What Is Remote Work Culture?
Building a strong remote work culture is a necessity for businesses today. In fact, it is top of mind for many organizations as they respond to business changes resulting from the global pandemic caused by COVID-19.
Though some may downplay the need to establish a robust remote team culture, experts believe that many businesses will choose to retain a significant part of their remote work structure in the coming years.
If your employees are working from home, for the long term or temporarily, you need to take steps to build a strong remote team culture that leads to happier, more engaged employees.
You can't magically make people happy. Leaders can set a direction and tone for how to collaborate and work with the team, but you can't force your team to respond in a similar fashion. Culture does that for you.
Why is remote work culture so important?
With remote teams increasingly becoming a 'new normal,' it's vital to step up and create the culture you want for your company.
Building an effective work culture can do more than just get the work done. Increasing employee morale, reduced absenteeism, and enhanced employee productivity are some of the many benefits a company can gain.
We understand that building a remote work culture can be challenging. But it's always better to create the culture you want rather than build one as you go along. That would be akin to throwing spaghetti on the walls and seeing what sticks.
Great company culture isn't created by accident. It's built intentionally. Transparency and clear expectations are the building blocks of any strong team environment.
Wondering where to start? At Wrike, we've curated our best resources and actionable tips to help you create and maintain a positive remote work culture, whether you are managing employees across one continent or many!
10 Tips to build a positive remote working culture
A major benefit of remote teams is the ability to hire the most talented people, regardless of location. Once you've assembled your A-team, the last thing you want is to lose them because they're isolated and disengaged from their colleagues
Distance doesn't have to be a barrier, especially with the tools and technologies available to facilitate communication and connectivity. Keep your remote workers engaged, productive, and happy with these 10 easy-to-implement and practical tips.
1. Onboard your employees the right way
Building a remote office culture starts before your new team member ever logs in. You need to have a plan of action to ensure that they don't encounter roadblocks, such as failure to log in or incorrect permissions. First impressions are everything!
Not only do you need to have all of the right resources ready for employee onboarding, but you should also make sure that the employee is introduced to everyone else on the team their very first day. Make their new environment as supportive as possible by initiating introductions and encouraging your team to be welcoming.
For example, you can make onboarding easy with Wrike’s task oriented approach. New hires can complete day-one tasks, access resources, and initiate a conversation in their virtual water cooler!
2. Support professional growth
Understand what excites and motivates your remote team members by getting to know them on a personal level, beyond project expectations and due dates. Just as you do with on-site team members, check in with your remote workers to discover their goals, and help them learn new skills to advance their careers. Budget funds for online courses, attending virtual seminars, or getting a new certification so they're incentivized to expand their skills.
3. Create connections between teammates
As a manager, it’s best practice to have regular calls scheduled with your remote team members to connect, answer questions, and provide support. Schedule regular communications about both work and fun. Video hangouts, instant message chats, and other real-time communication channels provide simple avenues for connecting with each other and collaborating on projects. Connect colleagues who share hobbies or common interests, and partner someone new to a task or project with an experienced co-worker.
4. Communicate and collaborate
Encourage communication and collaboration as much as possible in a remote team. By keeping regular contact with your remote employees, you can get to know them better and establish team rapport. If they feel like nothing more than a cog in the corporate machine, there's very little incentive to keep talking with their peers.
Use solutions like Slack to bring instant messaging to your teams and break down communication silos. Let remote team members communicate with each other, check in, and say ‘hi’, without the need to exchange phone numbers or personal email addresses.
Additionally, you can keep communication accessible and centralized if you make Wrike your all-in-one work management platform.
5. Prioritize facetime and prevent isolation
Even if your remote workers are connected to the rest of your team through instant messaging or video chat, they may still feel isolated.
Combat loneliness and burnout by building a yearly, in-person company event into your annual budget, or provide some funds for remote employees to join a co-working space in their local area. Exposure to new people and ideas are still key ingredients for creativity.
6. Keep work fun
To bridge the gap between annual in-person events, plan virtual events to build camaraderie among your team. For example, during March Madness, the Olympic Games, or the World Cup, schedule a 30-minute break to hop on a video call and watch or stream the event together. Other ideas here: Ultimate Guide to Team-Building Activities That Don't Suck.
7. Embrace gamification
Another great way we've found to inspire camaraderie and a little friendly banter is through gamification. Adding online multiplayer games with friendly banter to the mix is a great way to make sure your employees are excited to come to their home office each day.
Apart from giving them a chance to interact directly with their remote team members, they’ll have plenty of fun outside work and develop stronger bonds with their peers — even while working remotely.
8. Swag them up
Who doesn’t like swag? Well, we simply love it! Shower your employees with personalized and custom-designed company swag that promises to foster a sense of belonging — even if they are hundreds of miles away from each other. See team bonding and employee engagement rates shoot up and stay high.
9. Recognize accomplishments
Appreciation feels good, doesn’t it? Recognize the contributions of your team members and ensure that their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.
When everyone is at work in their own homes across continents or countries, it’s important to remind each of them how crucial their roles are. Have a weekly virtual appreciation session where successful results or important projects are highlighted to all team members.
10. Support a healthy work-life balance
When your home and office are the same place, it can be tough to avoid workaholic patterns that prevent you from effectively "switching off". Encourage flexible schedules and designated time off. Pay attention to how often your remote employees request vacation time, gently remind them of the paid time off they've accrued, and make sure they know they're encouraged to take it.
How Wrike can help in building a strong team culture
Remote work isn't a flash in the pan. It's here to stay. As it grows, companies will need to build cohesive remote teams to improve their project delivery, enhance profitability, and achieve business goals.
Once you've established a robust remote team culture, it self-replicates. Company managers will not need to highlight it every day. You'll see it in action when team members collaborate, communicate in real-time, and accelerate their productivity using powerful work management platforms like Wrike. Get results from anywhere when you connect your teams using one digital workspace.