Remote work is not new but with the peak of COVID-19 pandemic, it has become a better option to continue business operations. Many companies benefited from this work setup to maintain operations, increase productivity and hire the best talents from anywhere.
Business leaders can attest the effectiveness and efficiency of their distributed teams. On the other hand, there are some who feel that remote work is not for their enterprise.
Industry giants such as Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Spotify, Adobe, Capital One, and many more have adapted the remote work set up. These companies have distributed teams across the globe.
BUT the main question remains, why do some organizations reap the benefits of remote work and others don’t?
In this article, we will share some ways on how to unify your remote staff and how you might possibly create the best work culture for your organization.
As Steve Jobs said;
“Great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”
Hence, teamwork and effective collaboration will bring solidarity to your global teams. Solidarity is an idea of shared interests, objectives, and standards among your remote workforce.
Furthermore, if they live from different countries, how will you approach and convince all of your remote employees to have solidarity?
Creating Your Remote Work Culture
Putting together a team is one thing; getting it to work together is another. It takes courage to get individuals from diverse backgrounds and cultures, temperaments, and personalities to operate as one mind and body. Positive work culture and excellent communication enable a team to do much more than just finish projects; these principles help them to excel in their jobs and achieve their work objectives.
Active Collaboration and Coordination
Technology brought collaboration tools and revolutionized how we manage, learn and work. However, many companies focus on upgrading their systems and not optimizing their workflows. For an analogy, it’s like buying your remote team the best basketball shoes and expecting them to play like NBA players when they use them.
By active collaboration, your remote employees won’t mind the physical distance and other barriers to bond as a team.
Industry leaders are creating strategies to retain or expand their existing work-from-home arrangements. However, most of them overlooked the need to resolve the emotional and mental aspects of working remotely. As a team leader, you should take the initiative to resolve situations like these to avoid demoralization and low productivity. Organize formal quarterly surveys or monthly email status updates from each employee to assess your team’s mood at any time.
Your global team should work in unison. Yet, many employees are unaware of what their coworkers are doing or how everyone contributes to the big picture, which is your bottom line. Now, you can use platforms for coordination like Slack, Google Workspace or Microsoft teams . So your remote team can know how and when to offer updates, assess deliverables, and make choices as part of a team. But sometimes, processes are not enough. You must model and enforce culture. Let them handle small projects to test their skills and nurture them as future managers. Furthermore, as a leader of any tasks or projects, they will find a need to communicate with other members of the team and collaborate together towards a common goal.
Remember the time when we work in our physical office. We have informal ways to communicate with our colleagues. We talk in the hallways and introduce ourselves to other department staff. We gather and share meals in the pantry and celebrate occasions together. We comfortably sit in the lounge during short breaks and talk to other personnel. These social interactions are essential for the communication of the team.
As you create your online team culture, you should communicate with each team member and make them aware that their output has a significant impact on the performance of the business to develop a stronger sense of responsibility for the team. Employees who have a better grasp of their job’s immediate impact on the business are more likely to be involved. When employees believe their work matters to someone else, they perform better.
As we go virtual on our meetings, video conferences are the second best to have face-to-face interactions. You can explain work instructions and ideas to your workforce while you see their body language and gestures. Virtual team-building rituals allow people to interact and collaborate.
Meanwhile, text-based communication places less emphasis on interpersonal skills. For this reason, some of the most popular platforms for remote teams such as Zoom or Goto, offer this built-in functionality.
Regular updates and the frequency of communication minimize the chance of setbacks and develop employee’s confidence. As a business leader or manager, schedule a one-on-one check-in meeting with all your remote staff regularly. Mutual trust and understanding must be established in order to function effectively.
The best way to foster team performance is to decrease the affinity gap. For most communication, regular video chats are better for building connection and empathy than emails or voice meetings. Remote employees who engage with one another pleasantly and efficiently accomplish a better job and do it with more delight. These two traits are essential for any business that wants international growth.
Offer Emotional Support
Managers identify the fears and concerns of their team members and sympathize with their problems. Any signs like low productivity and frequent absences may convey stress and anxiety.
During the worldwide lockdown, both our physical and emotional well-being suffer from burnout. Employees need more than just sick leaves and health screenings. They also need a plan to protect their entire wellness. Sometimes they only need a tap on the shoulder, a listening ear, a genuine smile, or the smallest act of caring to turn their situations around.
Employees look up to their leaders as strong individuals who can guide them with all the challenges and adversities at work. Hence, acknowledging their stress and anxiety in difficult situations will uplift their self-esteem.
Wellness and Training
The work-from-anywhere setup is thought to make work-life balance simpler. On the other hand, some remote employees feel uncomfortable taking a day off. Furthermore, working from home tends to encroach on their personal time, making it more difficult for them.
As a result, you must prioritize health and well-being while developing a corporate culture for your remote employees. Regular one-on-one health and wellness check-ins are a great place to start. Take the time to discuss and understand your employees’ issues; some of them may have unique physical, emotional and mental reasons for working remotely. Encourage them to take advantage of their vacation leaves so that they may relax and unwind during these periods.
Meanwhile, frequent training across teams and distances may bring employees together. As a consequence, don’t overlook the value of online training when it comes to the growth of your remote teams. Ensure that your training is well-organized, engaging, and allows for remote collaboration. Whether it’s onboarding, upskilling, or compliance training, all training programs should lead to employee interaction and development.
Getting team members to adopt agreed values isn’t easy. People have different sets of cultural beliefs and social standards depending on where they are and if they work in an office or remotely. It necessitates a well-thought-out strategy and consistent execution. However, there are several advantages to healthier work culture, including increased productivity, happier employees, and cost savings.
Olivia Yu has decades of experience in the Human Resources industry. She’s the Regional Director for Asia Pacific of a famous international HR company. Olivia’s international experience inspires her to write articles about human resources and global staffing.