How to Build Company Culture With a Remote Team

A workplace environment in today’s world no longer involves a drive into the office. Remote work continues to trend upward, with 2014 posting a 26 percent increase in open remote job postings. It’s becoming more and more common to see people ducking into Starbucks to work than the office. The increase in virtual offices has brought a need for better tools to connect and manage teams remotely.

There are tools that help make scheduling and task management easy for remote workers, or software that allows you to assign tasks, and organize and share files in an instant, but what about connecting with your team. In the virtual world where there’s no ping pong table or water cooler to gossip around, how do you create a powerful company culture? These principles listed have helped bring many companies together, here’s an inside look.

 

Hanging Out with Buffer

The team at Buffer uses the communication tool HipChat to connect throughout the day on work related tasks, but they also use it to share what’s going on in their lives; sharing funny photos, memes or gifs. They take time out each morning to greet each other with a simple hello.

Screen-Shot-2014-11-12-at-3.35.43-PM

 

 

(image source:https://open.bufferapp.com/remote-team-connect/)

This simple hello each morning to the team is your personal connection. It plants seeds of consideration; it’s not straight to business, it’s a connection to unite the team for the upcoming workday.

 

Pair Calls

Pair calls are a random pairing each week where you’ll be assigned with someone on the team to catch up on work, life or anything else. This keeps some semblance of the office social life as part of work. This is great for larger companies as a meet and greet, or smaller companies as a chance to reconnect.

What’s great about pair calls is that they can be great in building a personal company culture, but they can also be a great team building exercise to grow and learn from each other. Have discussion points like:

  • What tools or tips do you find useful to help with time management?
  • How do you make time for professional growth- reading industry blogs, participating in professional forums, networking events, etc.
  • Explain your best team collaboration strategies for finding ideas, open communication and decision making

 

These pair calls helps employees take an introspective look at their work habits and possibly help the team connect and build themselves up together for ongoing self-improvement.

 

The Dreaded Word- Meetings

They say meetings are the place where great ideas go to die. Everyone wonders how they can get everything done in their workload when the bulk of their time is spent in meetings, or rather, falling asleep in meetings.

In the remote workplace online meetings are inevitable, but they don’t need to be impersonal. Schedule an extra 10 minutes in the beginning of the meeting to share a funny joke, tell an interesting story, discuss newsworthy things happening in the world, or maybe play a quick game. Take it a step farther and make weekly meetings themed, sunglasses on Friday, pink shirts on Wednesdays, ask the team to come up with fun themes for meetings.

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