Remote work and remote work culture have taken the world by storm in the last three years, and it’s showing no sign of slowing down.
A workplace trend that started years ago, but increased dramatically during the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, the world has started to realize how efficient and employee-friendly remote, or hybrid, working can be. In fact, it’s an expectation for many.
Nowadays, most offices have at least some remote working days per week, whereas others have gone completely online, getting rid of the need to have a physical office.
While doing this certainly has some advantages - less money spent on office space and greater flexibility for both employees and managers are just two of them - it does also pose some challenges. One of these is company culture and remote work - which don’t always seem to go hand in hand.
However, while building a remote work culture can be difficult, it’s not impossible. In this article, we’ll look at some ways you can improve yours!
Work culture is a general term that refers to the rapport and relationships that somebody may have with their coworkers. It could include anything from water cooler chats to team building days and work drinks on a Friday night.
Work culture can be very beneficial for companies - having good rapport can help employees and employers understand one another better, plus it can integrate people into a company and break down silos.
While a lot of the aspects of traditional work culture involve being with somebody in person, there are plenty of things to try if you’d like to boost the culture of your remote team.
Interactive displays are an interactive whiteboard alternative - high-definition screens that can connect to remote and in-person devices. Owning an interactive display will encourage you to host video meetings when possible, which is an important part of virtual collaboration!
Using a remote display, you can see your employees in a crystal-clear picture in remote meetings, and they can easily annotate or comment on any documents, just as if they were there.
The devices don’t store any data - they merely act as a collaboration tool - so you and your employees can connect to it with ease.
Having such a high-quality method of communication can help you speak to your employees on a deeper level, meaning that you can get to know them a little better and build that all-important workplace culture.
Creating a virtual culture with remote teams can be tricky, but one of the best ways to do it is to plan some online social events.
These typically take place after working hours or on specific days that you’ve set aside for team building.
For example, you could arrange for everybody to have an after-work drink on Thursday or Friday. If you want to supply the drinks, you could send everybody a supermarket voucher or even deliver a drink directly to their door.
Alternatively, you could arrange an entire team-building day over a video call. This could include activities like a scavenger hunt, virtual Pictionary or even an online talent show.
Social events can help to build up workplace rapport, will enable your teammates to get to know each other a little better and ultimately can increase that essential remote work culture.
It can be easy to let discussions about mental health fall by the wayside when people aren’t there in person, but it’s potentially even more important to focus on mental health in remote teams. This is because, for all its appeals, many remote workers report loneliness, which could lead to depression and other mental health illnesses.
Chatting about mental health can be tough, but it can begin with a simple “how are you?” and take the conversation from there. It’s also helpful for employees to see their boss as somebody they can talk to, so make it known that you’re always open for a chat.
You can also focus on wellness as part of your remote work culture by encouraging staff members to practice mindfulness, encouraging exercise (you could offer a free gym membership) and implementing practices like a wellness hour once a week.
Just as remote work is different to real-life work, remote hiring can vary greatly too.
It takes a while for new remote employees to learn everything about a particular company, so allow some extra time for hiccups along the way. Plan a few one-on-one training sessions with screen sharing to ensure that they understand exactly how you operate as a company.
To help them engage in workplace culture as soon as possible, you might consider giving them a mentor; somebody who has worked for you for a long time and who will be able to guide and support them in the working environment.
When conducting interviews, it’s also a good idea to consider what experience certain employees have in the remote working field. If somebody has already worked for a remote company, they may be able to adapt to your business’ culture quickly.
While culture building for remote teams is more challenging than in in-person workplaces, it’s certainly possible.
The main things that make for a great remote work culture are video chats that can replicate face-to-face interactions, social events and openness about the workplace and particularly employee wellness.
The rise of remote working is showing no sign of slowing down, so if you foster these changes now, you’ll have a positive workforce to take you into 2023 and beyond.