How to Build A Vibrant Remote Culture
Updated: Oct 18
But, how do you go about pulling together those key ingredients so that your employees feel energized and connected to the organization and the work they do?
The key is to take a strategic approach to building this culture. You need to start with a framework and then fill in this framework with activities that work for your organization. It involves looking at the strategy as a long term commitment and assessing the needs of your workforce based on their personalities, the work they do, and the resources available.
Think about it. What an engineer finds engaging may be very different than what a graphic designer finds energizing.
The basic framework for a remote strategy includes the following elements:
Hold a mix of structured and unstructured activities at different times of the day
Have daily events as well as periodic events
Vary activities between large and small groups
Create a calendar for events and allow people to choose the ways that want to participate
To help you fill in this strategic framework, we have compiled some of the activities that you can consider incorporating:
Inject some fun into employee introductions: Rather than just having the new employee wave from their square on the screen, give them some fun questions to answer. Here are a few examples:
If you were deserted on an island and could only binge watch or read one thing, what would it be?
What superpower do you wish you had and why?
What spirit animal would you choose and why?
Of course give these questions to the new hire before the introductory meeting so they can come prepared. To add to the fun, circulate the questions to your team and have them introduce themselves in the same way.
Daily snapshots: This is a simple way for teams to get to know each other. Each day employees circulate a picture of something. It could be their lunch, the view from their window or a picture of their favorite fruit. Teams can comment on the pictures which get conversations going that aren’t work related.
Create a “good news” channel - Creating a ‘good news’ conversation channel gives your team members an outlet to share uplifting events. A team member sharing their new puppy or a “feel good” story they heard can inject some positive energy into the work day.
Send something through the mail: Send care packages or notes that celebrate birthdays, work anniversaries or just the end of the quarter. Simply sending a handwritten card or some company swag can lift your team’s spirits without breaking the bank.
Create regular gatherings. Hosting a virtual happy hour at the end of the week or a coffee break midweek are great ways to support remote culture. You can involve just your team or invite other teams. The event does not need to be long. Starting it off with a fun structured question can help break the ice
Host virtual events: After you get to know the interests of your team, think about hosting an after work team building opportunity. Some of the events that we have heard about are:
Virtual workshops and classes based on the interests of your team. For example, if you have a group who expressed an interest in learning Spanish, find someone in your community that can teach a class.
Start a book club.
Host a “board” game night. Many of the classic board games now have online versions.
Conduct a DIY party or lecture. Instead of an ongoing class, host a crafting night or invite a speaker that will address an interest of your team.
Establish a “getting to know you” program: On a regular basis randomly connect two people in the company and provide them time to have a virtual coffee or lunch.. Random selection provides the opportunity for employees to get together who might not otherwise meet. One company we know conducts biweekly randomly assigned coffee breaks with one rule: You can talk about anything other than work.
These are just a few of the activities that can be incorporated into a remote culture strategy. With all activities be sure they are driven by the needs and personalities of your employees and that you are in it for the long haul. Create a strategy that is intentionally implemented, regularly reviewed and adjusted as necessary.