8 Signs of Good Work Culture – Even at a Remote CompanyAUTHOR: James Dorian
According to Buffer’s State of Remote Work 2019 report, 91% of businesses intend to support remote work in the future. That’s up from 88% in the 2018 report. With the Coronavirus pandemic that revolutionized the way we work, next year’s report is going to be even more supportive of teamworks at home.
The 2019 report shows that 40% of remote workers love the flexible schedule, and 30% consider the ability to work from any location as the greatest advantage.
All the beneficial stats in last year’s report are from companies and workers that have been doing this for a longer time. The Remote Work Report from Usefyi shows that 42% of the workers who are 100% remote have been working like that for 5+ years. They have already developed a team culture, which creates a more effective working environment.
What happens with the businesses who just started promoting teamworks at home, since the pandemic forced them to? Those companies are in a difficult situation: it’s hard for them to translate the office work culture into the new setting.
You might think that it’s impossible to achieve the same level of team culture when the team works at home. But it is! Even a completely remote company can encourage an excellent connection between its team members.
We’ll list the definite signs that show the work culture in a remote company is on point.
1. The Management Addresses the Greatest Downside of Remote Teams
What is your ideal company culture? Most people would imagine a happy, energizing workplace that brings the employees together. They help each other with the tasks, but they talk about private matters as well. They often gather for after-work drinks and conversations.
Such a connection is hard to achieve in a remote team, and that’s the greatest disadvantage. But the management can address this issue. For example, they can schedule sessions for group FaceTime on Mac. This would replace the casual conversations that occur within the usual workplace. They will bring the entire team together. Everyone will have their coffee ready, and the manager will lead the conversation with relaxed topics.
2. Ideally, the Team Members Can Meet in Person
When there is a chance for the management to organize a real team-building event, they should do it. In a remote company, it’s hard for the colleagues to get to know each other. Yes; the online communication tools can help. But nothing can replace the face-to-face connection that happens during a team-building event.
If it’s impossible to bring everyone together because you have workers from all around the world, you can consider online team-building activities, such as Show ‘n Tell, Coffee and Learn, and interactive meetings that enable the team members to contribute towards management decisions.
3. Everything Is Transparent
Remote workers, who land gigs through freelancing platforms, rarely feel like they are part of a work culture. Do you know why that happens? They have no idea who they are working for. The clients and agencies do not disclose where the work will be featured. The freelancers don’t get to contact the other members of the team.
A successful remote company does things differently. The management knows the answer to the question: what is your ideal company culture? They share it with all their workers. They make the freelancers aware of the goals, so they understand their role a bit better. That makes them more inspired to complete the tasks.
4. Successful Remote Companies Have a Time Zone Tracking System
You cannot assign urgent tasks to a worker in a different time zone, when you know they are already beyond their working hours. Asking them to work during hours imposed by you disturbs the working culture and defines the whole concept of total work.
You can assign the urgent tasks to the team members who are online at the moment. Always ask if they can complete them within the given timeframe or they need assistance from another team member.
5. The Management Measures Remote Employee Engagement
With teamworks at home, engagement measurement is often skipped. The employers assume that as long as everyone completes the tasks on time, they are engaged.
Successful remote business managers know better. They require a monthly status update from each worker, which helps them measure their engagement, enthusiasm, and sentiment throughout the work process.
These are so-called “employee pulse surveys,” which helps you identify potential issues and make changes before your workers become completely unmotivated.
6. The Goals Are Clear for Every Team Member
You can use SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound), OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), or any other system of goals that you like.
Clearly specified goals are crucial for teamworks at home. They create a transparent feedback loop that enables regular progress assessment. Plus, the work culture is stronger when everyone is working towards a clear and transparent goal.
Let’s say you’re hiring freelance writers to help with your marketing goals. In most cases, managers assign tasks with topics and requirements, without explaining the project that this task is part of. This turns the freelancer’s work into a boring routine that consists of writing meaningless content. Everything is different when they know how their work is an important link in the chain.
7. The Company Provides the Needed Communication Tools
Zoom, Google Hangouts, and FaceTime are great tools for building the working culture. But you can’t ask people to use FaceTime if they don’t own MacBooks or iPhones. You shouldn’t ask them to pay for a premium video conferencing tool, since their budget is already planned. If you want the team members to use a specific tool that’s not free, you should make sure that everyone has access to it.
Maybe your company still hasn’t reached the point when it’s able to buy MacBooks for every employee. That’s okay, but do not impose such an expense on the employees themselves. In that case, work with the tools that are available to them.
8. The Management Shows Interest in Everyone
When all colleagues are in the same office, it doesn’t take much effort to learn about their personalities, likes, and interests. With the teamworks at home situation, it’s not that easy. You may easily get stuck in a pattern of sending and receiving tasks, keeping things too official.
Successful remote companies change that pattern. They may have private Facebook groups, where everyone gathers to share memes, jokes, and daily problems. They can form a book club, discuss movies, and engage in other social activities that help them learn about each other.
The manager can create a budget for birthday bonuses, which would replace the small gifts and parties that are a part of the usual office culture.
Think again: what is your ideal company culture? It’s a well-connected team that understands and shares the company’s values. The team members develop personal connections and friendships that make the work hours more bearable. The remote work culture shouldn’t be deprived of those features!