As more companies go remote, it’s essential to set the foundation for a good remote work culture that will put the team up for success. It’s clear the past couple of years have been good practice to learn how to embrace this way of working, but are organizations ready to go fully remote permanently?
Building a good remote work culture isn’t just about enhancing productivity, but about improving employee engagement and morale, fostering safe communication, and creating work relationships that allow your employees to thrive.
If you’re wondering how you can build a safe culture for your employees while working remotely, we’ve curated 5 ideas you should consider.
1. Define your remote work culture
When moving into a fully remote job, employees might be confused about remote policies, such as communication within teams or working times. It will be much easier for your team to work together if they understand the goals and expectations of your remote work culture.
By creating a remote work culture policy your employees will better understand their work flexibility, working hours, expectations, and which tools they will be using. If you’re hiring new people, display these guidelines in the job advertisement, and hire those who accept and fit this model. Here are some more policies you can include to make your virtual team feel more connected while working from home:
- Provide your team with good equipment. Ensure your employees have a good setting to work at home, including a computer, a good desk and ergonomic seating. If they don’t have one, you can assist by providing the equipment or offering financial aid for its purchase.
- Ensure flexible working hours. Make sure your team has full work flexibility while at home so they can choose the hours when they will be most productive. Advise people that they can’t expect an immediate response.
- Provide good tools for communication between employees and teams. For example, you can have a company chat or a “virtual office” for quick calls or lighthearted meetings. These tools can also help to see who is online and available.
- Keep everyone up to date with company affairs. Offer a platform where your employees can share and learn about company or team news, activities, or achievements. This will help create a sense of community, rather than just working within your own tasks and team.
2. Provide employee recognition
Everyone likes to be appreciated for their efforts, and a remote work culture understands that recognizing your team’s achievements is a must for improving employee engagement. Remote work can make recognition harder if your employees don’t have a safe space to share their accomplishments.
Creating a safe environment for recognition can include offering a platform or a chatroom for employees to recognize their colleagues’ achievements, as well as a time or meeting where the team can share their weekly accomplishments and be encouraged by their peers.
Platforms like Nailted provide an easy way to ensure employee recognition. Employees send Claps every Friday to their colleagues, and these are received by their peers the following Monday as a good way to start the week with the batteries fully charged!
3. Encourage flexibility and work-life balance
We’ve already said flexible working hours are best when working from home, however your employees need to feel comfortable and encouraged to embrace this flexibility. Some team members might feel the need to be available at all hours to attend to those who work in the morning and the evening.
Provide your remote work culture with a good work-life balance that will boost your employee engagement and productivity. Although achieving work-life balance can seem hard, through communication and understanding what fits everyone, we can find ways to facilitate it. Here are a few ideas you should consider:
- Create a results-focused work model. Let your employees make their own schedule that allows them to reach their targets and full potential. Letting go of the 8 hour work day will also ease the burden of having to fill the hours and get work done ahead of time.
- Let your team know they are allowed to look away from the computer. Employees often feel the need to show they are working by responding immediately to all messages. Allow your team to create boundaries and show them that just because you’re at work, it doesn’t mean you’re available.
- Encourage your employees to use their time off and annual leave. Let them know they can use time to take their kids to the park, go out for lunch with their friends, and have hobbies. Encourage your team to use their leave to rest and spend time away from work.
4. Ensure psychological safety
Helping your employees feel comfortable enough to speak up and share how they feel is always hard, but remote work can worsen the issue. Reinforce your remote work culture by creating a safe space for your employees to express themselves, ensuring psychological safety and promoting a good feedback culture within your team.
- Promote a feedback culture. Establishing a habit in your team to check in with each other and providing feedback helps foster closeness amongst employees and create an even safer space.
- Provide platforms for giving and receiving feedback. Leaders can hold regular 1:1 meetings, send surveys and organize team meetings where employees can share their opinions and give feedback to their managers and peers.
- Make sure feedback is always constructive. Teach your employees to provide feedback that avoids blaming or making things personal, and helps the team grow. Giving feedback through video calls works best to avoid misunderstandings.
- Encourage fellowship and communication. Fostering good working relationships can help employees feel more comfortable and open regarding feedback.
5. Plan team building activities
When in the office, planning team building activities is always easier: it can be as simple as having lunch together at the company canteen. However, in a remote work culture, employees won’t see each other often and therefore fun activities together become rarer.
Even when people are far away from each other, there are a few things you can do to increase engagement and bring them together:
- Plan regular team building meetings. You can hold a 10-15 minute meeting everyday so your team can have a breather and talk about anything other than work. Not only does this idea help with building relationships between employees, but it also provides a safe space and time to relax with each other.
- Hold regular online activities. You can hold a virtual game night or virtual happy hour on a Friday afternoon where employees play games online together, or organize a date for people to have coffee together while on video call.
- Meet outside as a group. If teams live in the same area, they can get together for a coffee or a meal outside of work hours.
Even after being in a pandemic for years, it’s clear companies still need help with building a good remote work culture. Creating a remote work policy and improving employee engagement through recognition, feedback and team building activities will go a long way in developing a happier workplace.
Create a positive feedback culture in your remote team with the right employee engagement tools. Building trust within your employees and measuring their satisfaction will help you create a flourishing remote work culture.