Today, businesses are a lot more focused towards building a strong and positive work culture. There is a reason why they spend a lot of time, money, and resources building a positive work culture.
Because it’s crucial to your team’s success.
A team’s culture is what ultimately decides how team members are going to work and interact with each other everyday.
Think of it this way, if you are in a good mood, you would be nicer to people around you and have a positive outlook for a problem that might come your way. But when you’re in a bad mood, things might not feel the same. Similarly, when working in a positive work environment, team members feel more secure and are able to deliver and work to their full potential.
A positive and honest work culture builds more productive and trustworthy teams – on the other hand, poor work culture leads to dissatisfaction and burnout among team members.
So why doesn’t everyone just build a positive team culture?
Because culture involves fostering a mindful connection between you and your teams; and that isn’t always so simple. And in a remote setting, without any in person interactions, this becomes all the more challenging.
Challenges of building work culture – remotely
Most teams that work remotely hardly ever meet each other in person. And developing a real connection behind a laptop screen is the biggest challenge faced by most remote managers.
Sure there are team building and engagement activities (that a lot of us are already familiar with). But they are merely stepping stones and not something that culture can be built upon.
Think about it, would you really like to get on an hour long zoom call after your working hours to play cards with your team members?
What you need is a solid foundation that your entire team can fall back on. And that’s how you build a strong work culture.
Building a strong work culture in remote teams
Since your work culture is how your team perceives you and the company, it is essential that you overcome every challenge that comes in your way.
Here’s how you can do that.
Focus on your goals
Your goals are already defined and prioritised for you. But you must ensure that you align your team with the same goals and help them stay focused on them in their everyday work.
When your team collectively works on achieving the same goals, they are likely to achieve them faster and more effectively.
Pro tip: Always recognise the goals and key objectives in every task, project, team meeting, and discussions.
In a remote environment, transparency plays a key role in how satisfied your team is. It helps in setting clear expectations and building a work culture around trust.
And it isn’t just limited to what everyone in the team (including you) is doing. It is about being absolutely clear on the KPIs. Providing your team with the knowledge of how they will be measured and tracked can be a powerful motivation, especially when working remotely.
Pro tip – It is ideal to onboard a management tool that helps track (not monitor) the team’s work in real time.
Set the tone for communication
You need to be careful when building your communication guidelines because this is where it starts getting tricky. When team members are working in different time zones and speak different first languages, it is essential that they have a clear understanding of how and when to communicate with each other.
For instance, if one team member (in India) needs help from another team member (in US), they must have a system in place to carry out communication at the right time and be able to get a response too.
Pro tip – Before you start developing your communication guidelines, identify how and what the team communicates on a daily basis and try to incorporate the same in your work culture and processes.
Build personal connections
In a traditional office environment, it is very easy to get to know one another. Since team members spend a major chunk of the day with each other, they are able to build meaningful relationships with each other.
But when working remotely, you need to ensure that your team has the opportunity and resources to bond with each other. This is where team building activities come in that help your team members understand each other on a personal level and actually get to know each other outside of work.
Pro tip – Find time in your everyday work to interact with your team as a group.
One of your key responsibilities is to support your team in every way. You must be available for help, problem solving, and feedback whenever your team needs it.
When team members are comfortable talking to their managers, they are able to quickly communicate hurdles and overcome them.
Lastly, do not forget to celebrate the small and big wins within your team and the business. It ensures that the team stays motivated and focused on work. It also counts as a big plus when you’re trying to build a positive work culture.
Pro tip – Make the effort to have one-on-one conversations with each team member and identify and acknowledge their problems and hard work.
Align your remote team
When team members are located in different regions, the most important thing you need to remember is that team members should be well aligned with each other and the manager.
Culture is how your team sees you and it is critical that you provide a positive work environment for them.