Remote workforces –and the challenges they present– are one of the hot topics in business today. With the rise of more freelancers and remote teams, HR managers have had to reevaluate how to direct teams, foster better communication, and encourage relationships. One concept that is starting to take off is building community at work – in the sense of bringing your team together in a more interpersonal way.
Why Do Building Community in the Workplace Matter?
Building community at work isn’t just good for employee morale, it’s also good for business. As community and collaboration are at the core of any business. Therefore, there are three main reasons why employers should value community in a remote workplace.
🙌 It enhances employee engagement.
🌱 It increases productivity.
🌈 It fosters a positive work environment.
Building community in a remote workplace means creating a diverse and active online space where employees feel they can be themselves while being effective at their jobs. To build stronger bonds with colleagues and clients you need to cultivate meaningful relationships that extend beyond the confines of your walls.
Therefore, community-building strategies can take place virtually or in-person, through monthly workshops or casual get-togethers where employees spend time catching up with each other. Also, you can organize certain regular events and activities like lunches, dinners, picnics, etc.
The Challenge of Building Company Culture in Remote Teams
The pandemic has really shaken up the concept of work culture. Companies that have spent years trying to clearly articulate how their company culture works are now finding that much of their “culture” has focused on the physical aspects of work behavior rather than mindsets and values.
Has our work culture changed now that we are not physically together? What does that mean for the culture we aspire to?
Company culture is important for remote teams because:
✔ It explains the purpose of your business.
✨ Shows employees why your company is unique and different from the competition.
✍ It defines how you operate as a company.
🤩 Inspires employees to contribute to the future of your company.
Remote teams with a positive company culture instill a greater sense of ownership and community in their employees. Teams are less likely to slack off because they know they are relied upon and that their work is important to the success of the company.
Having a solid company culture and upholding those values is also one of the best ways to retain remote talent! A good first step in communicating company culture is an onboarding process for new employees and freelancers. This process usually includes information about the company and its values and goals.
Team Building Strategies to Engage Your Remote Team
In a traditional office, company culture can develop through shared experiences, internal collaboration, and team-building activities. However, building a strong corporate culture in a remote workplace requires a bit more effort to be successful.
Therefore, we give you 6 team-building activities to engage your remote team and build a sense of community at work.
Leapers is a free online community built focused on supporting freelancers and remote workers’ mental health. It has plenty of resources destined to bring data, information, and support to the self-employed. In addition, it has a coworking space that runs on Slack!
#1: Focusing On Your Employees’ Well-Being
New generations –such as millennials and centennials– pay special attention to their work-life balance. For them, these are essentially linked. So what affects one also affects the other.
In this sense, a fundamental part of keeping younger employees engaged in providing them with their personal space. However, it’s all about balance!
Therefore, it’s also important to build a sense of community at work. Showing your employees that they can count on their team whenever they need to.
#2: Build a Sense of Belonging
To achieve a motivated remote team, it’s essential that each of the employees who make up the team feel that they are a key part of the work objectives.
In general, when someone feels part of something, they’re more motivated to work for the common good and overcome challenges. Therefore, it’s essential that leaders collaborate in the creation of a sense of belonging and in the construction of a collective purpose within their teams.
Explaining how each one’s effort fits into the big picture of success can definitely help. Or showing them how the team could achieve good results by working together toward the company’s goals.
#3: Offer Incentives to Motivate Remote Teams
According to Gallup, 80% of professionals say that recognition is a strong motivator of job performance. In addition, 70% say they would work more if they received continuous recognition from their team.
Specialists state that it’s important for the organization to have an incentive system. And that this incentive system should focus on clear and measurable objectives.
Also, to keep remote teams motivated, employees should participate in the discussion and agreement of the team’s objectives, being fair and equitable for all.
Compensation and incentive systems play an essential role in motivating employees and retaining talent.
In addition to money, employees often view compensation as recognition. However, there are other factors that can play an equal or greater role. Career development opportunities, flexible hours, and company culture are points that can influence employee engagement.
People want to feel valued and respected. Positive feedback, praise, thanks, and involvement in decision-making can be the best motivational tools for your remote teams!
#4: Promote Team Communication
It’s common for remote employees to miss face-to-face interactions with their co-workers. In that sense, employers need to support remote employees by giving them the chance to express their feelings. And asking them for regular feedback on the company’s work dynamics.
A good strategy is to coordinate team meetings dedicated to planning ahead and team-building!
#5: Offer Greater Flexibility & Work by Objectives
According to Randstad, “the massive home office experiment promoted by the COVID pandemic led most companies to recognize that time and attendance aren’t necessary to ensure productivity.”
These conclusions led companies to consolidate a work-by-objectives scheme in which remote or hybrid work arrangements consolidated as the preferred option for both employers and workers.
#6: Convey Company Culture
Most times, containing and accompanying employees during remote work schemes translate into positive experiences for all parties. However, this requires that companies reformulate how and where to transmit organizational culture and values.
#7: Set Clear Communication Guidelines
Remote communication guidelines will establish a playbook everyone on your team will follow as a unit. These rules will help teammates set healthy boundaries while working remotely. These should include available work hours, check-in policies, communication tools, and examples.
Tools for Remote Workplaces
#1: Virtual Coworking
A great tool for remote workers and to build community at work is participating in virtual coworking spaces. There are plenty of virtual coworking spaces on the Internet, but there’s something that they all have in common. You can work from wherever you are – such as your house, a hotel room, or a hostel’s common room. All you need is a good Wi-Fi connection and a laptop or tablet!
Also, some online coworking platforms simulate real-life working spaces with the goal of providing a focused workplace and a professional community. In these kinds of online working spaces, you have to virtually sit at a specific desk, go to virtual locations to have meetings, and interact with colleagues as you would do in person.
#2: Use Audio & Video Messaging Platforms
Remote tools such as Loom allow workers to record themselves and their screens simultaneously. This will help you and your teammates use video messages for additional context.
#4: Asynchronous Communication
Asynchronous communication allows team members to respond to messages when it’s more productive for them to do so. To make this type of communication work, all team members should have everything they need to run on their own. This means outlining details, attaching files, linking to relevant documents, and adding deadlines. To summarize, you should provide solid and clear communication.
#5: Communicate About Non-Work Stuff Too!
Create a Discord or Slack channel to chat with your coworkers about non-work stuff! This will help build a sense of community at work through understanding and genuine personal connections.