Nine Ways To Boost Company Culture With Remote Workers
These days, many teams are made up of both in-house and remote staff. But this type of office arrangement is not without its challenges. After all, with part of the team not physically present, it can be harder to communicate, check in and maintain a cohesive company culture. Fortunately, technology has helped to bridge that gap.
- Live your company values every day.
A coherent company culture happens by being consistent in living the values every day, from the founders and the leadership team down to the framework and documentation where that culture is executed. We encourage ad-hoc informal meetings, when walking to get coffee or doing other non-work experiences, for further bonding time. - Arry Yu, StormX
- Celebrate your company culture.
We have a #kudos channel on Slack and a #failwall channel, in addition to fun ones such as #photos and #music. These channels help us keep the team informed when anyone does something that enforces the culture. Or, if they didn’t, we share what we can all learn from it. When we do team-building calls, we have everyone in the same room be on their own computer and camera so that the remote employees don’t feel left out. We all talk better together that way and no one gets preferential treatment. - Adelaida Sofia Diaz-Roa, Nomo FOMO
- Hire employees in various life stages.
Our team has a great mix of employees at different life stages: recent college graduates, mid-twenties staff, mid-thirties professionals, etc. I have found this dynamic works really well as it reduces competition in the workplace, and instead creates an environment where everyone can learn from each other. My younger hires are inevitably more adept and comfortable with social media and tend to be more in the know on up-and-coming platforms. My mid-level employees have a few years of experience under their belts and are eager to make change and an impact on the company. My older hires have established successful strategies and processes for seeing projects through. Various life stages bring different interests and perspectives, which play a key role in keeping our company relevant. - Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR
Have video conference calls. Scheduling regular video conference calls creates camaraderie and professionalism that blends into the way most people in the world are communicating today. The use of video conference calls is a blend of the traditional phone conference call and the casual social media chat. Putting a face behind the voice allows for more upfront and personal correspondence. Being able to see the facial expressions that come with a verbal message will result in better communication, eliminating misunderstandings and even bringing out people’s humor. Personalities just come through much better on video. I do one every week for all of my portfolio companies through Zoom. I have a different team member kick each one off with something that piqued their curiosity. We all learn, then we get down to business. - Codie Sanchez, Www.CodieSanchez.com
Start with someone who is a good fit, then build processes.
Communication is key, but first and foremost you need to hire people who already fit within your culture. We use Slack for messaging to keep lines of communication open. We also do a monthly happy hour or fun company event, and quarterly meetings in person. We give every employee a mentor who they meet with and talk to often. We send monthly communication to everyone on our team, giving them high-level updates, and make sure they know who to go to for what. Having processes and procedures in place is crucial. We recently implemented BambooHR, a system that allows people to put in their PTO and hours available, as well as access their information from HR remotely. We use a system for our invoicing and timecards that is also completely remote and can be accessed via phone. We use a cloud-based system for all of our accounting files and software that people need to access for their clients. - Jennifer A Barnes, Pro Back Office, LLC
- Have well-defined roles.
In order for remote staff to feel like a part of the in-office team, it is important to have well-defined roles for each person in your business. From there, you must establish procedures that explain the workflow in the office step by step, incorporating the roles of each person. For example, in our business, one specific person meets with clients to gather information and that information is passed to our virtual employee, who then prepares the necessary forms and documents. The virtual employee then passes those documents to another in-person employee who prints and assembles the forms and documents, and another in-office person meets with clients to review and sign. Each person has their role and because the roles are clear, all team members are dependent on one another to complete tasks. - Ally Lozano, Ally Lozano LLC
- Do everything remotely.
We have a good mix of in-office staff and remote employees; however, everything we do revolves around the remote work setting. All of our communication is done through Slack, even if a person is sitting across from another, to make sure that that information is being captured to everyone else on the team. We also do video conference standup calls every day with everyone on the team, but the calls are done at home before everyone comes into the office. This creates the illusion that everyone, including in-office staff, is working remotely. - Jinny Hyojin Oh, WANDR
- Invest in company culture.
There are two things that have helped bring our remote and in-office staff closer together. The first is Slack, which we use as our primary daily communication tool. We keep our team conversations in public channels so everyone can be on the same page, whether you’re in the office or in Jakarta. The second thing that has bridged the remote and local staff gap is dedicated team-building events. We bring our remote employees to town for events throughout the year and pay for their travel expenses. The expense is worth it. The camaraderie that’s developed from these few visits a year is priceless and helps build relationships that will bring value to the company for years to come. - Sara Rose Harcus, Dmanna
- Leverage communication technology.
I’ve seen that remote working is no different from working inside the office. At the office, I still see that productivity is inhibited and there’s a lack of creativity. There are always ways to make things work through remote environments and one way is by having an escape. I like to explore a different city or country with the group, which helps us strengthen our bonds and build stronger relationships with one another. Sometimes when you set some time off and get to know individual team members, you can create a more stable environment. On a daily basis, we constantly use Slack and Google Hangouts to ensure we are getting things done. Everything is results driven and isn’t focused on micromanagement or daily check-ins. We work as a team to collaborate and get things done and, most of all, drive results. - Sweta Patel, Silicon Valley Startup Marketing
By Young Entrepreneur Council; First published on Forbes.com August 21, 2018