Whilst many employees enjoy working in the comfort of their own home, after a while workers can be left feeling unmotivated and lonely. An unmotivated worker will only produce poor work resulting in numerous problems for their company. In more cases than not, this is a direct result of the work culture present in the business. Managers can easily blame an employee, believing they have ‘let their foot off the gas’, when in fact it is the manager at fault for not instilling a strong and motivating team culture for their employees.
A positive work culture will lead to several benefits for your business, such as increasing the productivity of employees due to increased autonomy and motivation. They will be more punctual due to being given adequate time to spend with family and friends, alongside the fact they don’t have to commute! This not only makes more timely employees, but happier ones as they will have a healthier work-life balance.
Evidently, embedding a positive remote team culture is a must have for any company with remote workers. But how can one achieve this?
Below, we outline 6 key points that will help you instil a strong work culture:
Tip 1 – Hire the Right People
It all starts with the people. A strong culture can’t be formed if team members don’t get along or have little in common. This aspect of hiring is often overlooked by employers, they simply hire the best and brightest talent without considering that employees with complementary personalities provide many benefits that can’t be written on a CV. For example, team members that get along will feel more comfortable asking for help or sharing information about work, leading to greater productivity and a higher quality of work. Whereas an employee that may be a smarter worker on paper may actually produce poorer work, due to a lack of communication with co-workers. Although, this doesn’t mean you should completely disregard skill and experience as this is obviously a very important aspect of hiring but remember to bear in mind whether they’ll be a good fit for your team culture. In an ideal world, you can employ smart professionals who share lots of interests with other employees.
Tip 2 – Onboarding Done Right
Making sure your new employees are properly introduced to other team members is a great way to get co-workers chatting. Although, it is your job to teach the employee the ways of your work. This might include little things such as the idiosyncrasies present within the team, such as “on a Friday we like to tell a joke to the team” or explaining who the co-workers are and what their personalities are like. Just like a friend group or family, there are unspoken rules and ideals within a work team, and you can’t expect someone to pick these up on their first day.
Tip 3 – Keep it Compact
As we’ve mentioned, who you hire is an important aspect to building a work culture, although how you hire is just as crucial. Keeping a team of workers small is a great way to ensure co-workers get to know each other. Additionally, it’s easy for team members to get ‘lost in the crowd’ and forgotten when there are lots of people on one team. This can lead to workers feeling lonely and as if their work isn’t contributing to a project.
When this happens, an employee can quickly stop putting in any effort. This is known as social loafing or the Ringelmann Effect, a common psychological phenomenon when humans work in teams. The theory states that when team size increases, an individual’s effort decreases due to them feeling as if their work isn’t contributing or being noticed.
Ringelmann (1913) discovered this when he observed people playing tug of war. He noted that the pulling power of those working in a team was less than the sum of their individual parts, when it should be the same. The effect only worsens the bigger the team. Therefore, it’s important to keep your teams small, to ensure everyone gets to input their opinions and feels like a worthy member.
Tip 4 – Commend Hardwork
Following on from the previous tip about employees feeling as if their work goes unnoticed, a great way to challenge this is to show you care and are happy with their work. This can be done in several ways, such as rewarding team members for completing a great piece of work. This might be with a promotion, bonus, day off or even just a pat on the back. When people feel their effort is noticed they will be motivated to continue their hard work. This not only motivates the employee who did the work, but also encourages other team members to put in the effort. Subsequently this creates a positive team culture, where employees are hardworking and rewarded for their hard work. Although, it’s important to remember not to reward employees for every little piece of work they do, otherwise this will have the opposite effect where they feel they can slack off and be commended for doing any quality of work. Furthermore, the effect of the reward will be lessened due to it being so frequent.
Tip 5 – Create a Team Motto
Creating a team motto that embodies the desired culture of your remote team can help members feel part of a friendly and inclusive environment whilst also inspiring hard work. An example of a work culture motto could be “Work hard and be kind and amazing things will happen.” -Conan O’Brien. If possible, make the slogan relate with your brand to further the feeling of being part of the company.
Tip 6 – Events and Gatherings
Numerous studies have highlighted the benefits of taking a work team on days out. Whilst this may not be possible for a remote team, there are still ways you can organise events and gatherings virtually to give your team the chance to bond and forget about work. This could include organised drinks where your team can have a zoom call and a few drinks. Some teams even have zoom calls over lunch for casual chats. If you want to take it a step further, you can play online games with your remote team. This is a great way for the team to learn to work together whilst also having fun at the same time. Think of it like a work football team, just without the health benefits!
Building a strong team culture is one of the most important building blocks to crafting an effective team. This is all the more true for remote workers who may feel unmotivated and isolated more than they would in an office. Your work culture is something that stays with your employees in and out of the office. It’s difficult to replace, so make sure you nail it and create a culture that invites and inspires your employees to produce work at the best of their ability whilst having healthy relations with their co-workers.