How to Maintain Culture + Connection with a *Newly* Remote Workforce

Seemingly overnight our client makeup has shifted from office workers with a few remote team members or functions to nearly 100% distributed workforces. When no one knows when it will be safe to return to “business as usual,” how can we maintain culture and a sense of connection? 

To help stave off feelings of uncertainty and isolation, here are 5 Tips for helping employees adjust to the reality of remote work. Implementing these tactics will increase communication and can help grow strong connections among your team.

5 Tips for Newly Remote Teams

1. Set Expectations
  • Align on work/online hours, response times, frequency of contact. Keep in mind that schedules will need to allow for increased flexibility, particularly for parents with children at home. 
  • Develop processes and protocols for communications. Let the team know how and when updates will be shared and what forums will be available for group discussion.

2. Stay Connected 
  • Offer tech support to help with any challenges setting up the office & easy document guides for people less familiar with these tech tools.
  • Leverage technology and clarify how different channels should be used (e.g. zoom, slack, chat, drive)
  • Encourage video calls as face-to-face communication enhances connection
  • Schedule virtual coffee chats with colleagues
  • Institute a weekly video-based All Hands meeting, or increase the frequency of your regularly scheduled full-company meetings

3. Get Moving
  • Set times to do 1:1s while walking around the block on head phones (getting fresh air is important)
  • Consider setting some off/break hours for lunch, etc. to make sure people know they can leave their post (standing, stretching and moving is imperative) 
  • Encourage the team to share the new and different ways they are incorporating movement in or around the house and activities that give mental breaks and spark creativity. Perhaps a #check-out-these-moves slack channel is in order!

4. Communicate…a lot
  • Leadership: Consider a brief daily email or slack post that provides relevant business updates and resources available to employees
  • People managers: Host daily video stand-ups and/or maintain or institute weekly team meetings. Carve out time on the agenda to check in with each person and hear how team members are doing.
  • Don’t underestimate the positive benefits of gratitude & levity (e.g. share one thing you’re grateful for each day, inspiring quotes, entertaining videos, DIY projects)

5. Storytelling & Recognition (via email or video)
  • Share examples of strong remote collaboration (e.g. how teams creatively “white boarded” new solutions, solved problems in unique ways, provided counsel to cross-functional team members, etc.)
  • Tell stories of values in action. How are team members living your company values in all new ways now that they are working remotely and adjusting to rapidly changing health and economic factors?
  • Let people know when they’re doing a good job—whether it’s via slack, email or video—consider the individual and team and how private and public recognition plays a role in keeping everyone motivated.

A few final things to remember: 

Show empathy and support for all…and ask for that in return. Reach out more and ask for help — this encourages others to do the same and helps the collective group by providing more clarity. And last (and in our opinion most importantly), remember that upholding your values provides a guide for how to behave, this is especially true in uncertain times  

It’s ok to not have all (or even many) of the answers, but acknowledgement through communication and connection makes a difference!

For more questions please reach out to At Your Core.