Building a company culture is important for almost any work environment. It sets the tone for the way that employees approach their responsibilities, and it determines the values of the company as a whole. Building the right organizational culture in any work setting can be difficult, but there are unique challenges that come with developing a culture for a team of remote workers.
Things like communication and employee feedback are a big part of setting the foundation for a functional remote team. However, there is more to consider if you want to develop a healthy culture among employees that work outside of the office. The following are the rest of the pieces of the puzzle to establishing efficient and positive culture among your remote team.
Respect the Needs of Your Remote Team
When you don’t work with your employees in the same office, it can be easy to forget that they have the same needs as the employees that you encounter on a daily basis. Your remote team has goals for growing with the company, they want to strike a balance between life and work, and they face the same personal struggles as every other person.
You have to respect the needs of these individuals. Try to build a culture that not only allows workers to have a healthy work/life balance but also encourages their professional growth. When employees have problems in their life away from the job, try to be understanding.
Encourage Interactions on the Human Level
With many remote teams, the interactions tend to focus solely on the work. Work-related communications are important, but it is also important to humanize the communications between members of the remote team, and between the remote team and leadership.
When you have your weekly check-ins with your remote workers, ask them about their lives. Find out what is going well, talk about their motivations and encourage them to have these types of interactions with each other. With an understanding that is on a more human level, remote workers will respect each other more, and it can work to build a stronger commitment to the mission of the team.
Transparency is one of the keys to building a positive culture for your remote team. Team members should share information, and people should be aware of the responsibilities of the people that they work with. When you get the remote team together for a meeting, have everyone provide a status report.
When each member of the team knows what their coworkers are up to, it creates a shared responsibility to keep things on track. When someone makes a suggestion or gives a report, all of the other team members will have an easier time understanding the implications.
A distinctive company culture is something that is going to emerge whether you play a role in its development or not. This is even true when you are talking about a remote team. If you want to ensure a work culture that is positive, effective, and in line with company values, then you need to take steps to provide direction and establish values that reflect the goals of the company.
Guest post by Rae Steinbach
Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.
Photo by Patrick Tomasso