How To Build Great Company Culture with a Remote Team
Great company culture is the unifying force behind any business. It's the heartbeat, the identity and personality of a company. So, how do create yours? By building a foundation of shared values and experiences that every employee can stand by. In this article, I'm going to talk about remote company culture, including the why (yes, it IS important for remote teams), the challenges, and most importantly, the how. Regardless of how you define your company's culture, the best way to build a strong foundation is with Remo, the #1 app for bringing remote teams together. We create custom virtual spaces where remote employees can connect and engage with one another naturally.
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Why great company culture is so important for a remote team
Within centralized offices, employees are exposed on a daily basis to the overall functions, flows and values of a business. They are held to specific dress codes and set work hours. Some companies have on-site gyms to promote health and well-being amongst employees. Others may offer in-house daycare to support their working single mothers. For these reasons and many more, building great company culture is fairly easy to do when everyone can coexist in the same, physical space. Building great remote company culture is a bit more challenging, but the benefits are HUGE.
Better employee experience and retention
Developing a strong company culture is essential to providing your remote workers the best employee experience, which inevitably will result in better employee retention. No company wants to deal with a high employee turnover rate, especially considering how difficult it can be to recruit remote employees. Building the foundation for the best employee experience possible will make your remote workforce happy, motivated and engaged.
Builds and strengthens brand identity
Every business owner wants their employees to be just as passionate about the company as they are. In order to do that, your brand has to stand for something people believe in. What does your company care about? What is your mission statement, and how will you reinforce those values on a daily basis? Brand identity is so important for a remote workforce because it's unifying. Isolation can be a huge challenge for a remote workforce. Some remote employees have very little contact with other people in the company on a daily basis. As a result, they often feel like just another cog in the machine. Building and instilling a strong set of company values can help prevent this from happening. A great company culture keeps remote employees feeling connected to one another via a shared mission. Rather than daily tasks feeling monotonous, remote employees will feel as though they're part of a greater purpose. Defining your company's identity is the first step to getting yourself on the list of the "top 10 remote companies to work for in 2019."
Creates a sense of community and belonging
Most remote employees will tell you that there are coworkers in the company with whom they've never spoken or even seen. In fact, many will never communicate with more than a direct supervisor or teammate. As a result, the most common challenge facing remote companies is a lack of community and belonging. Building great work culture for remote teams actually helps address this problem, as the process requires a high level of company-wide engagement and communication.
Think about it this way: Let's say a big part of your company culture is built on the value of learning, teamwork and interconnectivity. You instill these values with virtual learning presentations. For example, let's say a coworker has some free time and is giving a presentation on how to build an Excel spreadsheet. Employees from unrelated departments could choose to participate to expand their skills. In the scenario above, remote employees will gain the skills to better communicate and collaborate with coworkers they don't usually interact with. Virtual learning sessions like these encourage cross-department interaction on a multi-dimensional level, which helps a remote workforce feel connected as a community.
Strengthens teams, improves productivity
In order for a remote workforce to function at a high level of efficiency, communication must be dialed-in to the max. Remote teammates don't have the ability to work within the same physical space. Due to this and the flexible nature of remote work schedules, collaboration is much less efficient or reliable. Defined ethics and values within a remote company's culture help set clear expectations for employees. For example, your expectation as a business owner may be for the company to run on high-level collaboration and frequent communication. By defining and instilling a strong work culture rooted in these values, remote employees will have a clear and unified understanding of how to operate. As a result, you'll see a decrease in miscommunication and an increase in efficiency and productivity. Now that you know why great company culture is so important for remote teams, let's talk about how to build the best company culture for remote companies.
How remote companies can build incredible work culture
In order to build the best company culture within a remote workforce, it's important to understand the challenges and how to overcome them. Let's dive in.
Instilling company values and identity
As I mentioned a bit earlier, defining a company's values, principles and identity is much easier to do when everyone coexists in the same space.
For example, companies can place value on health and well-being by offering on-site gyms to employees. Frequent office parties help to encourage camaraderie amongst coworkers and higher-ups.So, the question then is, how do you create a sense of identity without a centralized space?
Reinforce company values with virtual reminders. For example, have automated reminders that encourage your remote workforce to get up and stretch for 15 minutes during the day. Set a precedent for interaction between remote employees. Most remotes already wish they had better relationships with their coworkers. Setting a company-wide daily goal to reach out to someone new (or outside of one's department) is a great way to encourage bonding without it feeling unnatural. Here's another practice that has gotten a positive response from our remote workforce here at Remo: We make it a point to send our remote team fun messages or photos throughout the day. These messages and reminders are perfect for reinforcing company-wide values. Furthermore, we have found that they increase the overall feeling of positivity amongst our remote teams.
Creating a sense of community and belonging
Remote coworkers often have thousands of miles between them. Varying time zones and work schedules can even further isolate one employee from the next. Additionally, remote employees in different departments rarely ever speak to one another, limiting any kind of a relationship to others within the company.
Virtual events and team building exercises are incredibly effective at bridging the social and physical gap between remote employees. Virtual icebreaker games are great for building new relationships and improving communication between remote employees who don't often work together.
The biggest challenge to building a community within a remote company is that it can often feel unnatural or forced. To help eliminate this issue, try scheduling virtual company-wide "happy hours" or game nights. Creating a virtual event for your remote employees allows them to interact and bond with one another without needing to reach out on their own, which can often feel awkward. Virtual events also give remote employees a space to engage with one another on a non-work basis. This helps to build community and offers a break from daily work stress. Not sure how to have virtual "happy hours" or events? That's where we come in! Remo is a virtual space where remote employees can interact with one another in real-time, using video, audio and chat. You can use the space as a virtual office, or just a place to have fun during work breaks.
If you're unsure whether or not Remo would be a good fit for your team, just bring them in and find out! We're currently offering free trials for new users, so there's really no reason not to try it out. Go on, give it a spin!
Choosing the right fit for your remote company culture
An important part of developing a great company culture is ensuring your remote employees are a fit. For example, a remote worker who thrives on autonomy will likely dislike working for a company whose culture revolves around constant communication. So, how do you ensure that new hires or recruits will be a fit for your remote company's culture? Complete transparency from the start is absolutely essential when it comes to hiring a remote workforce. During interviews with potential candidates, talk about your company culture. Clearly define company values and expectations. Additionally, it's important to ask candidates questions about their working style and personal needs. For example, do they work best in teams? Do they prefer to work autonomously? It's important for hiring managers to think about company culture fit when hiring new remote employees. A candidate could have all the right qualifications on paper, but if their employee experience is poor, it's unlikely they'll stick around. This article is a great resource for identifying which qualities to look for in a remote employee.
Over to You
Remote working has exploded in popularity in the past year. As more and more companies go remote, employers are starting to realize the importance of building great company culture. Hopefully this article has given you some great ideas for how to build, grow and instill amazing company culture within your remote team. And remember, more than half of human communication is nonverbal. Here at Remo, our goal is to improve the overall remote employee experience. Our web-based app is designed specifically to improve the quality of interconnectivity, engagement and experience for remote teams. Join us today!