Building a positive team culture can be hard.
And it takes work.
Every workplace has a culture. If the leaders of the organization don’t intentionally develop that culture, it will take shape on its own–and it’s tough to repair an unhealthy culture.
However, cultivating a positive team culture isn’t complicated and it will even have numerous positive effects on your business. Research has shown that company culture influences the bottom line. Creating a positive culture isn’t just good for your employees, but your business, too.
Okay, But How Do I Create a Positive Work Culture Remotely?
First of all, let’s be clear that a positive work culture doesn’t mean ping pong tables, daily catered lunches, and the option to wear flip flops in the office (please, don’t).
Culture is built through stunning employees, intentional conversations, meaningful rituals, and opportunity. All of which are still possible when working with a remote team. These factors need more thought given to them when working with remote teams, though.
It’s best to consider these factors by incorporating them into the five pillars of creating a positive remote work culture. These pillars are:
Set Clear Communication Expectations
If there isn’t one already, create standard operating procedures for communication like what channel to use and when to give project updates.
Allow for “Water Cooler” Chat
Water cooler chat is that organic, impromptu bonding time between employees. Traditionally this happened around a water cooler, making it tricky to manufacture virtually.
At Hot Dog Marketing, we use Slack for our messaging communications. We have a #random channel where staff can ask random questions, insert interesting links, or, best of all, drop hilarious/cute emojis, GIFs, and memes. If you aren’t already doing this, you are seriously missing out on how funny your staff can be.
Virtual Face-to-Face Meetings
We all know that a lot is communicated through our tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions. Reducing all communication to email and chat removes those subtle cues and connections. Set up weekly or monthly one-to-one virtual meetings through Zoom or Skype to get some more human interaction. This will help your staff feel connected to you and the organization, instead of just feeling like a task monkey.
Create Shared Virtual Experiences
One of the trickiest parts of remote work culture is the community aspect. This is similar to communication, but instead of simply knowledge transfer, community means bonding through shared experiences. Building community can be as simple as a short weekly all-hands meeting where everyone has the opportunity to speak.
Remote companies have organized virtual events like virtual happy hour or digital game nights. At Hot Dog Marketing, we’ve also had virtual lunch-and-learns where everyone on staff is sent a GrubHub gift card to order food while someone presents live on screen.
Keep Office Traditions-But Virtually
Some office traditions are universal such as bringing in a cake for someone’s birthday. But how to do that virtually?
The main idea of even having this tradition is that the birthday person feels special. At Hot Dog Marketing, we’ve been sending a Tiff’s Treats box to the employee’s home for special occasions like these.
Whatever your in-office traditions are, search for digital versions that will keep the ritual going. Sure, this may sound a little cheesy, but people love cheese.
We say to clients all the time that their brand is more than the company’s logo. It’s the experience a customer has from their first impression, through the purchasing journey, and after they receive the product or service. Their experience must be consistent throughout the entire course.
The same can be said for your employees’ experience working for your company. Onboard new employees with the history of the company and provide a consistent narrative that influences how the organization does business today.
This is even more critical with a remote team because employees are only interacting with a screen. You don’t have the office building, awards on the wall, photos from the “early days,” etc. to build that sense of legacy.
Your Team Should Come to Work for the Work
Like I mentioned earlier in the article, ping pong tables don’t build work culture. Enticing employees through over-the-top office perks essentially turns them into shoppers just looking for the best deal.
Get your team excited about the company’s vision by communicating it clearly and often. Additionally, make sure that it’s a mission that other people can actually care about. Being number one in an industry might be great for the founders and C-suite, but what does that matter for the rest of the employees? How is the company’s vision making their lives and the lives of others better?
Some Things Don’t Change
Having good values that your company upholds can be done just as well remotely as in-office. And just the same, a company with clear, genuine values will attract the best talent. Values should be things you act out daily, not just some words hung on a conference room wall.
At Hot Dog Marketing, we recognize fellow employees who have exemplified one of our values during our weekly all-hands meeting.
Looking to get the most out of your remote team and your digital marketing? We’d love to work with you!
Tom Snyder is a business-minded writer creating compelling content that helps business owners understand the digital side of their business and engage with their audience. Constantly intrigued by learning new things, he is fascinated with tech, business, and sci-fi. In his spare time, you can find Tom building his own business (coffee roasting) or making music.