This article comes from Entrepreneur.
Although the exact definition of a workplace culture may be different in your company, most business leaders realize the importance of creating a strong and positive culture. A positive culture leads to more creative, happy and productive team members, and more importantly, it also helps everyone work together as one cohesive unit.
But, how can you achieve this when you have employees scattered across the world? Well, just because they’re not physically together doesn’t mean it’s impossible. In fact, if you use the following techniques, you’ll be able to successfully create a vigorous workplace culture for your virtual employees.
Here’s a reality check. Not everyone is cut out for remote work. That means in a perfect world, you hire those who can. It can be a lengthy process after scooping out candidates on sites like Toptal, Upwork or FlexJobs. After that, you want to screen potential hires and review samples of their work.
Then, make sure that they have access to all of the tools and resources needed to do their jobs. They should also have been trained in how to use whatever technology you’re relying on for communication and collaboration. And make sure that you are available to guide them and have deployed tech support when needed.
Most importantly? Be patient with them. It’s going to take some time to figure everything out, like how to set up their home offices and block out distractions.
The foundation of a strong workplace culture is the values that it’s built on. Having cool perks like cereal bars and unlimited time off are well and good, but it’s your values that unite teams, keep them focused and create a positive and productive environment.
At some point, we’ve all been here before. We see a disaster approaching, but instead of speaking up, we remain silent. The reason? We just didn’t feel safe enough to engage.
How can you prevent this within your organization? By promoting psychological safety.
As a leader, here are some ways that you can make your team members feel safe:
Some remote workers respond to every message, take-on new assignments, and seem to be working 24/7. Their reasoning? Well, firstly, they want to give the impression that they’re actively engaged. Secondly, they don’t have that hard line between work and life.
If they were in an office, others could actually see when they’re hard at work. And, when the clock strikes 5, or whatever time signals the end of the workday, they leave and go home.
The problem with this is that your remote team may be working too much. They may also be wasting time working on the wrong things at the wrong time.
Make sure that they’re not falling into the urgency trap. It’s the best way to ensure that they’re spending their time and energy on meaningful work. How they decide to do this is up to them. But you could suggest:
If you want to have a positive and productive culture, then you need to trust your team. That means not focusing on the hours that they’re working and mentoring them through keystrokes or time-tracking apps. Instead, pay attention to their output and.
Moreover, don’t be a micromanager. Clearly communicate your guidelines and expectations and then let them take the ball and run with it. Don’t think that this is an issue? Well, according to Tolero Solutions, “45 percent of people say lack of trust in leadership is the biggest issue impacting their work performance.”
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