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How To Create an Office Culture in a Remote Team
by Startacus Admin
Written by Ben Brandall of Process Street
Remote teams have hurdles that some office teams don’t. With all the advantages that remote teams have there are some minor disadvantages to them, but thanks to the amazing technology that we have today, we’re in a fortunate place to solve those problems.
Working remotely means that we don’t have to tolerate getting cramp by sitting in a horrible, miserable and dull office 9-5, 7 days a week. We can sit by a pool if we liked or even just at home in our PJ’s, but with that, there are still downsides. There is the timezone issue, if you’re in the EST time zone and you have an employee in Australia then you’re going to struggle to communicate and get things done quickly and effectively. Lack of a workplace social life can be a problem for some employees if they have never worked remotely before, they may feel isolated and with many distractions -- it can be difficult to stay focused.
At Process Street, we have team members based in UK, US, Brazil, Philippines, Mexico, Latvia and more. We have a great diversity of people who are well-skilled but timezones can be a problem. Luckily there are some great apps and methods we use that takes care of these problems and we want to share them with you.
Introduce New Team Members
Whenever a new member joins the team, make sure you go through a well-established onboarding process. Introduce them to everyone else in the team, let them know who does what and who they contact for different types of queries, etc. Assigning a new member of a team a ‘buddy’ at the start of their new role can help them not to be hesitant to ask for help and they will gain confidence. It’ll help the new member feel more comfortable and get familiar with the rest of the team and internal communication won’t change by having the new person on board.
Provide Necessary Information
Provide remote workers with the necessary information they will need to carry out their job. This can include things such as logins to their email, certain websites, apps and more. Make sure that they have access to whatever it is they need; not only will this motivate them to do their best, you’ll be able to guarantee that they’re accountable for their work.
Have Regular Meetings
Emails and messages are a good way for quick and simple communication, but they’re not the best way to relate to a person. Calls and video calls make communication more personal than email and messages. It also helps team members to get to know each other and learn to read how other team members feel and think. Having regular meetings also gives you the chance to check up on the employee’s process on what they’re working and if they need any feedback. This helps create a more company culture within your team.
These are all apps that help remote teams work together and maintain on going workflow. Theses all provide a great way to keep everyone in the loop of what’s being worked on, how it’s moving forward, and they’re great tools to keep communication open.
One on One Meetings
Some people don’t mesh well in groups and when others are present, so holding a one to one meeting (every other week or once a month) with every team member to go over their work, provide them feedback, or make sure that overall they’re doing well can be efficient, but it depends on what you prefer. You may just want a meeting with everyone in the one call or you could have one to one meetings arranged. It’s a way to bond with team members on a more personal level and learn more about who they are outside of their work, what they value, and what’s important to them.
Being available to help your remote teammates is crucial. Due to time-zone differences it is difficult for employees to stay in touch, whenever you are not doing anything -- keep your Slack channel open or your Skype active it allows an employee to have the option of asking a quick question you may know the answer to. I keep my Slack active until 11pm even when I finish around 5pm. This way, I am always available to my fellow employees at any time. Even if it is only to finish a project, make an edit or answer a quick question. Working in a startup is more than just a 9-5 job so being available a whole part of your day may be needed.
There’s a reason “honesty is the best policy” is such a popular saying. When working with remote teams, make sure you’re transparent about company processes, procedures, and possibly finances in order to make them feel comfortable and a part of the company. Being transparent is a great way to share with members the values that are important for the company and it’s a good way to set up an example of what you expect from your team at all times.
Remote working is definitely not for everyone. If you enjoy the freedom and flexibility that allows you to be able to work from anywhere you want, you also embrace the chance regarding having a lot more pressure on you then I would say remote working could be for you. Communication is key to success in remote working teams because if you don’t communicate then no one will know what is going on or know if you are doing your job.
Written by Ben Brandall who works for Process Street is a SaaS application for businesses to build and track their processes using superpowered checklists.
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