Ubiquitous connectivity, mobile technology, shifting generational expectations, and life events (such as the COVID-19 outbreak) have all swiftly contributed to the growing number of people working from home.
Leading a remote workforce requires a different set of tools to sustain relationships and maintain productivity across a team.
Below are tactics and tools for leaders to boost engagement, create unity, and extend company culture among a remote workforce.
5 Ways Leaders Can Extend Company Culture to Remote Workers1. Establish a Digital Water Cooler
On a remote team, watercooler talk (random and non-work-related conversation)is nonexistent. However, there are ways to cultivate the healthy aspects of water-cooler talk with a remote team.
Slack or Basecamp are chat services that are ideal for creating "channels" where watercooler talk can happen. Labeling channels such as “LOL” or “watercooler” can create a virtual place where the team can connect and build rapport with one another.
2. Openly Knowledge Share
Leaders should consider sharing industry news, company updates, financial status, etc. via a reoccurring virtual town hall meeting.
In addition, encouraging remote employees to share their work or non-work related knowledge is also a great way to cultivate culture. SnagIt or Screencast lets users share videos and images, and has mark up tools like blur, spotlight, magnify, and stamps that make it easy to share and teach others. Zoom or Skype are video conferencing services that also enable users to meet virtual and knowledge share.
3. Provide Recognition Digitally
High fives and pat on the backs aren’t possible when remote working. Leaders must consider new ways to recognize their team digitally.
15Five is a continuous performance management solution that helps leaders extend digital recognition, feedback, and coaching to their remote workforce. In addition, Tango Card makes it easy to send digital rewards (e-gift cards) to your team.
Read this to understand how emojis (and other visuals) can help clarify the emotional intent of our communications. This becomes increasingly important when remote working because we are less reliant on facial expressions.4. Send Company Swag
It’s easy for remote workers to feel disconnected from the company brand.
Sending company swag (mugs, t-shirts, phone chargers, etc.) to your remote team can help to keep them connected to the company brand. Also, since remote workers are likely working alongside family members and/or roommates, send additional swag to include them.
5. Meet In Person (Eventually)
As powerful and enabling as technology is, it can’t replace the human-to-human connection. The secret to cultivating and sustaining culture among a remote workforce, is in-person meet-ups. In-person meetings create opportunities for employees to bond, build trust, relationship build, and have fun. All core to building enduring team culture.
For example, the 900+ remote employee company, Automattic, gets the entire company together every year for a “grand meet-up” in a beautiful location.
Once you establish a healthy culture among your remote team, turn your attention to the below tactics for leading your remote workforce effectively.
As a Millennial and Generation Z keynote speaker and trainer, I help companies lead, engage, and sell to the emerging generations. If you'd like help solving tough generational challenges inside your organization, click here.