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How To Build and Maintain a Remote Team Culture

How To Build and Maintain a Remote Team Culture

During the period when it was believed that remote work was just a temporary arrangement, building a remote team culture wasn’t something a lot of leaders put their resources into. After all, why would you if you would be back in the office next week or next month? 

Here’s the thing, though: your team’s culture was never bound by the walls of an office. It never needed you to “return to work” to exist. It was there all along, morphing and evolving, even if you didn’t have the capacity or tools to actively do something about it. 

Remember, it’s people’s demonstration of behaviors and attitudes that make a team culture - not a single geographic location.

It’s also more than superficial social interactions. As Maxim Whealty of Remote Rated explains: “The companies falling flat are the ones that misidentified trivial interactions in an office environment, like small talk, as culture. Now they feel like they can create a digital version of that by introducing small talk on Zoom or having Slack channels where people can share a photo of their dog. It doesn’t work.”

So, if team culture isn’t a physical office or Zoom happy hours, then what is it? What do leaders like yourself have to do to build and maintain a robust remote team culture? To answer that question, let’s look at what the research is saying. 


Download the Team Culture Toolkit to Better Understand Where Your Culture Is  and What You Want It To Be. >>


What Makes a Remote Team Culture?

When Quantum Workplace surveyed professionals for their 2022 Organizational Culture Report, they asked respondents: In which of the following aspects do you feel or experience your organization's culture most strongly?

The results were clear: employees felt and experienced culture at work most strongly “through day-to-day behaviors.” Specifically, it was situations regarding mission and values, recognition and celebrations, and employee performance that made them feel this way. Meanwhile, at the bottom of that list were rituals and norms, onboarding and training, and physical workspace. 

This is valuable information for those working on building and maintaining a healthy remote team culture, as it gives you an idea of three specific things to start doing, including:

  1. Make a point to discuss how your everyday initiatives support the mission and values of your team/organization
  2. Share words of appreciation and recognition when someone behaves in a way that aligns with the culture and values of the team
  3. Celebrate wins and progress together, even the small ones

This is also a great way to kickstart a conversation with your team on the topic. Start by asking them whether or not they agree with the results of the study and how they would have ranked them if asked. Then, sit back and listen to what your employees have to say. Not only will doing so make them feel heard, but it will also make them feel like they’re part of the process of building a team culture, which will be helpful down the line when it comes time to ask them to make difficult behavioral changes. 


The Benefits of a Strong Remote Team Culture

Building and maintaining a remote team culture is no small feat. It requires time, dedication, and intentionality from not only you but your team as well. However, if the research is anything to go by, all of that work can lead to tangible benefits, such as the following. 

  • 64% of hybrid and 66% of remote employees say that their organization’s culture has a positive impact on their job. (Gartner)
  • The top factors professionals state they use to evaluate job opportunities in 2022 include: remote work options, salary, work-life balance, work schedules, meaningful work, and company culture (Remote.Co)
  • 40% of UK managers who lead remote and hybrid teams invest an average of $51-100USD per employee, per month on workplace culture. As a result, 51% claim their teams have benefitted from better productivity, profitability, work-life balance, and internal communication. (Omnipresent)
  • Remote and hybrid employees report greater psychological safety than onsite employees. More specifically, onsite employees are 66% more likely to feel like mistakes are held against them, 56% more likely to say that people are rejected for being different and 36% more likely to find it difficult to ask teammates for help. (meQuilibrium)
  • 53% of remote workers who had radical flexibility in where, when, and how they work report high culture connectedness. (Gartner)


Next Steps

Whether your goal is to build, change, or maintain a remote team culture, your success in that endeavor hinges on how well you understand where your culture stands today and the vision you have for it in the future. Fortunately, The Toolkit for Understanding Your Team Culture was designed to help you get there as it contains four practical exercises on the topic. 

The Team Culture Toolkit Conains Resources That Will Help You Understand Where Your Culture Is Today and What You Want It to Be

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