3 Steps to Building a Connected Remote Work Culture

connected remote work cultureFor many companies (and their employees), remote work is a double-edged sword. While it brings promises of greater flexibility and work-life balance, it can also lead to misalignment between in-house and remote team cultures and cause employees to feel disconnected from each other.

That’s why it is so important for leaders and managers to actively cultivate positive remote work cultures.

 

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By tapping into the advantages of remote work, while mitigating its unique challenges, you can create strong teams that are just as productive, engaged, and connected as their in-house counterparts.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • Pros and cons of working remotely
  • 3 steps for building a remote working culture

 

Pros and cons of working remotely

 

In order to build a successful remote work culture, it’s important to understand both the pros and the cons of working remotely so you can anticipate and address challenges, and optimize your advantages.

 

Pros of remote work culture

There are compelling benefits to working remotely for both employees and the company.

Remote work:

  • Increases employee engagement and satisfaction. Employees value flexibility and feel empowered to do their jobs when their managers trust them to work outside the office. Plus, working remotely can promote better work-life balance, which helps employees feel happier and more satisfied at work.
  • Boosts productivity. Research shows that remote workers are more focused and put in more hours than their in-house counterparts. They also take fewer breaks, ask for less time off, and are less likely to leave the company.
  • Attracts and retains top talent. Offering remote work options not only expands the pool of qualified applicants but also makes your employer brand more competitive.
  • Builds results-oriented teams. Remote teams can help you move away from micromanaging leadership styles to focus more on results rather than administrative tasks and meetings. This creates a high-performing, results-oriented culture that is more valuable for your business and more empowering for your employee.

 

Cons of remote work culture

Of course, remote work isn’t all sunshine. There are some key challenges and drawbacks that you need to be prepared to address and mitigate.

Remote work challenges can include:

  • Juggling different time zones
  • Aligning multiple cultures across the organization
  • Increased conflict due to miscommunication and lack of in-person facilitation
  • Mixed schedules and lack of real-time collaboration
  • Lack of trust between management and employees they can’t monitor in the office
  • Building team camaraderie and connection remotely

Distance can create plenty of obstacles to a strong team culture. But when you understand the unique challenges of remote work, you can help your team overcome those obstacles and create a thriving and productive culture.

 

3 steps for building a remote working culture

 

Start building a strong remote work culture today with the following tips and strategies.

 

1. Be intentional.

Culture doesn’t happen by accident or in a vacuum. So be intentional in your efforts to cultivate a strong, connected culture in and out of the office. This starts by communicating and setting expectations with your team early on.

For example, clarify what your standard communication channels and workflow processes will look like. That way everyone is on the same page, knows what to expect, and understands how to do their jobs. This will prevent a lot of confusion and misalignment that can occur when people are working remotely and trying to navigate different schedules and projects.

By approaching remote team management with intention, you can make better, more strategic decisions that will support and create the kind of culture you want to see.

 

2. Implement a robust onboarding process.

Set your people off on the right foot with a clear and robust onboarding process. A good onboarding process will orient new remote hires to the team and their individual responsibilities so they know what to expect and have the resources to get the job done.

Building a successful remote onboarding process will take time. Consider including the following steps to set the right tone for new hires.

 

Get new hires excited to start.

Before your new remote employee even starts, help get them excited about their new team. Send them a personalized email introducing yourself and sharing fun or interesting information about the team. Consider scheduling a virtual meet-and-greet with a couple coworkers. That way they will know some friendly faces on their first day and can start building those connections on day one.

 

Share essential info.

New employees will have lots of questions and are likely to have information overload when they first start. Help them find the most important info  by compiling it in one shared source, like a Google doc or a company intranet. This virtual “welcome packet” should include details such as org charts, a team calendar, project workflows, and links to HR forms like employee benefits.

A good onboarding process helps you start new hires on a positive note so they join the team excited and ready to contribute with confidence.

 

3. Connect employees to purpose.

Build your remote team culture around a shared purpose. Teams that are united in purpose are less likely to have conflict around mismatched goals and competing priorities.

Of course, getting to that point is easier said than done.

As the team leader, you play an important role in setting the tone for your team dynamics. Get your remote team on the same page by:

  • Aligning team goals with organizational strategy.
  • Communicating regularly about team goals.
  • Connecting employee goals and projects to team objectives. 
  • Creating a feedback culture to continually align the team’s work.
  • Connecting personally through team activities and after-work events.

When your team is aligned in purpose, they can move more effectively towards the same shared goals.

 


 

Building a strong, connected remote team takes time. But the investment is worth it. As you intentionally and strategically foster connection and build channels for clear communication and feedback, your remote team will be happy and productive.

Understand how remote work could be impacting employee engagement in your organization by downloading our research, 2020 Employee Engagement Trends Report.

2020 Employee Engagement Trends Report