The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we work and run businesses. Online teams are now a part of everyday life and this has brought with it many positives. For example, people no longer have to waste time and money, not to mention damaging the environment, on long commutes. However, the increase in remote businesses with employees working all around the world raises the question of how to build a positive company culture under these circumstances, while also allowing your business to grow.
Daniel Wood is an experienced manager of an online team at Momentum Property Education and he advises that the first step in creating this positive company culture is taking seriously the recruitment of new people, even when they’re online. He believes some leaders fall into the trap of hiring people online for a specific task without taking the time to learn about the person they are employing. Once you have onboarded the new employee, there are four important steps to help your online team and your business:
- Ensure the team understands the vision
An important step in maintaining a healthy and flourishing company culture when working with a remote team is to ensure that each online employee understands the company’s vision and why their role is important. Knowing how their work contributes to the vision is vital in team members feeling included and valued. A leader should regularly remind employees of the positive impact they are having – this will help them feel secure and motivated within their roles.
- Help your employees feel like part of the team
In a bricks and mortar office, leaders see their teams every day, or at least once a week for meetings. Everyone chats in the kitchen and has exchanges from their desks. With an online team, much of that regular, casual communication is lost. Replacing it is perhaps the biggest challenge of remote working, but it can be done. Ensure that you check in with your staff, preferably face-to-face on a video call, at least once a week. Encourage employees to call and message each other throughout the day. This human contact is imperative if all employees are to feel like they’re part of the team and that their team is united.
- Remind employees that you value their contribution
In a physical office, colleagues thank each other a lot. If you pass someone in the corridor and ask them to send a report, and they tell you they will do it that afternoon, you say ‘thank you’. If a team member hands you a cup of coffee, you’d say ‘thank you’. On the other hand, when working online, it’s easy to receive that report via email and then forget to reply. When working remotely, it’s even more important to positively acknowledge people and tasks. Whenever you can, create opportunities to thank people and to let them know how much you value their contribution to the team and the business.
- Frequently update the team
In a traditional workplace, team members find out a lot of information – particularly the smaller gems – on the grapevine. In an online environment, this is less likely to happen. To make sure everyone feels included and united, be sure to frequently update your employees. This can be done via regular meetings, emails, and online chats. Updating your team frequently will help to build a positive company culture.
Working with an online team has many advantages. If leaders can help their employees feel valued and integral to the team and the business’ vision, it’s possible to maintain your company culture while also allowing your business to grow and develop.