There are two new trends shaping the modern workplace: remote work and company culture. They both have clear benefits. Telecommuting options give your workers more autonomy in their day-to-day lives, and forming a strong company culture makes your company a more pleasant place to work in general.
But can these two exist in the same space?
With the right tools and values, yes.
“Just because you have employees all across the globe, doesn’t mean you still can’t have company culture,” David and Carrie McKeegan write in Entrepreneur. “Even with a virtual staff, entrepreneurs can still have the warmth, comradery, and relationship-building that an office brings — they just have to think outside the box.”
The following tips will get you started building your virtual company culture.
- 1. Decide what culture means to your company.In a physical office environment, culture might mean laughing in meetings, strong interpersonal collaboration, and even office happy hours. When you don’t have a physical space to meet in person, it’s important to re-interpret these perks for a virtual space. This could mean showing high levels of gratitude to your employees, prioritizing employee recognition, and encouraging your employees to work on projects in pairs.
- 2. Ask remote workers for their input.While you might have your own idea of what a positive culture looks like, you won’t know what your company actually needs until you ask your employees. Send out a survey or set up calls with each worker to collect opinions.
- 3. Find the right communication space.There are many effective platforms on the web to connect employees who work from home. One of the most popular is Slack, which allows you to set up different channels, use GIFs, and share files. You can also use project management programs like Trello to keep everyone in contact during large projects.
- 4. Use video chat when possible.While you likely use chat to communicate with your employees most of the time, it’s important to talk face-to-face as well. Sometimes just putting faces and voices to the names of your coworkers can create a stronger culture. Give your employees the option to schedule one-on-one meetings via video call, for example.
- 5. Schedule occasional meetups.By setting up in-person meetups for employees who live in the same geographical location, you can build up your culture, strengthen large-scale projects, and participate in team building. Team building alone can boost engagement. In fact, a Gallup poll found that engaged employees can boost a company’s productivity by up to 200% when compared to a similar company with disengaged employees.
While there are many ways to build a strong workplace culture, you will need to get creative and think about your company’s individual needs. By thinking outside of the box, setting up a transparent work environment, and openly communicating with your employees, you can start to develop a culture that works for everyone. With some patience and initiative, you can make your virtual office a more pleasant place to work.