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Researchers predict 73% of teams will include remote workers by 2028, but few companies make building and maintaining their culture with all workers – including virtual ones – a priority.
Companies with remote teams should proactively create a connected culture. When you create a positive company culture, you do more than make work more enjoyable – you gain a big competitive advantage.
Companies with cultures that foster employee engagement see nearly 60% more revenue per worker than average.
Culture is the personality of a company. It defines the environment in which employees work and includes both the spoken and unspoken rules for how things get done in a company.
A positive virtual culture requires trust. Employers may worry that their remote workers will underperform, but, in reality, remote workers often work harder than office workers. You don’t need to micromanage employees who work from their homes. Instead, check on their progress regularly so you discover any problems early.
Treat remote workers as responsible adults, giving them autonomy and flexibility.
This policy will contribute to their happiness and, in turn, they will feel a greater sense of loyalty to your company, thus building the foundations of a positive culture. Companies that have cultures rooted in trust see several benefits, including a 50% decrease in turnover rates, better stock market performance, and increased worker productivity, innovation and engagement.
The culture you create reflects the rules – both official and unspoken – that your company embraces. Before you create a virtual culture, reflect on your current culture. Ask why you provide the services or products you offer and what core values inform the decisions people make at your company. Examine your traditions – which can encompass anything from how you celebrate wins to what leisure activities team members enjoy together. All these things reinforce your culture and values.
After you identify and redefine your culture, start adding in virtual components. Everything your company does, from the way you conduct sales calls to the collaboration tools you use, should align with your core culture. Try to be flexible. Understand that remote workers will have different distractions – children interrupting, doorbells ringing – than office workers. Prioritize moments of human connection among your remote workers.
For example, you might create space for informal chats before virtual meetings and encourage – but not require – people to turn on their videos.
Consider which aspects of your virtual and core cultures you can and can’t teach, then hire people who already possess the cultural aspects you value but couldn't teach, the intrinsic aspects of your culture. For example, teaching someone to be kind isn’t easy, so if you and your culture value this trait, screen potential hires to make sure they act with kindness. The teachable aspects of your culture, by contrast, might include certain skills and a core of knowledge about work-related topics, such as delivering projects to clients or working from home more efficiently.
Few businesses train workers in their culture – more than 60% of companies don’t mention their culture when onboarding new employees. If you want your workers to embody your culture, teach them about it. Consider creating a culture curriculum highlighting the cultural traits you prioritize, such as diversity or collaboration.
If you want a great culture, you have to actually tell your employees what your culture is and what it means to live up to it.
Virtual relationships can develop into strong connections, just as in-person relationships do in the office, but remote connections may require extra effort. Create strong relationships by making an effort to be vulnerable and encouraging team members to do the same. When people display vulnerability, it triggers oxytocin production in those around them, increasing cooperation and feelings of empathy and trust.
Consider bringing more of your personality to work: Perhaps you could craft a clever auto-reply or share small details about your life to help your colleagues feel a greater connection with you. Leave time for people to chat about non-work topics before virtual meetings to encourage distant team members to get to know one another.
For example, the virtual call’s facilitator could spur conversation by asking a lighthearted question that prompts people to share details about themselves before the meeting.
Vulnerability is the secret ingredient and shortest route to building any strong, collaborative relationship, whether your relationship is strictly virtual or in person.
Be mindful that misunderstandings can cause conflicts during remote meetings since people have more difficulty interpreting one another’s tone of voice or body language in virtual communication settings.
Use all available metrics to measure your corporate culture. Figure out how frequently you’ll gather feedback on your culture and which sources you’ll draw from to make sure you have at least one quantifiable metric you can study over time. External sources – such as web platforms like Glassdoor that allow people to rate their employers – as well as internal feedback systems that use anonymous employee surveys are potent forms of data.
Take time to enhance your culture by finding the best collaboration tool(Slack, Teams etc.) to facilitate internal communication and cooperation in your organization. Employees can become frustrated if they lack effective methods for connecting with one another and streamlining their workflow.
The right collaboration platform builds your virtual culture, creates community, connects new hires to your culture, breaks down silos, facilitates multigenerational collaboration, creates greater transparency, improves employee engagement and collects data on how people collaborate.
Establish boundaries – Contrary to popular belief, many remote workers work too much.
Choose your workspace carefully – Work somewhere with minimal distractions.
Schedule time for breaks – Take time for activities, such as exercising at midday.
Create your own schedule – Figure out the times of day when you are most productive.
Don’t isolate yourself – Take time to connect with your co-workers, either virtually or in person.
Stay present and focused – Don’t try to multitask during conference calls.
Build relationships – Get to know your teammates virtually.
Businessman, entrepreneur, thinker. Working on the
The lifting of pandemic-era restrictions paves the way for millions of workers to return to their offices. For many employees, however, this is not an attractive prospect. And considering that talent is scarce, employers must think twice about ordering people back full-time.
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