Company culture. Historically, it has always been a major component of any place of business. But as the concept of remote, or dispersed, workforces continues to gain in popularity, it begs the question: How does one cultivate that culture when so many members of their team are rarely in the same room at the same time?
When it comes to managing a remote team, it’s important that you keep those scattered team members front of mind so they don’t begin to feel neglected or as though they aren’t truly a part of the group. Even though they may not always be physically present, there are a few steps you can take to help maintain a healthy company culture and keep everyone involved.
Create a Culture Code
When everybody works in the same office, it doesn’t take long for newcomers to pick up on what behaviors are and aren’t acceptable. But the same can’t be said for remote workers. Particularly if these are people interacting with customers or clients, it’s important to create an official guide that highlights the company’s values, along with how they’re expected to behave when engaging in official company business.
Write it Down, Send it Out
It can be easy to forget that, while information spreads around the average office quickly by word of mouth, remote employees don’t have that same luxury. Distributing regular written communications that keep everyone in the know is a simple way to rectify this. As new, important developments arise, include this information in a weekly email (or internal message board … whatever works best for you), so everyone is as up to date as possible.
Check in Regularly
In the office, you’re bound to routinely run into your team, so it’s easy to have a quick catch-up and get updated on things. But with remote employees, those chance encounters don’t happen. Instead, book periodic check-ins; this keeps you in the loop with what they’re up to, and it keeps them feeling like a part of the team. You can even take a step further and arrange for monthly video conferences that bring the whole workforce together for a group update.
Keep Everyone Connected
Besides email and phone, how are your employees able to regularly stay in touch? Giving them access to a digital chat tool, where they can shoot off messages in real time and get responses from anyone who happens to be listening/reading, can help everyone feel more a part of the team. Services like Slack, which is particularly beneficial for its chat room–style feature, can serve as a virtual watercooler of sorts.
Schedule Face-to-Face Time
At the end of the day, nothing beats good old fashioned in-person interaction. Depending on the size of your company and your budget, the frequency of these encounters can be monthly, quarterly, or even annually. The point is: Bringing everyone together in the same room helps remote employees connect with their colleagues on a level that emails and even video chat doesn’t allow.
With just a few extra steps taken, even the most widely dispersed team of mobile workers can still develop and maintain a company culture that works for everyone involved and leaves no one feeling excluded.
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