5 Steps to Create a Positive Culture in Your Remote Team

May 3rd, 3:22 pm

5 Steps to Create a Positive Culture in Your Remote Team

Remote work was gaining popularity before 2020 happened, but it was viewed more as a trend rather than a necessity. There was also a time when it was not possible because the technology was limited or not available. Today, remote work rose to become a massive demand for businesses to continue operating.

Remote work solved issues with office space and time. However, it raised questions on whether culture can thrive beyond screens and home offices. In this article, we will go through each of the ways that will help you create a positive culture in each of your remote teams.

This list includes:

  • Remote company culture ideas
  • How to build team culture
  • How do you build a strong remote team
  • How to unify a remote team

1. Communicate with Your Team

Communication is a big-ticket item when it comes to remote work culture. An organization starts all its efforts by properly conveying its principles before any desired work can take place. That is why many consider it as a pass-or-fail endeavor.

In a Buffer.com 2021 survey, one of the three struggles of those working remote-based is communication. Difficulty in communication often leads to unresolved issues, hesitation to collaborate, and eventually hurting one’s morale.

Here, we can dive further into how to make this challenge an opportunity.

Set Your Preferred Communication Method

With the numerous platforms available, we don’t need to rely on just email when conveying our thoughts and building connections. It is wise to choose specific platforms for each situation that helps set the tone for topics to discuss.

For example, in my workplace, we use email for formal discussions and serious matters. We also utilize email when we want to document a long conversation that happened on a different platform.

For quick and casual chats, we use chat rooms and instant messaging apps. Here we can throw in some jokes, banters, and personal updates. When there is a que

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stion that only requires a few minutes to answer, we go directly to this platform instead of sending in an email.

Lastly, we use in-house company apps, social media accounts, and chat rooms for organization-wide announcements and updates.

Today, where messaging platforms are everywhere, we need not be limited to just using one. Take the time to learn which platform is the best for your team. Consider which platform serves the purpose of your message.

Give Time for Regular Touchbase

Working remote-based makes one feel lonely and isolated, so checking up on your team once in a while is a must. It may be tedious at first, especially with new hires, but necessary. You can schedule this on a weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly basis, depending on what you think your team needs.

You do not need to limit the conversation to work-related matters. My manager has this pleasant way of facilitating a touch base. She starts the conversation with a question about how my personal life is, jumps to work matters in the middle of the conversation, and goes back to my updates at the end.

People appreciate it when you take the time to learn who they are outside of work. It makes them feel that you see them as more than just a headcount.

Create your own digital watercooler room

There is that one place in the physical office where employees naturally draw to gather and chat. For the most part, that is in the pantry or around the water cooler.

When I started working, I got to know my workmates more and formed a bond with them in this space. The topics around the water cooler range from common interests to, latest gossip, and shared work sentiments.

It’s possible to make one too virtually! Slack first comes into mind. However, there are also other messaging apps like Teams, Hangouts, or in-house messaging platforms.

This digital water cooler can be your off-work space where you can post jokes, throw in banters, share and listen to personal updates. It’s still the same atmosphere minus the actual cooler!

Discover amazing Improv and Comedy Shows you can take part with your team.

2. Define your company mission and vision

Positive Culture

One of the drawbacks of organizations is allowing for culture to form naturally. It is ineffective since people come from different backgrounds. Everyone brings in a variety of values, each one they believe to be true.

Everyone has to be on the same page and working on the same end goal. Otherwise, your employees will be left unfocused and burned out. Your company vision and mission statement should serve as their compass at work.

Maximize your employee manual

Defining what is acceptable to you as a positive set of expected behaviors, values, and traditions is crucial in creating the culture that wants to thrive. Communicating what you want your company culture to make it easier for people to navigate their way through the organization and sets the pace on how they plan their work to be.

One of the primary ways to do this is by having a ready, easy-to-read, and accessible employee manual. You and the rest of your team can use this as a cheat sheet on how you want your organization to work, what type of projects you want to take on, what community efforts you want to focus on, how you want your employees to treat each other.

Be all about your mission and vision

Actions are always louder than words. Once you have your employee manual at hand, show your employees that you can walk the talk. Broadcast your mission and vision in every channel available and let people know that you anchor your decision based on them.

3. Encourage open to feedback and collaboration

One big step in promoting a positive culture is to acknowledge that people’s views are valid. Your biggest critic is your own hood. Most of the time, they hold a unique and intimate view of your organization. Their suggestions come from a place where they are looking at your organization to grow and be better.

Create communication channels where employees can provide feedback and practice transparency. This way you let them know that you are open to suggestions and ideas. Here are some ways that you can enable this.

Promote Anonymity

Some organizations do this by letting employees send fraud or anomaly reports anonymously, so people will not be discouraged by retributions. Others conduct virtual ‘townhalls’ where leaders answer questions from staff to higher-ups. Any question is welcome and those with no ready answers at hand are noted for follow-throughs.

Big organizations often have annual or bi-annual surveys to gauge their employees. They share the results with the general population and pick critical items from those to work on. A good follow-through is conducting focus group discussions to get in-depth information about the results and anchor change management projects based on these.

Collaborative Projects

You can also encourage collaborative projects so people get a chance to work with people outside their teams. Collaboration encourages the exchange of ideas and a healthy check-and-balance.

This is not only limited to people in the same team. There are also cross-departmental collaborations: marketing with human resources, IT with finance, operations with HR, the list goes on.

Bring the Human in Remote Work

As social beings, we are programmed to read through gestures and body languages as indicators of how we relate to others. In the remote world, it is difficult to get any social context when receiving a message that is straight and just pure fact.

It is best to bring in mind that the person behind the screen is someone with a personality. Some even make an effort to bring this faceless personality beyond the digital space, just so they can cut across to those they are interacting with.

Drop the formalities once in a while. People go to work every day beating deadlines and goals, sometimes a casual and laid-back atmosphere is all you need for them to loosen up and feel invited to share. Use your emojis, be clear about the context of your messages, and bring in some decent amount of humour.

4. Build and Maintain a Sense of Community

Positive Culture

Although a cliche, the popular adage “No man is an island” still holds true. The last thing you want in your remote teams is to make them feel like strangers working together. Because teams are in different locations, it is easy for communication to crumble down. Create an environment where one feels that they have a community where they belong.

Conduct Virtual Engagement Activities

You can host engagement activities online where people can put down their employee hat for a while and just loosen up. In some companies, there are activities where family members can join in like virtual storytelling for kids or Family Feud Wednesdays. Here are some suggested activities that you can start with:

For more of these activities, check out more team icebreakers.

Celebrate Milestones

In office spaces, it is easy to gather people and find opportunities to meet frequently. You can also mirror this in your virtual space.

Recognize both small and big leaps as special moments in an employee's life. Some organizations maximize their social channels such as emails, social media, and Slack to broadcast and let people join in on anniversaries, promotions, birthdays, or any other special moment. If you are looking for ideas on virtual celebrations, you can read on team celebration ideas.

5. Trust your team and be trustworthy

There is no other way to do remote work but to trust your teammates. Believe that when it is time, they will show up and get things done. Treat them as someone who can manage the balance between flexibility and responsibility.

In turn, you should also be the same. Show up when you say you will and dial in on meetings on time. Often, we find it easier to say the things we want but fail to execute them ourselves. Be the model that you want your teammates to be.

In Summary

Team culture is something that you cannot take for granted. It is important in terms of building and growing your company, especially if your team is working remotely. When your teams are motivated and engaged, they are able to deliver and translate their goals into a profitable business for you.

I am confident that with these tips you will be able to make a positive remote working environment where team members are motivated, happy, and energetic.


Why is Positive Culture Important?

Culture is the aggregation of your organization’s values, behaviors, policies, beliefs, attitudes, and traditions. In simple terms, culture is your company’s character. It is your personality.

It is the driver of talent attraction, motivation, happiness, engagement, and ultimately retention. It is why creating a positive work culture is crucial, especially if your team is doing work remotely. It can be a challenge, especially when common knowledge dictates that it is easier to make culture in a physical space.

Steps to Build a Remote Culture

  • Make communication with your team as utmost priority
  • Decide which communication method serves the tone and purpose of your message
  • Create a digital watercooler
  • Anchor all that you do in your mission and vision
  • Encourage open feedback and collaboration
  • Build and maintain a community where people feel they belong
  • Bring your human side in the digital space
  • Trust your team and they will reward you with the same

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