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  • Writer's pictureAurora Garcia

Developing a Robust Remote Work Culture: 5 Essential Tips for Sustained Connectivity


The mere physical distance between managers and employees can pose challenges in creating a productive work culture. Yet, remote employees have fueled growth and helped face the hard winds of the post-pandemic era.


Managing a remote workforce isn’t easy, but there are strategies that can help you create a robust work culture – one that engages and connects. 


In this article, we’ll explore what it takes to nurture the virtual workplace and share some essential tips for strong remote teams.



A view from above of a woman working sitting on a sofa with her laptop and notebook


What Does a Remote Work Culture Look Like?

Work culture refers to the social structure within an organization. Sometimes called corporate culture or company culture, it plays an important part in defining the behavior and values of an organization. It can be described as a set of cultural norms that establish the social climate within the organization – dictated through internal policies and organizational goals.


When it comes to remote work culture, this typically refers to a company’s digital culture. That definition, however, does fall a bit short of the whole picture. A strong remote work culture gives teleworkers the necessary digital infrastructure to stay truly connected no matter where they are.


With more companies becoming remote-first or remote-friendly, building a solid digital work culture has become indispensable. For many, it’s no longer an optional model but the standard practice.



An illustration of a group of people in a video call, each from their laptop screen, high-fiving each other


Hybrid or Remote?

The term hybrid work is often interchangeably used with remote work, but there is a slight difference. 


Hybrid work refers to work that combines working at the office and working remotely - so, an employee can occasionally come to the office or be there on certain days and/or hours. Remote work, on the other hand, is done entirely from home or outside the office and sometimes thousands of miles away, depending on where in the world your company is located.


The hybrid model is often described as the future of work, a way for employees to dip their toes into the remote work universe without completely cutting the cord with the physical workplace. 


A recent survey conducted by Gallup shows that 9 in 10 employees prefer remote work flexibility. That same study also revealed that 8 in 10 employees expect to work hybrid or fully remote.



Advantages of a Remote Work Culture

There are plenty of positives to cultivating a remote work culture alongside the physical workplace. A remote workforce doesn't just save the company's real estate and overhead. It can also lead to many other benefits. 


Here are a few examples:


  1. An expanded pool of talent – from local to international to everything in between.

  2. A lower turnover – up to 12% when offering a more flexible (hybrid) work culture.

  3. A boost in performance – remote workers are, on average, 35-40% more productive.

  4. Higher profitability – productive employees contribute to more profit.


Creating Remote Connectivity

Creating remote connectivity is essentially about keeping company values, goals, and practices intrinsically connected to the remote work culture. That’s where the magic happens!


One of the hardest challenges of building a remote work culture is how to keep teams engaged outside of the physical workspace. Remote employees need just as much encouragement, recognition, and guidance as on-site teams in order to be successful. That said, remote workforce management can look quite different.


No matter where your remote employees are located, they need to be aligned with company goals and objectives to ensure consistent productivity and performance. In a traditional office setting, this is usually channeled through regular face-to-face feedback. 


When it comes to the remote workforce, it’s vital to replicate in-person feedback in the virtual workplace. It doesn’t look very different, but it does help to think outside the box!


Here are 5 remote work culture ideas to get you started:


1. Setting Clear Expectations


Establishing clear expectations and goals is key. Engagement is the fossil fuel of a thriving workplace, and this is equally true when it comes to building a strong remote work culture. Managers should set expectations from the get-go, stating clear milestones, objectives, and accountability measures.


Employees typically perform better when they’re clear on what is expected of their work. By being open and transparent about what the goals are, you can ensure sustained progress, motivate your teams, and achieve long-term success!


2. Time to Connect


One of the most important components of any remote work strategy is internal communication. Understanding your team members, whether they’re in-house or remote, is absolutely decisive for cultivating a positive work culture – individualization being the operative word here!


According to Gallup, managers can reduce the risk of stress and burnout by giving remote workers individualized support and flexibility contributing to their personal wellbeing. Establishing human connections, even in a virtual space, is critical – and also one of the biggest challenges. 


Oftentimes, the absence of face-to-face contact every day can lead to disconnect and isolation. Creating opportunities for human connectivity is key. 


Make sure to schedule regular meetings where you can offer valuable feedback and listen to your team’s needs and concerns. Address any issues that might come up and set weekly goals and priorities. When used as a strategy, human connectivity can blossom into strengthened engagement and higher job efficiency in the virtual workspace!



A woman having a video call while smiling and making hand gestures


3. Motivation is Key


Although recent studies show that remote workers have a higher level of engagement (32%) than on-site workers (29%), they’re also more likely to quit. In fact, 46% of remote workers are combined silent and loud quitters. One of the main reasons for this is lack of motivation.


So-called strengths conversations are a great way to keep motivation high in the hybrid workplace. Schedule intentional Zoom meetings with your remote teams where you help them better understand their strengths (both as a team and individually) and how to maximize them. 


A good strengths-focused conversation can create new bonds, develop relationships, boost engagement, and increase performance in new and dynamic ways!


To learn more about building a value-based culture that keeps motivation high in the workplace, take a look at this article.


4. Team Building Activities


Creating fun and engaging team-building activities with remote employees in mind is key to foster camaraderie and boost morale among your distributed team members. Aside from the regular Zoom meets, try to plan team-building activities they can attend – either on a digital platform or in-person.


They are great opportunities to create bonds that have a positive ripple effect on the overall remote work culture. 


Here are some ideas:

  • Bring in engagement games like Trivia, Kahoot, or Bingo

  • Share VR technology

  • Host a virtual coffee break

  • Do a group fitness challenge

  • Invite an external facilitator to talk about an interesting topic



A person holding a cake with a candle in front of the camera in a zoom call with colleagues


5. Recognition of Performance


Providing regular meaningful recognition helps your remote employees feel valued. When expectations and goals are met, teams should celebrate! Employee recognition is a tool and a strategy that has a direct impact on the work culture. It engages, inspires, and retains valuable talent.


Companies can often fall short on recognition for remote employees, which has direct negative consequences for the entire remote work culture. Your team starts to lose motivation, becomes disengaged, and ultimately stops being productive. In the end, your team members will inevitably start looking for better opportunities.


Recognition is more than simply acknowledging a job well done. It’s making employees feel valued and supporting them in finding purpose in their work. Inviting them to become involved in important decision-making and allowing them to help shape company policies – especially if it concerns the remote workplace. Of course, a special reward such as a gift card is always appreciated.



Building a Remote Work Culture that Connects


A strong work culture builds high-powered teams. This is nonetheless true for remote work cultures. At many companies, ensuring active participation from teleworkers has become a critical component for achieving sustainable success that comes with its own unique challenges.


A robust remote work culture can be obtained in a myriad of ways – especially by establishing clear expectations, fostering meaningful connections, offering valuable feedback, and making the remote workplace a really fun place to be! 


Best of luck in your endeavor to create a thriving digital work culture!




 


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