How to Maintain Your Company Culture With Remote Workers
Empower remote employees with the right team collaboration tools to maintain or even improve your company culture.
Articles published June 29, 2020 by Ben Killion
For some businesses, the idea of remote work still causes anxiety. How can you trust your employees to stay productive? Will company culture suffer if everyone works from home? Both of these concerns spawn from fear of the unknown and are unfounded in most instances. But, as we will lay out, successful employers with high-performing, healthy cultures engage in the process and do not just expect success to happen.
Business concerns aside, remote work is on the rise. According to a Global Workplace Analytics estimate, 25-30% of the U.S. workforce will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021. That estimate follows an increase in remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Proactive companies are investing in technology today as well, that will empower employees and teams to communicate, collaborate, and remain productive no matter where they choose to work.
Communication Can Make or Break Company Culture
One of the biggest challenges a distributed or fully remote workforce faces is overcoming physical barriers to communication. This is true when conducting normal day-to-day operations, but also relevant in regard to maintaining company culture. In a physical office, employees will naturally cross paths with their immediate coworkers and strike up a conversation. Office events — such as team lunches and activities — encourage interaction on a more personal level.
These sorts of interactions can still occur and even be more organic and productive between remote employees or remote and in-office employees. You just need the right tools and some initiative to make it happen. Some companies are investing in hosted unified communications (UC) services to help their teams stay connected. A typical UC solution includes access to cloud calling, messaging, and meeting capabilities.
Aureon UC with Webex, for instance, organizes several team collaboration tools into one location. This means less time switching between applications and more time interacting as a team.
Leverage Technology to Keep Your Team Connected
All teams communicate differently, but there are some must-have features you should look for in a modern business communications solution as it relates to productivity and company culture.
Cloud calling, including HD voice and video, is a necessity for getting work done. Instant messaging software allows teams to communicate on the fly and reduces email clutter. Video conferencing software with screen sharing functionality is vital for team collaboration.
Additionally, consider looking for unified communications software that allows you to organize conversations by teams and projects. You should also encourage your teams to keep in touch via a dedicated channel where they can drop in and have informal, “water cooler” conversations.
Aureon UC with Webex allows for the creation of collaboration spaces for customizable groups of people or teams involved in specific projects. Consider creating a separate virtual space for internal communications, congratulations, special company events, and other fun activities.
4 Ways to Use Collaboration Tools to Boost Company Culture
Team collaboration tools are a great way for remote teams to stay connected and get things done. Sometimes, however, it’s tricky to figure out how to best use these tools to build a positive company culture. Here are some ideas to encourage team communication and boost morale.
1. Create a Messaging Channel for Socialization
Most messaging software allows you to create channels for different types of communication. In addition to your dedicated work and project channels, encourage teams to create virtual spaces where they can freely socialize with one another as they would do if they were in the office. Even just dropping in to see what everyone is having for lunch can make teams feel more connected.
2. Schedule a Recurring Virtual Team Huddle
Team huddles, also known as stand-up meetings, are nothing new. However, instead of making these meetings all about work, use them as a time for remote team members to say hello and chat. Consider keeping a list of fun, light-hearted prompts as a way to initiate conversation. Ideally, a team huddle should be short — 15 minutes or less — and attendance encouraged, but not required. Limit these meetings to two to three times a week to avoid burnout or boredom.
Team huddles work best with video conferencing software in place so that meeting participants get to see each others’ faces and their surroundings. This will help everyone feel connected.
3. Plan Guided Wellness or Meditation Sessions
Mental health and workplace wellness are on the minds of most forward-thinking companies. Host a session to talk and share tips and tricks about wellness topics with team members such as nutrition, sleep, and stretching exercises to help your employees relieve stress.
4. Host a Weekly Team Happy Hour to Boost Morale
The happy hour is a long-running staple of workplace culture. Virtual happy hours give remote team members time to socialize with one another before closing up shop for the day. In order to encourage participation, schedule your happy hour session toward the end of the regular workday, ideally on a Thursday or Friday. A happy hour doesn’t have to revolve around alcoholic beverages, either. Consider adding virtual games or trivia into the mix for some added fun.
A Connected Team Is an Effective Team
Maintaining clear communication channels boosts employee morale and increases productivity. An investment in the right team collaboration tools will help you achieve your business goals.
Are you ready to invest in an all-in-one technology solution that will encourage communication and enhance company culture?