5 Ways to Build A Strong Company Culture within Remote Teams
What is Culture Anyway?
When I think about company culture, I tend to look at it much like user experience, but for employees. Culture is how employees experience working at your company or on your team.
In a job market where some industries struggle to find candidates, employers should embrace this concept and ensure they provide a strong culture and good experience.
Organizational culture has a demonstrated direct impact on worker productivity, reducing absenteeism and turnover, and dramatically improving morale - all which impact profitability.
Several different factors influence a company's overall culture, and when your employees work in the different offices – or even states – understanding how you can help build a culture with your teams and employees who work remotely becomes even more important.
1. Encourage Water Cooler Chatter:
For the remote workplace, tools that centralize communication will enable you to keep everyone on the same page, moving toward the same goal.
Since you don’t have the advantage of rounding everyone up for an all-hands meeting in the same way you would with co-located teams, you need a way to provide direction, information and project status quickly and consistently. The right tools can keep everyone moving forward toward your goals. Whether you utilize a group chat program like Slack, Google Hangouts, or Chatter you’ll want to find a system that works for your meetings, project check-ins.
A co-located office staff gains its own personality & builds relationships through shared experiences or inside jokes, and a remote team needs to develop something similar to encourage general banter among team members.
Using your group chat programs to share memes, jokes, movie recommendations, sports results, and anything else the group finds interesting are all ways to learn more about each other outside of projects and day-to-day tasks.
2. Quality Face Time:
In person meet-ups really help to build connections in your teams. At Movista, we try to get the whole company together at least twice per year for company meetings. In addition to sharing company updates and setting strategic goals, we take time for activities that foster our culture and build our teams.
We host intense Wiffle ball and Baggo (Cornhole) tournaments (... Did I mention we’re very competitive?), dinners, museum outings, and movie theater takeovers. Getting everyone to participate in group activities help us learn more about each other’s lives and families in a way that we couldn't experience in a normal week working apart.
3. Music Subscriptions:
At Movista, we have “Music Fridays” where our group joins a Hangout on TogetherTube.com. We can submit songs and music videos under the weekly theme (songs with numbers, songs about colors, songs based on beats per minute.)
Once people submit songs to the list, everyone gets a chance to vote on what should be played next. It’s a fun way to find songs you might not have known before – and to learn about people’s taste in music – however obscure.
4. Local Community Sponsorships:
We’re also fully committed to giving back (whether it’s our time, manpower or money) to the communities in which we live. We’ve allocated 5 hours/month to each of our employees to donate time to their favorite non-profit.
This applies to our remote workforce, as well. Any time someone on the team wants to do something like this in their city, we're happy to sponsor. As we continue to grow, I love the vision of having our company represented in communities all around the world.
5. A Little Taste of Home … Office:
Your home office probably has design that reflects your culture—things like posters, branded graphics, candy for snacking... To really bring your remote workers closer to the culture, you could ship them things that reflect the same design aesthetic and culture elements to display or use in their offices at home. Think: posters, t-shirts, or cool branded swag for their desks. (Not just tchotchkes that end up in the trash).
These little things can have a big impact on your bottom line. Making sure your remote workers feel included, remembered, and appreciated can help ensure that you retain that talent base you worked so hard to recruit.