In today’s fast-paced business world, remote working is becoming increasingly common. As such, creating an inclusive and engaged culture within remote teams has become vital for companies that want to succeed. Maintaining strong communication, promoting feedback, creating a sense of purpose, fostering community, and prioritizing work-life balance are just a few ways company leaders can create an inclusive, satisfied, and efficient remote team.
The following are eight strategies and tools that managers can use to create an inclusive and engaged culture in their remote teams:
Prioritize communication and feedback
When it comes to building a healthy, collaborative culture within remote teams, communication and feedback are paramount. Employers should make sure that their remote team members feel free to share their opinions and ideas openly while also receiving constructive feedback and support. Team members should be encouraged to communicate effectively both internally and externally through various mediums such as email, chat, audio, video calls, and even project management tools.
Providing frequent virtual communication check-ins, scheduling regular team meetings, and an open-door policy that ensures everyone’s opinion is heard and respected are all great ways to create a culture of open communication. Implement tools such as video conferencing apps like Zoom and Skype or messaging apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams to facilitate communication and improve collaboration within the team.
In addition, encouraging feedback by providing an environment in which team members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas is key. Employers should make it clear that all feedback is important, and they should act on the feedback given promptly. Team members should also be given the opportunity to provide feedback anonymously when needed to gain more honest feedback, and companies should provide platforms for employees to share their feedback.
Create a strong sense of purpose and values
Creating a clear mission statement and values that align with the company’s culture is essential in building an engaged and inclusive remote team. An effective mission statement outlines the organization’s purpose and defines boundaries within which the remote team must operate. Clearly communicating the organization’s goals with the remote team will help them feel connected to the bigger picture, which motivates them to work harder and become more invested in their roles.
Additionally, having a clear and consistent set of values that guide the remote team’s practices, policies, and daily activities is vital for company culture. Teams that share the same core values feel more unified, which makes it easier for everyone to work towards the same goals. Ensure that these values are intrinsic to everything that the company does, from hiring to project management, and provide a platform for the team to discuss these values openly and ask questions.
Foster a sense of community and belonging
When working in remote teams, it’s easy to feel like a small cog in a big machine. Managers need to foster a sense of community and inclusion by providing opportunities for the team to connect and engage with each other. Employers should encourage team members to socialize, share experiences, and communicate regularly with one another. Virtual social events, such as team lunches or happy hours, can be a great way to facilitate this.
Encouraging team members to share personal news and milestones or even create an online platform like a group chat where the team can share pictures, jokes, or even memes helps create a more personal connection between remote team members. Companies should also aim to celebrate accomplishments together and promote a collaborative environment where everyone feels valued, recognized for their contributions, and supported.
Finally, managers should create a firm sense of team identity. Whether it’s through team logos, slogans, merchandise or team building activities, developing a strong team identity provides a sense of belonging and makes everyone feel unified.
Promote a culture of collaboration
Collaboration is crucial in any remote team. It helps team members hone their problem-solving skills, learn from one another, and work towards a shared goal. In addition, remote workers often need to collaborate with their peers to complete projects successfully. Employers should provide the resources and tools needed for team members to collaborate effectively.
To encourage a collaborative culture, managers need to ensure that everyone is on the same page in regard to goals, roles and responsibilities. Project management tools like Asana, Trello, Monday.com, and Basecamp can make collaboration simple and more straightforward. Additionally, these tools provide remote team members with clear deadlines, objectives, project updates, and progress tracking, fostering accountability, transparency and trust. Employers can also implement tools like Google Docs or Microsoft Office 365 to allow seamless collaboration on projects.
Provide opportunities for professional development
Providing opportunities for remote team members to develop their skills, pursue further education, and grow within the company leads to higher job satisfaction and motivation. Companies should encourage all their employees to take professional development courses, attend online industry conferences, and provide opportunities for remote workers to explore their interests further. Offering professional development opportunities enhances team members’ sense of purpose and value, helping remote workers to feel more connected and engaged with their work.
Set clear expectations and goals
Clear communication, well-defined goals and expectations, and straightforward guidelines are all essential for building an engaged and efficient remote team. Employers should make sure they set clear policies and procedures that everyone on the remote team can follow. Team members should be aware of the company’s standards and how their role fits into those standards. Clear expectations allow remote workers to know what they need to do and how they are contributing to the team’s success, leading to higher job satisfaction.
In addition, employers should be open to remote workers setting their own goals that align with their aspirations and the company’s mission. Setting individual goals and tracking progress provides employees with a sense of purpose and accomplishment, which increases engagement and motivation.
Prioritize work-life balance
Flexible working hours are critical in remote work environments, and managers should prioritize a work-life balance that allows remote workers to pursue their interests outside of work. Employers should set realistic expectations about working hours and not expect team members to be always-on. Setting reasonable working hours and providing regular breaks and time off is important for remote workers to recharge and be productive. Managers should also promote personal well-being by providing health and wellness resources for the team.
Furthermore, flexible scheduling and remote work offer workers the ability to prioritize their family and personal obligations. Flexibility may mean that remote workers have different working schedules, and providing support for valuable employees who work around their family duties allows the organization to attract a broader spectrum of skilled workers.
Providing feedback and rewards
Feedback, both positive and negative, is essential for remote workers’ growth and professional development. Remote employees need to receive constructive feedback just as they would in an office environment. Managers should provide regular feedback, such as weekly or monthly one-on-one check-ins to discuss performance or broader team feedback at team meetings, in a constructive way that leaves remote workers inspired to do better.
Employers should also reward work well done frequently to encourage remote employees to continue to succeed. Rewards could come in the form of bonuses, promotions, or other tokens of appreciation. Publicly recognizing the effort and achievements of remote employees often goes a long way in promoting engagement, empowerment and sense of belonging.
Remote work is becoming increasingly widespread and has become a trend that companies must adapt to in recent times. Remote working can be challenging, but with the right strategies and tools, leaders can create a work culture that promotes engagement, collaboration, and productivity. Managers should focus on communication, feedback, purpose, community, and work-life balance when managing their remote team. These strategies help promote the establishment of an inclusive, supportive, and engaged culture in a remote team that can have a positive impact on employee morale, team productivity, and organization success.