Although it was a scramble for many businesses to adapt to remote working when the pandemic hit in early 2020, now, having a team of employees spread across the country, or even the globe, has become the new normal. Thanks to modern technology, it’s easier than ever for companies to make the switch to home or hybrid working, and more are doing so due to the rewards they reap in return.
Moving away from office-based working saves your staff the expense and stress of commuting, enables them to spend more time doing the things they enjoy and gives them greater flexibility. In turn, they can better juggle their duties and other aspects of their life, like parenting. Plus, a happier and more fulfilled team means fewer unscheduled absences, higher retention rates and a considerable uplift in performance. One survey conducted by Gartner on 10,000 WHF employees from the US, Europe, and Asia reported that 43% of respondents said their productivity increased when able to choose where they work, and 30% felt they achieved more during the day because of spending less time travelling to and from the office.
However, there are downsides, as, without regular interaction from colleagues and managers, people can start to forget company values and are sometimes less inclined to push themselves for the common good. To counteract this, it’s essential leaders foster a sense of connection and belonging, although this can be tricky when your staff are at a distance from one another and possibly haven’t even met. Don’t worry — that’s why we’ve put together this helpful guide to explain how to build a strong culture with a remote team.
Encourage Open Communication and Feedback
For remote working to be successful long-term, open and honest communication is a must. Luckily, chat software, such as Slack and Microsoft Teams, make it easier to bring your staff together. Unlike email, these desktop apps enable individuals to drop in and out of conversations quickly, ask questions, offer suggestions and talk informally, similar to how they would in the office.
It’s a good idea to create a “watercooler” channel, too, where your staff can discuss topics other than work and get to know each other on a personal level. Just be sure you don’t bombard your team with messages as it can be distracting and might make them feel they always need to be online and ready to answer, even after hours.
Create Opportunities for Collaboration
Similar to communication, encouraging people to interact with each other is all about breaking down barriers. Ensure everyone, including new starters, has access to Google Drive, Asana, Trello or other collaborative platforms where teams can manage their projects together, see who’s working on what and leave comments.
Also, introduce weekly face-to-face meetings where all departments come together to hear key business updates and participate in virtual activities, such as trivia games or lunch-and-learns, where an expert offers insights on a particular subject. Use these catch-ups as an open forum where everyone present can add their thoughts — just make sure you regularly ask quieter attendees for their input so they feel included and comfortable enough to contribute.
Show Your Staff Recognition for Their Hard Work
Saying thanks to someone sitting at the desk next to you is second nature. Unfortunately, when working at a distance, leaders often forget to offer these token signs of appreciation, leaving employees feeling confused about whether or not they’re doing a good job.
Clear Review’s performance management software features a whole suite of tools designed to help manage remote workers, including the ability to give and request feedback in real-time. These intuitive forms allow you to immediately suggest improvements or reward people with the recognition they deserve after going above and beyond on a particular task.
Featuring tools to set agile goals, send feedback forms and have meaningful conversations, Clear Review’s continuous performance management software makes monitoring your remote employees’ engagement and performance straightforward. To see it in action for free, fill out our book a demo form, and one of our expert team will be in touch.