Whether you love it or hate it, we all know that working remotely will be the reality for the foreseeable future, which presents many challenges for team leaders. When everyone is working from home, it can be much more difficult to build the community and workplace culture your business needs to thrive.
The best way to support workplace culture while working remotely is to prioritize connection with your team. When your whole team is happy and connected, the work becomes easier, and everyone has a stake in your success. Because your workplace is now virtual, you need to take extra steps to help make this happen – but it can be done!
We’re a growing startup ourselves, and like you, we’ve had to navigate working remotely while also growing our team and our business. Here’s what we do to stay connected.
1. Team Check-Ins
When everyone is busy and working alone, it’s easy to stay in your own bubble. And personal bubbles are terrible when you’re trying to build community and work on growing your company. So in this ‘new reality,’ you have to make time for virtual team check-ins, so that everyone stays in the loop about what everyone else is working on.
Depending on your team, you may want to do these daily or weekly. But don’t let more than a week go by without having everyone jump on Zoom together.
Keep your check-ins short and sweet. Stick to important information, and ensure everyone on your team has a good idea of the big picture you’re all working towards.
In our experience, team check-ins are priceless. Make sure you schedule them in.
2. One-to-One Check-Ins
Every member of your team needs to thrive, and as the team leader, it’s critical you give them the tools to do so. Regularly scheduled personal check-ins are a great way to accomplish this. Like with your team meetings, these don’t have to be formal, drawn-out affairs. They just need to be regular opportunities for each team member to chat with you personally.
Think about it: if you were in your office, anyone could pop in any time to get your ear. Scheduling quick calls means everyone will still have the opportunity to stay personally engaged and able to communicate what they need.
3. Community Conversations
Don’t mourn the loss of the water cooler – create a new virtual one! Setting up community chats through Slack can be a great way to keep that office feeling alive. Set up fun channels for pet pictures, to share interesting articles or funny memes, or to discuss everyone’s latest Netflix binge. Maybe you can create and share playlists for the day. Get creative and encourage humour – these are meant to be fun and casual.
This is where your team can let loose and get to know each other, just like they would around the water cooler. And these types of informal interactions are critical to team building and long term success.
4. Weekend Transition
While working remotely offers many benefits, it also has some drawbacks. Having a good work-life balance is important for everyone, but it becomes more challenging when the lines between work and home are blurred.
That’s why it’s good to establish a Friday afternoon ritual, within office hours, to kick off the weekend. This could mean asking your team a non-work related question, highlighting team wins of the week, or sharing a virtual beer or coffee. The point is establishing more connections again, while also giving your team the chance to kick back together, acknowledge another successful week, and get ready to relax over the weekend.
Companies aren’t machines, and your employees aren’t machines, either. Success comes when your workplace culture encourages everyone to succeed, and this only happens when everyone feels happy and connected. This can still happen remotely, it just takes a little more effort. Follow these four steps, and your virtual team can thrive.