Building a Thriving Remote Work Culture: Strategies and Best Practices
The shift towards remote work has been significant in the past several years. Although most teams were forced to go remote due to pandemic-related restrictions, many have maintained a remote or hybrid work structure.
Remote work is great for many employees and companies as it promotes work-life balance, creates flexibility, and ultimately cuts down office costs for employers. However, without face-to-face, in-office interactions, it’s easy for company culture to fall by the wayside.
To ensure that the benefits of remote work continue to outweigh the cons, it’s important to establish and maintain a positive remote work culture for your team. By building a solid remote work culture, you can create a strong team that works together effectively while maintaining your company’s core values.
In this article, we'll discuss a variety of strategies and techniques you can use to build a thriving remote work culture for your organization.
1. Setting the Foundation for a Remote Work Culture
Setting the foundation for a positive remote work culture is very similar to the process you’d follow for creating a positive work culture in the office.
Two important parts of this foundation are setting the tone for what the company culture should look like and fostering trust and transparency to solidify the foundation.
Setting the Tone
Defining the organization's values and vision is the first step to setting the tone for your remote work culture. Think about what your company stands for and how you aim to serve your audience.
If you need inspiration, take a peek at fully remote companies, like uSERP:
Taking the time to hone in on these details will help you decide on the tone you want to set for your remote work culture. Again, here’s how uSERP’s vision translates into their remote culture and who they seek to hire to sustain their cultural values:
Never underestimate the importance of establishing clear communication from day one. This description is available on uSERP’s career page. Potential candidates know exactly what they’re signing up for even before the first conversion with a team member.
Fostering Trust and Transparency
Another key aspect of setting the foundation of a thriving remote work culture is fostering trust and transparency among your team and its leaders. Part of creating trust with your team is offering them the support they need to do their jobs successfully.
To foster a thriving remote work culture, organizations must recognize the significance of efficient remote support solutions. Remote support plays a pivotal role in empowering employees to overcome technical challenges, ensuring seamless communication, and maximizing productivity, regardless of their physical location.
The importance of remote support lies in its ability to bridge the gap between IT teams and remote workers. With the right remote support software in place, such as TSplus, businesses can provide prompt assistance, troubleshoot issues in real-time, and facilitate smooth collaboration, all from a distance.
2. Creating a Sense of Belonging and Connection
When your team is remote, the physical distance from one another can easily create a disconnect. To build a thriving remote work culture, you’ll need to combat that by fostering a connection and creating a sense of belonging.
Some ways to create a sense of camaraderie and facilitate team bonding (without a physical office) include virtual team-building activities, regular team check-ins, and virtual company-wide meetings. Another effective and innovative strategy is incorporating elements of popular culture, such as video games, into team-building activities.
Take, for example, the Fortnite Spiderman game. This game is a phenomenon in the digital world, engrossing millions with its engaging gameplay and interactive dynamics.
By organizing virtual team events, like a Fortnite Spiderman tournament, you are giving your team an unconventional yet fun platform to interact with. They can strategize, collaborate, and engage in friendly competition, thus indirectly enhancing their teamwork skills.
Such unique exercises can be a refreshing break from routine work, keeping the team's morale high. Plus, it can promote more social interactions through informal communication channels, mimicking the water cooler talk that your team would experience if they were all in-office.
3. Prioritizing Employee Well-Being and Work-Life Balance
You’ve probably heard the adage about a chain only being as strong as its weakest link. Some people excel in remote work situations, but others struggle. As a business owner or manager, it’s your job to prioritize your employees’ well-being so they can show up as the best version of themselves at work.
Some ways to do this include encouraging self-care, offering flexible work schedules, and providing resources for mental health and wellness support. Monthly or quarterly mental health days are a great way to give your team a beat to reset.
Additionally, you can prioritize your employees’ well-being by providing the benefits they need to take care of their health. You should offer a competitive benefits package that includes health insurance, dental insurance, paid family leave, and paid sick days.
Some additional perks that you could throw in include paid gym memberships, healthy lunches served in the office, and team activities that allow your employees to decompress.
4. Effective Communication and Collaboration
Creating systems for effective communication and collaboration will help facilitate positive experiences centered on teamwork and make remote work sustainable for your organization. One of the easiest ways to set up streamlined communication channels is to lean into collaboration tools and project management software.
Although implementing the tools is important, this is only one piece of the puzzle. You should also determine what boundaries and expectations for communication look like between team members and departments. For example, think about if you expect people to be accessible by instant message or email.
And that you’ll need to share asynchronous communication best practices for effective dialog across time zones (with one team member in San Francisco and the other in Mumbai).
Once your communication channels are properly structured, it’s important to continue to encourage open and inclusive communication. Generally, this looks like keeping things professional and maintaining a safe environment for everybody on your team.
5. Recognizing and Celebrating Achievements
Building morale is another great way to create a thriving culture among your remote team. You can empower your team by celebrating milestones and successes. Implementing a system for recognizing and rewarding remote employees is a great way to continuously uplift your team.
Consider opening the floor for team member shoutouts during company-wide meetings. You can take this a step further by offering awards that come with special perks like an extra PTO day, bonuses, or gift cards. Even small tokens of appreciation will make your team feel good about their wins.
When you recognize wins, people will naturally be inclined to push harder to achieve more. In turn, this provides opportunities for professional growth and development. These small things can create greater motivation, reduce employee turnover, and foster a strong culture.
6. Maintaining a Strong Company Culture
To maintain the remote work culture you’ve created, you’ll need to make sure your team remains engaged and connected. You can make this happen by encouraging your team to make connections internally among one another and externally with other professionals in your industry.
Create Company Traditions and Rituals
When you work in person, there are fun activities that pop up, such as holiday celebrations, birthday parties, retirement parties, and so forth. These fun activities are great for nurturing a sense of shared purpose and collective identity.
However, when your team works remotely, it’s easy for these activities to go out the door. As an alternative, you can host digital events for socializing among co-workers, such as virtual happy hours to celebrate wins.
You can even incorporate rituals with more professional connotations to keep people engaged. For example, you could host a Monday morning standup where the team shares a win from the week before and a goal for the coming week.
Encourage Industry Connections
A thriving remote work culture encourages employees to engage with external stakeholders confidently, effectively representing the business in virtual meetings, webinars, and networking events.
Since remote work can take away from networking opportunities that help build industry connections, it’s important to make up for that by encouraging your employees to participate in industry networking events.
Fortunately, there are plenty of networking opportunities for small business owners to share with their teams, including conferences, mixers, and more. You can use these opportunities to effectively connect with clients, partners, and prospects.
7. Adapting and Evolving with Feedback
Part of maintaining a positive culture among your remote team is taking feedback and using it to identify weaknesses and make improvements. You can collect feedback from remote employees through surveys or regular check-ins.
Maintaining a thriving remote work culture requires iterating and adapting your strategies, even if you feel that your current system is great. The feedback from your team will allow you to step outside of yourself to see the operations and culture of your team from another lens.
Remember that you’ll likely continue to iterate on your strategies as more feedback comes in. You need to be prepared to pivot and embrace change if you want to continue to build a thriving remote work culture.
Building a thriving remote work culture is a great way to ensure that your team is equipped to operate in a way that represents your brand’s values.
When you build a stable foundation and put in the work to keep your team connected, you can create and maintain a remote work culture that’s healthy and positive.
How will you improve your remote work culture?
About the Author
Emily Krings is an SEO content writer and strategist with a knack for storytelling. She specializes in helping B2B businesses create blog content that connects with their audiences.