How to Build and Maintain Strong Work Culture with a Remote Team
A recent McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey shows that 35% of job holders can embrace a full-time remote work organizational culture. In another two-year study, researchers established that remote work culture can increase employee productivity by 13.5% and that 50% of remote workers are unlikely to abandon their job positions.
From these statistics, you can tell that remote recruitment and collaboration are becoming popular for good reasons. First, job-seekers readily accept it, allowing organizations to fill job vacancies swiftly. Most importantly, it addresses traditional work culture bottlenecks, such as lower productivity and higher talent attrition rates.
But there is more about building a remote work culture and keeping it alive. Here is a quick guide on everything you need to know.
What Is Remote Company Culture
This is an emerging digital company culture with remote employees who use various communication and collaboration tools to stay connected, execute assignments, share experiences, and even exchange innovative ideas. Typically, the setting includes adopting a strong culture as an offshore virtual team, which gives colleagues a sense of belonging, even if they aren’t connected physically.
Strong Culture with Your Remote Team: What Pitfalls in the Development Process You Will Definitely Avoid?
If there is anything worse than your typical business challenges, it’s a company culture in remote work that is disorganized, poorly executed, and certainly boring. Such a model will only waste time and resources. So, how do you go about it? Here are some pitfalls to avoid when building remote workforce culture.
Choosing an Onboarding Activity that Requires Special Skills
Creating a culture in a remote team starts with the first activity. While various activities play to a typical team’s strength, they can as well as be agonizingly boring or induce anxiety on the first day. Moreover, an activity that is fun to you and requires special skills or talents might have the opposite effect on new employees.
That said, you would want to choose an activity that resonates and sits well with all team members. Besides going with an activity that needs minimal knowledge and skills, you can invite the new hires to participate in short surveys, and say what they want to do. Also, you can incorporate optional skills-based activities to enhance the onboarding experience.
Failure to Send Learning Resources and Materials in Advance
It’s common to be wrapped up in other hiring issues, such as logistics, if the team is going to embrace a partly remote company culture. However, as you are worrying about other core issues, you shouldn’t forget to ensure that all team members have the necessary resources and materials, which will encourage them to participate in your activities.
That said, you should send all the necessary resources in advance. Otherwise, the team will be mostly engaged on their phones or distracted with other activities at home while you are hosting the meetings. Even worse, some may choose not to attend altogether.
Failure to Test Remote Tools in Advance
Nearly all activities in a workplace culture that is remote happen on technological platforms, such as onboarding software. A single technical hitch might mean downtime, or even new hires attrition, especially when the problem is persistent and they can find alternative companies that offer user-friendly interfaces. Technical issues can also cause frustration from the host’s side.
One of the ways to build great team culture with remote teams is by testing your tools to ensure that they work as intended from the word go. You should also issue adequate reminders about any software tool that employees need to install or update. Most importantly, have a resident tech assistant to help new employees get started with your in-house systems and technologies, to enhance their experience.
Low New Hire Turnout
One of the ways how to maintain culture while working remotely is by enhancing employee turnout from the first day. In other words, all your meetings should have a higher if not full attendance to ensure that you move together as a team. Most importantly, the team should stay engaged and show enthusiasm during the meetings, if they are going to benefit from them.
Here are some proven tips on how to achieve this:
- Send meeting invitations earlier for team members to prepare and schedule time for attendance
- Communicate the importance of the meetings, and show employees how to subscribe to training platforms
- Choose activities that require verbal and physical participation instead of endless participation
- Encourage end-of-meeting socialization sessions
Meeting Space Boredom
Unlike normal team-building activities where new hires can change physical environments, switching training environments for virtual teams is difficult. Some companies make the mistake of conducting onboarding activities from the same virtual space, which seems more of an obligatory task instead of a fun break.
It will help if you break this boredom if you’re going to build an effective remote work culture. For instance, you should create an activity to encourage new employees to join and participate from different locations — it doesn’t have to include working from home. Even better, you can choose an activity that frees the instructor or team leader from a work desk, and allows them to participate while up on their feet.
Opportunities and Hidden Benefits of Strong Work Culture in Remote Development Process
Knowing how to build a strong culture with a remote team comes with various business benefits that transcend opportunities in traditional work settings. Here is how you can benefit once you work out the kinks and get started with your new, remote workplace culture.
A recent study by the Harvard Business Review shows that remote workers are up to 40% more productive than people working from a traditional office setting. This is true especially if team leaders grant their colleagues true flexibility and autonomy instead of micromanaging each activity. Even better, these can inculcate and promote new innovative ideas across the organization.
Punctuality or Timeliness
Maintaining company culture while remote removes various tardiness and factors that affect the amount of work spent at home. For instance, employees will hardly oversleep because they get enough time for themselves and their families. At the same time, there is nothing about waiting for endless hours in traffic or queuing at the coffee machine for breakfast — everyone in the team simply rolls out of bed and works together.
Culture building for remote teams is important as it can help improve turnover. The ideals of a typical remote team culture include self-management and leadership. These aspects help employees to develop positive feelings towards their employer, and the organization by extension. In the long haul, the workplace culture will inculcate a sense of loyalty and dedication, such that the team won’t be tempted to seek job opportunities elsewhere, which decreases the cost of training a new employee.
An incentive to Adopt Newer Technologies
Organizations that fully operate from a traditional office setting probably use outdated tools and technologies. Building a remote culture as early as now is great as it exposes your organization to the latest tools and innovations, such as business software and task management software. You’ll also understand how to use VPNs and other top-tier cybersecurity tools to enhance the overall security system in your company.
Improved Work-Life Balance
Design your successful remote team culture and help employees improve their work-life balance. Unlike a traditional workplace setting, this model allows remote workers to enjoy more free time with their loved ones. A work schedule from home means there will be no time wasted in commuting or going to bed unnecessarily earlier due to early morning commitments.
Steps to Build Great Team Culture with Remote Teams
Here are some steps on how to improve company culture remotely, especially if you’re going to build relationships with individual team members and retain them for the longest time possible.
Provide All Functional Requirements for the Meeting
A guide to establishing a successful remote culture includes providing all the necessary materials and infrastructure needed to fulfill various roles. In long-term projects, you might want to mail computer hardware or any other core office supplies in advance to get remote workers started as seamlessly as possible. You might also want to share any online tools and teach the employees how to use them.
Create Remote Work Policies, Guidelines, and Expectations
When you hire remote development team, the next step for creating a virtual culture is establishing the policies and guidelines that will drive the model. For instance, you should determine whether the team is going to work on a fixed schedule or flexible hours, or if there is going to be vacation time off. You should also outline your expectations, as far as productivity or product innovation is concerned, to ensure that everyone on the team starts on the same page.
Set Up Engaging and Easy-to-Use Communication Tools
The next step will be to discuss the laid-out policies, guidelines, and expectations. With that in mind, set up easy-to-use communication channels for document distribution. You would also help if you make a post regarding the same on all main employee touchpoints, such as the organization’s content management system, where everyone can access and reference the information. Such communication tools will also come in handy when conducting in-house surveys on how to improve the policies.
Come Up with a Remote Team Culture Motto
Do you have a workplace culture? The chances are that you do, but does it embody a typical remote work culture or the values that your employees believe in? If not, your next step should include creating a new motto. Make a less-obvious slogan than uniquely identifies with your brand. Typically, the motto should make your team feel like they are naturally part of the organization.
Prepare an Events Calendar and Mentorship Programs
The process of building culture in a remote environment should culminate in virtual team events, as well as in-person meetings if needed. That means creating a calendar with scheduled activities to help the remote team escape boredom, and sometimes the loneliness that comes with this work model. A few hours of team-building activities every quarter will definitely keep them rejuvenated throughout the year.
Top 5 Remote Working Tools to Setup and Engage Employees
Keeping culture alive while working remotely requires various tools and technologies that keep the job going and employees engaged. Here are the top 5 tools that should miss in your remote working cooperation model:
Slack is an online collaboration tool for casual or official instant messaging among remote teams. With this tool, your team can communicate instantly, even if they don’t know the email addresses or mobile phone numbers of their colleagues. It can help you save time wasted in drafting unnecessary emails or holding meetings that can seamlessly be transitioned into messaging communication.
Awardco is a remote management tool that can help you strengthen workplace culture through awards and in-house recognitions for good behaviors or a job well done. The tool will help your team feel a sense of belonging like in a traditional workplace setting, where hard work hardly goes unrecognized.
Another tool that will help you maintain company culture while remote is Bonusly, a platform that fosters fast and fun recognition. This tool comes with features that help you design recognition plans in advance so that everyone gets equal chances of putting their best at work and getting recognized.
Trello is a favorite tool for any remote startup that wants an effective, real-time project management system. Project managers can create progress cards and guide team members in a customizable, lean process that caters to everyone’s needs. Moreover, it features an intuitive design that’s easy to use.
An effective remote work culture wouldn’t be complete without an intuitive video conferencing tool, such as Zoom. The tool comes with both free and pro plans to meet all your webinar hosting needs. The free version includes 40-minute airtime, which is just enough to communicate project needs and progress.
Tips for Building a Strong Remote Team Culture from Newxel 10+ Years Experience
Newxel is a tech hiring company that builds dedicated teams to work remotely on software projects. Our ten-year experience in the industry comes in handy when it comes to building strong remote working cultures and retaining talents for long-term partnerships. Here are our expert tips on how to sustain your organization’s culture when everyone is remote.
Demonstrate to The Team the Positive Impact of Their Work
As a team leader, it’s your responsibility to remind employees of how important their input is to the organization. You can do this by giving regular feedback at different stages of product development. Even better, you can reward hard work to ensure that the most productive talents feel seen and appreciated.
Stress the Importance of Each Employee’s Contribution to Building a Strong Team Culture
One of the ways of building great team culture with remote teams is by stressing the value of each member, as far as the success of the whole team is concerned. You can do this by building close relationships with all team members to understand their pain points and resolve them. Most importantly, employ swift and amicable conflict resolution methods to resolve matters as they arise.
Schedule Regular Informal Meetings
Another tip for building a strong remote work culture includes holding regular informal meetings, which help foster transparency and effective communication across the board. Informal meetings will motivate employees to raise pertinent issues without the fear of discrimination or scolding. Moreover, such meetings foster collective issue resolution.
Increase The Adaptation Time for New Employees
Increasing the adaptation time for new employees comes with various benefits, such as making you a good listener and leader. It also helps increase the relevance of the project at hand, as well as expectations, making the team members hit the ground running when serious work begins.
Knowing how to build a remote culture is essential because this model is here to stay. Therefore, it’s a matter of how should you adapt and lead the charge in this modern way of recruiting, instead of why you should do it in the first place. Newxel is here to help you hire remote dedicated teams for all your software project needs.
Contact us today to get started.
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