In today’s workplace, an astounding 97% of workers desire some form of remote work. More employees are finding ways to work from home, login anywhere, and get the job done on their own time. Still, more than half of employees find a good workplace culture to be more important than salary. So how do you balance both a remote-based company and strong culture?
We are so glad you asked.
The physical distance between co-workers and lack of face-to-face interactions presents some unique challenges. When improving your company culture, you must think outside the box. Still, many large companies operate successfully with an entirely remote workforce.
We’ve gathered the best advice to learn how the most successful companies keep their employees engaged and motivated through a strong culture in a virtual environment.
1. Establish Your Company Values
This is a critical first step. Every employee should know the values your company lives by. These values also serve as a baseline for how the company operates.
2. Promote Your Company Values
Once you’ve established your company values, promote them and make it easy for your team to embrace them. When it comes to promoting values, repetition is key. Take advantage of every opportunity you have to promote, implement, and speak about them.
3. Set Up Clear OnBoarding and Mentoring
Welcome a new hire and start their journey off right with clear onboarding and a mentoring program. Provide each new hire with a mentor (tenured employee) who can show them the ropes for their first few weeks.
4. Use the Best Tools for Remote Teams
Stop running your company on email. There are dozens of software options and apps that bring benefits to a remote team. Don’t make it complicated, choose wisely and use them consistently. The best tools can help your team stay on track, operate, communicate, collaborate, and more.
5. Keep Communication Clear
It can be difficult to read someone’s tone in an email or a text. Don’t delay resolving possible conflicts. If something is getting lost in translation, get on the phone or webcam and resolve the conflict before it brews into something bigger.
6. Provide Neat Branded Merchandise
Swag is no longer just something to bust out at company parties. It is an effective way to make people feel like part of the team. The key is to design merchandise that people actually want to keep. Choose high-quality items to help everyone feel included and valued.
7. Home Visits
If you have multiple employees and perhaps even a few clients in one general area, take the time to visit. Go see them, see where they work, and spend a day in their world to gain perspective and strengthen relationships.
8. Celebrate Together
Don’t let the little things slip. Continue to keep track of things like birthdays, workiversaries, and other milestones. This can be a great way to boost morale and promote connectedness.
9. Start with the Basics
Provide your employees with the basics. This may include laptops, extra monitors, webcams, or headsets. If you don’t have the budget to cover it all, try to offer some type of benefits or stipend to ensure your team has a comfortable work setup at home.
10. Company Retreats
Take the money you’re saving on your commercial building lease and offer a company retreat. Bring everyone together in person, and focus on team bonding and company values without the pressure of work.
11. Keep Expectations Clear
Ensure your employees have a clear understanding of expectations and work policies. Are they required to log in at a certain time or work a certain number of hours? What is your expected response time or remote working protocols? Adjust as necessary, but keep expectations clear so everyone is on the same page.
12. Create Routines
Great company cultures for remote-based companies have a routine. Find ways to connect with your team on a regular basis. Maybe this means weekly virtual get-togethers, regular check-ins, lunch over Zoom, etc. These weekly, monthly, or quarterly traditions allow everyone to touch base on a regular, scheduled basis.
13. Start company-wide contests
Have fun with your remote team with friendly competition. Begin weekly virtual background competitions, host trivia nights, or even start work from home bingo that includes fun prizes. This takes just a few minutes but can deepen the relationships as employees get to know each other.
14. Make Everyone Feel Part of the Team
Often in a remote setting, employees interact with only one or two other people and don’t ever get to know anyone else. Have some events or meetings with the entire team. Assign employees to collaborate on different projects. Provide an informal space for chats and encourage coworkers to connect.
15. Make Lunches Happen
Most remote workers won’t take the time to stop working for a lunch break. This quickly leads to burnout. Offer lunch break activities like yoga, meditation or Peloton classes. Send DoorDash lunch to your employees home and encourage them to enjoy an hour off and a good meal.
16. Ask for Feedback
Don’t just assume that no news is good news. Ask for feedback, see how they are functioning in their work environment. Each response will help you gain valuable insights on what changes to implement.
17. Support Mental Health
Remote work can often cause isolation and/or burnout. Pay attention to your people, and offer some benefits to support mental health like virtual therapy or an online meditation or yoga class as a group. Ask employees how they are doing and look for signs like missing deadlines, avoiding interaction and isolating themselves from team activities.
Improving company culture for a remote-based company takes as much effort if not more, than a traditional setup. Be intentional and your efforts will be well worth it.