Team Building: How to Build Employee Culture While Working Remotely

Creating an effective company culture has been shown to reduce turnover, increase productivity and have overall happier employees, but it can be tough to maintain when workplaces are shifting to remote and online environments.

Whether your staff has been working from home for the past year or rotating between home and the office, there is no doubt that for most of us there has been a change in our working environment. Regardless of where your team works, it is so important to make sure they still feel in touch with the company and the best way to do this is to create a positive environment.

After successfully transitioning to virtual operations, it’s time to look at how you can foster a supportive and receptive culture.

Here are some recommendations for building a positive online work environment.

Communication is key

It’s no surprise that communication plays a big role in establishing a culture within a company, particularly online. Think about a company that doesn’t openly communicate amongst its team members. How do you think they perceive one another, and how do you think the public perceives them as a whole? Companies should strive to embody the values set forth in their vision, starting from the top-down. This ensures that even though your employees may be working virtually, they’ll be aware that they’re working towards the same common goal(s).

Make sure you are meeting with your team at least once a week, ideally via a video call – whether that’s via Zoom, Skype or Teams.

Being able to see each other’s faces is extremely important for understanding emotions and levels of engagement. It’s also helpful to create a welcoming environment for new employees who may have started with your company after the initiation of your virtual operations. It’s also worth engaging in some non-work-related conversations with your team, too. During team meetings, for example, you might want to dedicate some time to informal chit-chat to create a sense of camaraderie among your team.

Read: Here’s how you can make your online meetings more effective. 

Make time for some fun

We may be limited in our abilities to host in-person gatherings at the moment, but that shouldn’t stop us from encouraging our employees to relax and have a little fun. Employee burnout is an issue that business owners need to be aware of and mitigate as best as possible. Although businesses tend to appreciate hard-working employees who always go the extra mile, it’s important not to enable your employees to work beyond their means.

Instead of creating a culture of non-stop work, let your employees know that it’s ok to slow down once in a while. Hosting virtual luncheons or happy hours, trivia breaks, or other non-work-related events can help break up their workday. You might want to even run a contest or online game like Kahoot!

Recognition goes a long way

When’s the last time you genuinely thanked your employees for their contributions? We should never be too busy to recognise the people who keep our businesses running. Recognition doesn’t need to be costly; in fact, a quick email or message thanking someone on your team for their efforts can often do the trick. But if you do choose to spend some money, small tokens of appreciation such as gift cards for coffee or food delivery may also be appreciated by your employees.

While many large companies resort to formal recognitions such as “Employee of the Month”,  focus on recognising your entire workforce at this time rather than focusing on one individual.

Now that many companies are choosing to permanently keep their virtual operations, the need for an employee culture will be even greater.

Read next: How to develop stronger relationships with your team