Have you ever noticed that at certain places of work, employees seem to enjoy coming to work, stay late and appear to be more consistently engaged? These companies all boast a strong team culture — the hard to quantify but essential day-to-day experience that many businesses strive for, but few manage to consistently achieve.
During this pandemic, with most of us working remotely, it can be challenging to build and sustain a culture. Where once we could socialize and bond through shared in-person activities, most of us are now isolated in our homes. If your workplace culture was tepid to begin with, it’s even more difficult now to improve things. There are some tried and true solutions, but these might require you to rethink some business processes.
Here are five tips to build workplace camaraderie, regardless of where your team is located.
1. Choose the right collaboration tools
When you’re working remotely on projects, you need to have an effective collaboration tool. But not all platforms are made equally. When you’re deciding on the best one for your business, you need to consider how it fits into the culture that you’re building (or trying to maintain). If your business gravitates towards a more laid-back and fun atmosphere, you’ll want to consider using a platform like Slack. There are options to share personal stories and inside jokes as well as more casual exchanges. Slack also has a more cool kid on the block vibe.
On the other hand, if your workplace is more focused on professionalism, productivity and driving results, something like Microsoft Teams may be more appropriate. We’ve taken the liberty of breaking down a few conferencing solutions, if you need additional help.
2. Incorporate team building into the work schedule
As any working professional knows, it’s difficult to be “on” all the time. We all need a little time to decompress and connect with others, even more so when we’re working remotely. If you want a strong team culture, with rapport and trust among your employees, you need to recreate the office social life dynamics. How do you do this?
- Trying pairing off two team members at random to chat, every week.
- Have a breakfast session where people from the same department come together to discuss challenges.
- Virtually introduce new employees to the entire team.
3. Create an all-encompassing culture
Your workplace culture should be consistent, regardless of where your employees are working. While we all learn and work differently, there should be set work expectations and boundaries, so that everyone meets their goals. Eliminate any guess by defining the methods for communication (i.e., how your team shares files) and metrics for progress from the outset. In doing so, you can avoid micromanaging people for the tasks you hired them to execute.
4. Emphasize shared leadership
When your employees are working remotely, there’s no easy way to monitor their output. Given that there are hundreds of distractions at home, it can be very difficult for individuals to stay engaged. If you try to give them a to-do list, they may start to feel like task monkeys and become less productive. There is a way around this – have them take the lead. Whether it’s spearheading virtual team-building exercises or mentoring new team members, the possibilities are nearly endless. Not only will this hands-off approach develop everyone’s leadership skills, but also reduce the strain on time and resources.
5. Encourage and make use of feedback
It’s a good idea to continually ask your employees for input on their remote work experience, as there is always room for improvement. Not only does this allow you to see what works and what needs improving, it helps foster a positive environment where anyone can freely speak their mind. Make sure your apply this to every new employee you bring on board.
Creating a positive team culture is only the first step to getting the most out of your employees away from the office. We’ve outlined strategies on how to deal with work from home fatigue as well as how you can safeguard the privacy of your business.