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From Afar: How to Establish a Positive Remote Team Culture

Remote work has become increasingly popular in recent years, with digital platforms enabling remote teams to work collaboratively from different geographical locations. While remote work can offer numerous benefits, such as increased flexibility and improved work-life balance, it presents significant challenges, including how to establish a positive remote team culture.

In this blog, we will explore various strategies for fostering a positive remote team culture, covering five critical areas: communication channels, clear expectations, open dialogue, team building activities, and diversity and inclusion.

Communication channels

Effective communication is a cornerstone of any successful team, whether remote or not. Communication channels in a remote setting typically encompass technologies like video calls, instant messaging, email, and file-sharing platforms. It is essential to choose the right communication tools and channels to ensure that communication is seamless, and task management is more streamlined.

Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom are popular technologies for remote teams who want to communicate in real-time. Video calls not only help remote team members communicate ideas and feedback but also foster a sense of collaboration and team cohesion.

To help maintain productivity in remote teams, it is essential to establish communication protocols. For example, team members may have different working hours; setting guidelines on how to manage team communication in such instances can help minimize interruptions and encourage more productive communication patterns.

Clear expectations

To achieve shared goals, team members must understand their respective roles and responsibilities in the team. Organizations should provide a comprehensive orientation process to introduce new team members to the company’s culture, values, and policies.

Defining and communicating clear goals helps to ensure that employees are aligned with the team’s objectives, and it also allows each member to understand how their roles contribute to the team’s success. Setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each employee and having periodic check-ins to assess their progress can help remote team members remain accountable while also providing management with an opportunity to provide feedback.

Clear expectations help remote workers to work autonomously while staying on task. It also promotes transparency and accountability, ensuring that team members are aware of each other’s roles and responsibilities, such that when someone needs assistance or guidance, the team can come together to provide a solution faster.

Cultivating open dialogue

Open and transparent communication is critical in remote teams. Ensuring employees can speak openly without fear of retribution helps to foster a sense of trust and respect within the team.

Managers should encourage regular feedback sessions, either through one-on-one check-ins with employees or group sessions. Regular feedback sessions provide an opportunity for employees to share their concerns, ideas, and seek clarifications. It also creates a sense of belonging, allowing remote workers to engage in discussions with their colleagues and feel part of the team.

Building a feedback culture that goes beyond formal performance evaluations and regular check-ins can lead to innovative ideas and can help address evolving challenges in dynamic industries.

Prioritizing team building activities

Remote work can sometimes accentuate feelings of isolation and disconnectedness. To eliminate these negative aspects, it’s important to prioritize team building activities that help build relationships and improve team performance.

Virtual team building activities can take various forms, ranging from participating in online quizzes to virtual happy hours. Activities like these provide an opportunity for team members to bond and build camaraderie. Positive team culture and feelings of connectedness lead to higher productivity levels and reduced employee turnover, a critical factor in a remote workforce that don’t benefit from physical socializing opportunities.

Embracing diversity and inclusion

One of the benefits of remote working is that it enables companies to draw from a larger pool of talent globally. Embracing diversity and inclusion within a remote team can create new boundaries for positive communication, collaboration, and higher engagement.

Managers should look to value and leverage the cultural and social diversity present in their remote teams proactively. Encouraging employees to bring their unique perspectives, experiences, and ideas to the table allow remote workers to benefit from both a cultural and professional perspective. Organizations should celebrate different cultural holidays and provide resources for different language speakers. To foster inclusivity, managers should promote a culture that prioritizes respect and equality amongst employees.

Encouraging work-life balance

Remote work can blur the lines between work and personal life, leading to employee burnout and stress. Managers should encourage remote employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance to avoid burnout.

One way to support work-life balance is to set clear working hours and create a schedule that allows employees to take breaks and unplug from work. Offering mental Health Days, flexible hours, and other work-related perks, allows remote workers to take care of their mental and physical health while maintaining their productivity levels.

Providing Opportunities for Skills Development

While remote work offers a flexible working environment, it can remove the opportunity for serendipitous growth, impromptu coaching and peer learning opportunities. Managers should ensure employees have regular opportunities to learn and develop their skills through online training, coaching, or mentorship programs. This encourages continuous growth for employees and enables them to be effective when working in a team atmosphere.

Providing these development opportunities not only benefits employees but also the organization itself. It helps businesses to remain competitive by providing a highly skilled workforce equipped with contemporary industry knowledge and tools.

Leveraging technology for Productivity

Technology is a crucial component in a remote team’s success. With the right technological tools, remote teams can work seamlessly and efficiently. Investing in collaboration tools like Asana and Trello, and project management tools like Gantt charts enables remote teams to operate more effectively.

In addition, integrating technology like artificial intelligence and automation into business processes can help to eliminate manual processes, reduce turnaround times, and enable faster decision-making. As companies string to stay ahead within a competitive market, the adoption of technology ensures that remote teams can deliver efficient results.

Encouraging Ownership and Accountability

Remote work provides employees with a greater sense of autonomy and responsibility, allowing them to take ownership of their work results. Encouraging remote employees to take the lead and make decisions on independent projects, and delegating responsibilities can lead to increased responsibility and accountability.

Managers should hone soft skills like delegation and confer the autonomy to make progress reports and suggest new ideas. Imparting ownership and accountability encourages a sense of commitment in the employees towards their assigned tasks and the entire team.

Establishing a sense of belonging

In remote teams, one of the biggest challenges can be the lack of face-to-face contact amongst team members. To create a culture that supports a sense of belonging, managers may need to create virtual spaces for team members to interact.

Establishing team traditions like a virtual Friday happy hour or monthly virtual birthday celebrations can help remote employees to bond despite distance. Additionally, creating and encouraging social media groups where team members can share photographs of their personal lives or non-work-related articles can help to break down barriers and nurture relationships among remote team members.


The rise of remote teams has brought both benefits and challenges. Remote teams have the opportunity to operate within a more flexible, autonomous, and distributed structure, which can unlock new levels of productivity and creativity. However, fostering a positive remote team culture requires intentional effort and focus on critical areas like communication channels, clear expectations, open dialogue, team building activities, and diversity and inclusion.

As such, remote teams have to set the right tone from the outset, and managers and team leaders should create an inclusive and supportive environment that is focused on collaboration and performance. By utilizing the strategies outlined in this post, managers and remote workers can establish a more productive, cohesive team culture that supports the goals of their organizations.

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