December 21, 2020

The lingering uncertainty caused by the pandemic has made remote working a de facto norm. Regardless of whether you and your team are “in office” or “at home,” your company’s culture shouldn’t be compromised. Encouraging open communication and the active sharing of ideas can still happen, but it takes more effort, trust and empathy. Creating a culture is one thing, but maintaining it is another, so here are five ways to make your team united, motivated and collaborative (even if you are not physically in the same room). 

Trust your people

Instead of attempting to micromanage every aspect of your team’s work, have the trust that they will deliver and complete their tasks. In fact, monitoring can appear intrusive, hinder progress and dampen their morale. If you don’t want employees to start resenting you, use Trello board for the team to share their schedules or tools such as Slack so they can interact (formally and informally) without having to Zoom all the time. You can also create personal goals for your staff in Asana where they can give updates on their progress. 

Recreate office perks and benefits

Most employees enjoy the additional perks that come with an office environment. Even if your entire team is based from home, you can still buy them lunch once a month by having it delivered to them. Or send bottled cocktails during happy hour. These practices are nice gestures that not only strengthen bonds but also keep motivation high. In a bid to help employees connect and socialise, global remote company Zapier buddies up two random team members and allows them to have weekly chat sessions. Similarly, Pinterest groups employees together according to their common interest and gives them time to bond over their hobbies.

Implement a flexible work schedule

Having a fixed and rigid number of working hours could hamper productivity. A more accurate measure is the quality of work produced and the number of tasks completed. Each individual’s level of productivity varies, so find out what works best for them. As long as they are meeting their KPIs, employees should have liberty over their time. An alternative to an allotted schedule is to assign deadlines and let your staff tell you how much time they need to meet those targets.

This greater work flexibility allows them to organise their time more efficiently based on the amount of effort an assignment requires. For example, those who are parents may need to rush home by 6pm to attend to their children, but will pick up where they left off at night. When you show that you take into account their “lifestyle”, they become more loyal to the organisation. 

Encourage communication 

Another way to maintain a culture of trust is to be transparent and communicative even when you don’t see them physically. Let your employees know that you will always be available to listen to their feedback or to lend a helping hand. Empower them to share any concerns they have about their professional growth, and hold regular virtual conversations to address any grievances. Also, laying down communication standards early will prevent your staff from getting inundated with unnecessary messages and make communication more streamlined and effective. If you don’t have a company newsletter, consider sending it out monthly to keep everyone  in the loop.

Take care of your staff’s mental well-being

A vital part of maintaining a positive work culture is to look after the mental well-being of your remote workers. In order to reinforce a culture of empathy and support, check in with your employees frequently and consider allowing them to take time out for mental relaxation if they are feeling too fatigued or overwhelmed. Run surveys and ask questions to find out how they are feeling. Another aspect of ensuring the positive mental health of employees is to practise inclusivity, especially for newer staff who have yet to establish strong relationships with their colleagues. Make sure no one feels left out at events or gatherings.