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5 ways to build a strong company culture across remote teams

By Sam Hill, Head of People and Culture at BizSpace    

In the modern work environment, businesses face a continuous challenge to achieve and maintain a strong company culture. In fact, a study by Glassdoor found that 56% of employees consider a good workplace culture to be more important than their salary.

A strong company culture keeps the core values of the firm front and centre in all day-to-day activities. It helps employees to feel engaged and as though they are part of an aligned community.

Healthy company cultures have a direct impact on performance, however, they are increasingly hard to manage within remote teams. As teams typically speak less frequently when working remotely and miss face-to-face communication, the bigger picture and goals of the firm can begin to be lost as employees drift apart.

Even when working remotely, employees have a need to feel connected to remember they are part of a team. To aid firms in aligning remote employees with the goals of the organisation, this article provides practical tips for businesses on achieving a strong company culture across their remote working teams.

Update and share your company values

For employees to really resonate with the culture of the company, they must have a clear understanding of the values and vision of the firm. Most firms present employees with their values and mission statement during their induction, which is the first and last time their team will come into contact with it.

Company values are key for employees to understand the core purpose and pillars of the organisation and so they should be at the forefront of each employee’s mind. Businesses should take the time to refine their values and goals to suit the overall mission before articulating this to their employees on a regular basis. The values of the firm should tie in closely to each decision and task which the team completes.

Use technology to your advantage

Although technology cannot make up for the ease of seeing colleagues face-to-face, video calls are a great way to ensure employees can keep in touch. To maintain the communication which can be lost with remote working, management should consider hosting daily or weekly team meetings where employees can catch up and share what they are working on. This allows employees to continue to build connections and celebrate their achievements.

Since up to 50% of communication during meetings is derived from body language, opt for video calls as opposed to voice or telephone calls for important catch ups. Having a visual aid can eliminate confusion and misunderstanding, as well as building stronger relationships between team members.

Provide useful feedback

Businesses often take the “no news is good news” approach with remote teams, but irregular contact can be damaging to the wellbeing and morale of employees. Individuals may begin to doubt their ability and feel uncertain if they do not receive feedback or hear regularly from their management team.

Firms should ensure they give specific feedback to their employees through personal mediums such as video or phone calls rather than just emails or texts. Being detailed and unique about the success or potential improvement points for employees is key, since a generic or standardised message may leave employees feeling more isolated. Employees should be invited to respond back, as two-way communication is the most effective way to deliver an impact.

Be honest with employees

Clear communication is critical for remote workers to maintain a trusting relationship with the firm. Employees should be kept up to date with any important information or news which relates to the company or their job role.

Transparency is important for the culture of a company and without it, employees will lose their loyalty to the firm at a rapid pace as trust is hard to cultivate once lost. Uncertainty is detrimental to the morale of a team, so any communication should be as clear and certain as possible to avoid giving employees un-informed snippets of information to worry about.

Arrange social events

Whilst working remotely, employees may be missing out on the usual social events and informal drinks after work which would otherwise take place. Socialising allows colleagues to relax together and bond on matters outside of their workload. It creates natural conversation opportunities and ultimately brings employees together on a far more personal level. Quizzes are an easy way to offer a remote and fun social opportunity, with the ability to mix teams up and allow employees to bond over the activity.

Not only are social events important for employees, they are in fact also highly beneficial for the success of firms. These events boost the morale of employees as they recognise the firm to be rewarding their hard work and effort, leading to higher productivity and satisfaction in teams. This, in turn, can boost the company culture as employees feel a higher sense of loyalty to the organisation, even from their remote locations.