This is How You Create an Effective Remote Startup Culture
Establishing a company culture is vital for effective teamwork in any company — after all, employees feel happier in a workplace that attends to their well-being, suggesting that happier employees are also more productive with their work.
Sometimes, it’s enough to install a foosball on location or organize a lunch outing every Friday to make employees happier.
But, foosball and lunch outings require the employees to be co-located, and this isn’t the case with remote workers.
So, how do you create an effective company culture in a remote team where employees are scattered across the world, or when it’s simply not feasible to meet face-to-face on a regular basis?
Luckily, establishing an effective company culture for a remote company only seems difficult – there are ways you can make it work beautifully:
Maximize the use of various online tools
When face-to-face interaction is rare or impossible, online tools are the only way to make communication and collaboration feasible.
A straightforward communication app can help your team collaborate on tasks, exchange files, add comments to various stages of a project, or simply chat during break time.
Time management apps and communication tools like Google Hangout can help you make the most of your time, and perform more work faster and more efficiently.
Project management software can help you manage your projects and track your progress on them, and keep everyone up to date.
A simple task manager can help you define your tasks, delegate them appropriately based on everyone’s skills and expertise, and then cross them out once they’re completed.
By using various online tools, you’ll streamline your time management, communication, project and task management, which will help bring you, team, closer together.
Set up in-person meetups or video conferences
Many remote employees feel lonely because they don’t get to enjoy in-office banter, go out for drinks on Friday nights, and other fun activities you can do with your colleagues. But, occasional in-person meetups and video conferences can help bridge this gap.
If your team members live in the same area but work remotely because of convenience, or because you have yet to set up an office in the city, chances are most of you will still be able to meet face-to-face occasionally. Make it a habit to organize a get together at least every few months at a place conveniently close to everyone – you can organize a paintball match, go karaoking, enjoy an afternoon picnic, or anything you find fun.
If your team is scattered across the globe, jazz up your meetings with video conferences – instruct every team member to go out to the nearest coffee shop and bring their laptops. You can all then sip your favorite mocha lattes as you work on your next best idea, just as you would in a traditional organization.
Don’t forget team-building activities
Just because it’s difficult to meet in-person, doesn’t mean that you should forgo team-building activities – you just have to make them virtual.
For example, sign up your entire team for an online game tournament in order to give them a chance to have some fun together (and test their competitive chops). This way, your team can collaborate on quests and learn how to build an effective rapport that will help them collaborate on real work assignments in the future.
Another great idea is to instruct everyone to make quick videos about themselves or their homes and send them to your online communication channel. You can even make these videos a monthly thing, and have everyone chime in with interesting tidbits that happened in their lives during the course of last month – people will enjoy these videos, and maybe even compete who’ll have the wackiest tale to tell.
There are many virtual team-building activities you can try, and the best part is that your imagination is the limit.
Make an agreement on how you measure performance
Team management and supervision are difficult when you’re all working remotely – but, if you all make a solid agreement, you’ll be able to successfully measure employee performance.
One solution is to install a device that will track everyone’s monitors and keyboard/mouse activities, and ensure everyone is working on their tasks – but, this may be seen as a lack of trust on the part of the supervisors, so it’s not the best option.
Instead, you can make it a habit to delegate tasks to your employees and define deadlines for their completion in agreement with said employees. You can then offer light guidance and advice for their concerns, but be careful not to ease into micromanagement — trust that your team is capable of doing their share of the work.
Another great practice is to set up work-buddies, and pair up remote employees together – they’ll be able to keep each other accountable in a relaxing, friendly way. (Bonus points for this practice – your remote workers will also get a designated friend-in-need to chat and exchange advice with over unexpected issues in their work.)
Having all your employees work while physically away from each other isn’t an obstacle in creating an effective company culture. To succeed, all you need to do is reach an agreement about how you’ll measure work performance, indulge in virtual team-building activities, make the most of occasional in-person meetups and video conferences, as well as streamline your online tools use.
Once you do all that, your company will be on the best possible track to establishing a pleasant, friendly culture that will inspire your remote team to be productive.