making people believe they genuinely belong to your team and aren’t ‘just some worker’. A good way to foster this is to invite them to work events, allowing them to get to know each other.
Why not have a company-wide quiz or games night? There are lots of online options to have fun and get to know each other. It doesn’t matter where in the world someone is based. However, keep in mind that while some people may love big team get-togethers, others will not. Part of making them feel included is to respect their wishes either way.
On the other hand, a person may say “no” to a get-together every time for the first 10 times, yet just need space to come out of their shell. Keep asking. While they may be shy at first, they might end up being the life and soul of the party if you give them a chance. So, without being pushy, keep on trying. A simple way to do this is to send a company email to all your staff with the details.
Social life aside, there are plenty of ways inside the job that you can make people feel included. For example, say regular working hours are 9-5, but you have a couple of members who have a flexible work schedule due to personal reasons. Instead of setting important meetings when they can’t join, plan things for when they can.
Of course, it’s hard to make big company changes for individuals. But remember, you may be missing out on some great input by ignoring certain members of the team. It helps to research the meeting collaboration software available. This will enable you to find a good time for all team members to take part, have their say, and feel involved.
Making people feel included is a wonderful way of building a creative company culture. This is because when people feel included, they relax. This encourages an open environment where people feel free to suggest ideas.
What’s more, it allows people to get creative without feeling judged or afraid to approach certain people, and having a creative culture means you’re more likely to get ahead of the competition thanks to these fresh concepts.
MAKE REMOTE WORKING THE PRIORITY
Instead of seeing remote workers as secondary, why not see them as your go-to team? You could have a whole host of freelance writers, or maybe the entire company works from home full-time. Whatever it is, shifting away from an office-based culture and toward a remote one will ensure your firm is moving forward.
From wanting flexible hours to having personal commitments, there are many reasons people want to work remotely. So, to make sure you’re putting your workers first, respect these reasons and try to work around them.
One of the challenges with managing remote workers is making sure everyone is happy. This is easier with a smaller workforce, but prioritizing remote workers doesn’t mean you have to go above and beyond for each individual. It just means you need to understand they have different needs and might have to make some adjustments for them.
To make sure they aren’t taking advantage of the situation, have a chat and see what will work for you both. For example, they may say they need Tuesday mornings off. You tell them that’s okay, but they have to make up their hours on a different day.
You also need to make sure your remote team has some job security. Part of having a strong company culture is knowing people feel safe in their work. Of course, things happen in life that can’t be predicted, but don’t let your home-based team feel that if something went wrong, they’d be the first to go purely because of their work circumstances.
A big part of helping teams feel like they’re being prioritized is keeping them in the loop with everything. Whether talking through instant chat or using video calls, talk to your remote team the same way you would your in-house team.
Use things like Trello, Slack, or Discord alternatives to check in with your workforce and keep them up to date with news, good or bad. If you can, make a promise to your remote team, pledging to treat them well. Discuss certain remote-focused points as part of your promise and acknowledge things get stressful for them too. Part of your pledge may be that you offer paid days off when things get too much, for example.
Prioritizing home workers means that rather than penalizing them for having certain needs, you’re helping them. It shows you want to make things work. This will create a great culture for everyone involved and proves you don’t just see your remote workers as a throw-away team.
MAKE THINGS FUN
In any work environment, great company culture is created by letting your hair down when appropriate. It’s outdated to think a firm needs to be full of rules or nobody will get anything done. More businesses are coming to realize that creating a laid-back atmosphere encourages people to work harder.
Just like you try to keep content engaging, you need to make the workplace engaging. One way to do this is to set fun daily tasks for everyone in the company to get involved with. Another is to send jokes to everyone on a morning. It doesn’t matter how cheesy they are – it’s about making people smile and creating an open and friendly environment.
There are plenty of other fun and shareable things you can do with your teams to keep the momentum up. You could even nominate a person each day to think of a different morning task or idea.
Doing things like daily challenges isn’t forcing the quiet people to shout out over each other, and it isn’t making the outgoing people feel like they’re missing out on social events, so it’s a great way to ensure everyone is enjoying themselves.
Another idea to make things fun and create a great culture is to have a weekly get-together with the whole team. You could do this at the start or end of the day on a Friday and spend half an hour talking to each other about anything but work.
If you have extra time on a Friday afternoon, why not do something different? What you decide will depend on the company you’re in and what people’s interests are. For example, if you’re an IT firm, you could set a gamification challenge and see what technical wizardry people can produce. Or, if you’re a creative company, set an online drawing challenge.
The main reason for creating a fun culture in the workplace is to take away the stress and help people produce better work. Creating a fun remote culture prevents people from getting overloaded and feeling burnt out, especially because there aren’t things like ping-pong tables or rooftop gardens for staff to go and take a break in/at.
So, creating a generally enjoyable atmosphere gives people an opportunity to take a breather. It means that when it comes to thinking of teleconference solutions or marketing campaigns, people feel ready for the work ahead.
Making things fun ensures people look forward to logging in and wonder what exciting challenges or games the day ahead holds. It creates a great company culture where people feel happy and like they’re part of something positive. It’s also a good way to help them get to know each other and means you’re embracing everyone’s personalities.
Creating a positive company culture will propel you into the future. You could increase communications, or make sure everyone feels included. It could be you choose to put remote workers first or make things a little more fun at work. Whatever you decide, you’re sure to keep your employees happy and create a great culture by taking these four simple steps.
John Allen from RingCentral US is the “Billion Dollar SEO,” known for effectively scaling enterprise SEO teams. With over 14 years of experience and an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs he currently directs all SEO activity for RingCentral, a global UCaaS, VoIP, and small business phone system provider, globally. He has written for websites such as Hubspot and Toolbox. Here is his LinkedIn.