What Companies Need to Do to Promote a Virtual Working Culture
As more and more companies have transitioned to remote work environments, one thing that is often left out of the mix is culture. Gone is the water cooler banter, the last minute meetings, and the weekly team lunches. Instead, these are replaced by endless Zoom meetings, structural inefficiencies, and employees left feeling adrift at companies they used to enjoy working at. In fact, loneliness is cited as the second biggest challenge of remote work, especially with the sudden and abrupt transition to this new paradigm.
However, companies can push back against this stereotype and engage their virtual team in a way that may not have been possible in the office. Of course, being in an office gives employees unparalleled facetime with their managers and coworkers, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some unique advantages to remote work. For one, a virtual team can be more centered on its core values. To do this, you need to create a strategic system in place that emphasizes these values. For example, if you value honesty to clients, then you need to make sure that the sales and client onboarding process are both honest and straightforward, and that the handoff of client work to employees sets these expectations correctly.
There are, of course, other factors you will need to put in place in order to create a positive work culture among your virtual team. You should use the opportunity that a virtual space provides to build your team’s morale and trust and connectivity. For example, you can set up a Slack channel to talk about movies that everyone has watched recently and what recommendations they have for movies or television for others. This will help people share a part of their lives in a more structured way without dissolving in to banter that doesn’t have a focused goal of helping everyone to get to know each other. You can also set up similar off-topic Slack channels for things like travel, music, and memes.
Most importantly, a virtual team needs to be treated like an actual team. By creating a culture of accountability and making virtual team members feel like they are a great part of shaping the processes and values of the team, they will feel more willing to go the extra mile and bring their all into the workplace. However, if you use a dictatorial style of leadership and don’t allow them to give feedback, then they will talk among themselves and bring that toxicity into the workplace.
Creating and promoting a company culture is a big challenge, especially when you can’t physically see how your employees react to things. However, having an open-door policy on feedback, creating fun and interesting ways for a virtual team to connect online, and emphasizing your shared company values will help keep employees happy. In addition to this, you can also make employees feel like they are a key part of the structure and operations of the company, and lean on their specific expertise in order to improve your processes and give them greater meaning and satisfaction in their roles.
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