There are 4.3 million remote workers in the United States. That’s up to 3.2% of the entire United States workforce, and the number is projected only to increase. Companies are slowly adapting to this new norm. In fact, 16% of companies in the U.S. hire only remote workers! At the same time, they are having to learn nontraditional methods of making the workplace, well, work for employees and employers. One of the most important aspects of this is creating a positive culture.
What is a positive culture?
Company culture is the ethos behind an organization or company. This ethos gives the company’s entire workforce a shared vision for both their goals and how they achieve them. It provides a standard for communication and values that translates into a common way of understanding and doing things across employees and employers. A positive culture is one where employees feel appreciated and excited about their work.
Creating a positive culture today
In the past, cultures were easy to demonstrate and pick up on because the workforce was together Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm. Forty hours of constant exposure a week was plenty to learn how to fit into the culture! And, if you wanted to create a positive culture, you could do it through something as simple as getting lunch catered in and providing a cheerfully decorated work environment.
Today, creating a positive culture is still important – employees still need to feel appreciated! However, the methods for doing so are a little bit less straightforward.
Soulheart has employees based in Phoenix, around the United States, and in international locations. Several of us have never met in person. We can’t exactly have lunch together – but we’ve still managed to develop a positive culture where we feel valued. Here are some tips to help you make this happen with your company’s remote team.
1. Use an Instant messaging platform
Difficult communication is the quickest way to ruin your team’s morale and hurt your positive culture. Don’t rely on email or texting to keep your employees on the same page. This will inevitably lead to confusion, and unresolved confusion will translate into a frustrating work environment.
At Soulheart, we use Slack to send messages to each other and groups of teams working on particular projects. All of the team members have the ability to message each other, which means that we don’t spend time on unnecessary back and forth or go-betweens. Everything is direct and simple.
2. Do regular video chats
Once you’ve done enough video chats, they don’t seem much different from in-person interactions!
Schedule regular video chats – weekly is great, but twice-monthly also gets the job done. In these meetings, you’ll probably bring an agenda of things to discuss, but also allow employees to have some time for more personal conversation. As they get to know each other better, they’ll work more efficiently together – a win-win for everyone.
Giving your team a chance to encourage each other as well as offer suggestions will help everyone become comfortable working together and, ideally, develop a liking for each other! You can’t enjoy working with someone that you don’t know, and video chats make that an unnecessary hindrance for even a remote team.
3. Have a ready-made employee manual
This employee manual should contain a section on culture and be given and reviewed by each new hire. Think of this as a cheat sheet to how your company works. In this section, include things like:
- Your values and examples for how they play out. For example, If you value client relations, that would mean that you expect client emails to be returned in 24 hours.
- Your mission statement, including 3 characteristics that all employees have.
At Soulheart, these three are:
- Profit-Minded: We do what works – what allows us to scale and keep growing
- Creative: We come up with innovative solutions to longstanding problems
- Tenacious: We see the end game and are willing to work for it
Having this laid out for new employees makes expectations crystal-clear so that they know what to expect and their role to play in maintaining a positive culture.
4. Be quick to encourage
People need to be told when they’ve done a great job. This has a practical reason – they might not know that they did something exceptional that you want them to repeat!
Set the standard of pointing out what is excellent. When your employees know that they are valued, they will also be quick to express appreciation to each other.
5. Frequently ask for feedback
Always remember that your employees are a treasure trove of information about your company. Frequently offer and invite them to give you feedback. When they give a suggestion that seems helpful, take advantage of it. Be willing to try out their ideas and thank them for your feedback – even if you hear something you wish you hadn’t! This will show employees a tangible positive impact that they have had.
If you follow these five tips, your remote team will be able to work together more strongly and together build a positive culture!
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