Culture is a hot button topic in today’s business world. Culture is the ideology of a business and what comprises its personality. It’s the entire ecosystem, and how people interact within in. It follows the idea that, in an encouraging environment built to sustain the organization, employees are much more likely to be happy, stay at the company longer, and do better work.
And as modern workplaces continue to evolve, workplace culture is becoming even more important.
Remote work is another uphill trend. According to one survey of more than 15,000 adults, 43% stated that they’d done some form of remote work in the last year. This showed a four percent increase from 2012. More and more employees are considering remote work for its flexible scheduling and versatility. Employers benefit, too, as they can take a lean approach to building a multi-faceted team from around the world. Recognized companies like Basecamp, Zapier, and Buffer are all remote companies. And contrary to what many might believe, remote work can actually boost productivity and lead to higher efficiency.
Some of the best companies for workplace culture have nothing short of playgrounds as their stomping grounds (looking at you, Google and Facebook). But what if you have a remote team and can’t take advantage of the traditional benefits of a physical office to help build your company culture? Fortunately, there are some ways to achieve this. Here are our tips for building a workplace culture with a remote team:
Utilize Video Conference Technology
If your team can’t be there, why not make your meetings with them as close to the real thing as possible? One way to achieve this is to utilize state-of-the-art technology like Polycom Video Conferencing from the Video Conference Store. Conference systems like these are designed to optimize communication with off-site individuals, whether they’re clients or employees.
These products pack a strong punch: they come with multiple displays, high visual clarity, 360-degree speakers, and the ability to switch between different content sources, among other features. This ensures that, no matter how far apart your team are, you’ll still get the face time you need to humanize your staff and bridge the gap between remote and in-office culture.
In a traditional office, you would be able to collaborate in person and build a repertoire of inside jokes and stories. In the line of remote work, your collaboration tools — like Slack and Skype — are your virtual offices. These platforms offer employees the opportunity to be themselves through messaging and daily communication, as well as be effective with work.
Furthermore, cloud communication tools like Slack allow for integrations that you use during the workday, like GitHub, Trello, and HelpScout.
You can also easily organize chat rooms based on departments or projects. To truly give it that “office” feel, throw in a watercooler room, where remote team members can post funny GIFs, memes, and off-topic ideas. To spice up your remote office, here are five cool integrations that are perfect watercooler additions. And with a powerful mobile app, you can reach your team anytime, anywhere.
One of the great things about remote works is that it’s flexible; refrain from going against the grain by creating rigid schedules with your staff. You’re likely working with employees from multiple different time zones, and as long as they get their work done and meet deadlines, why not let them set their own schedules? The ability to work on a schedule that’s flexible is one of the biggest benefits of working remotely, and contributes to the overall culture of the team.
Try to get your team together once or twice a year for a company retreat, and do things that help foster your culture as a team. Here a few different types of retreats you can go on as a remote team.
Some classic company retreats are those that incorporate fun with team-building. These might include team dinners, challenging activities like obstacle courses, and wine tastings, among countless other options. Other companies will choose to attend a hackathon together. Whatever the case, reach out to your staff for input on what they’d like to see and do as part of the retreat. Collect feedback, and craft an itinerary that works with everyone’s interests.