Experts say that now more than ever, workplace culture will be top priority for many seeking employment. For many people, it takes just as much priority as wages and benefits. Your work culture is essential to building your business into what you aspire for it to be! This is because you need people who are on the same page as you and can see your goals and take it and run with it as their own. Building a work culture for a virtual team can be a little more challenging. The lack of propinquity can make it tricky to create that one-ness needed to succeed.
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“Culture” has become a sort of buzzword among workplaces in recent years. You just have to look at popular Silicon Valley companies to see this played out. Team culture has become synonymous with things like catered lunches and break room games. However, work culture is more than break rooms, pantries and team outings. While those can be fun and are great for much needed breaks, there is so much more to it than that. Culture is about how we work, how we communicate with customers and each other, and how we incorporate company values into what we do.
Virtual teams need a bit more work than those in a traditional office space. Since everyone in a virtual team is remote, it is easy for each member of the team to function as an individual unit and while this may be true physically, it is not the case. The importance of a positive workplace culture has been repeatedly highlighted in research. Culture is linked to employee productivity, mindset, engagement and empowerment. Getting your virtual team to that space is extremely essential.
It Starts With Leadership: your style of leadership is the glue that will hold your team together. Since your team is virtual, it’s not like you can visit them at their desk or look over their shoulder. What you need to work on is empowering your team to be independent whilst working as a cohesive unit. You need to allow them to take ownership of their role and still encourage and foster a spirit of one goal and big picture realities.
Create a good virtual environment: the environment you foster will be the driving force behind your work culture as a virtual team. Creating trust and rapport between team members is a core factor that you need to encourage. You can begin by expressing this trust and then exercising that by not micromanaging, keeping expectations clear but also allowing them to do what they will, given these parameters. Make it clear that a win for one is a win for all but also acknowledge these individual wins.
Communication is key: How you communicate is extremely important, especially with a virtual team. The bottom line is that you need to set up effective communication channels and processes, and use them. Find ways to have interactions beyond simply the work but allow your team to have a chance to get to know each other personally as well. Balance interactions mixing both business and fun.
Make it personal: when you make it personal, this means that you are fostering honesty and accountability thus boosting your work culture. Allowing your team to feel comfortable with being honest and to be accountable for their actions, good and bad, brings about a sense of loyalty that will also drive your team to work harder together.
Building a positive work culture for your virtual team is not impossible. Remote individuals, physically apart can turn into emotional distance and discord in your team. By being a strong leader and laying down the groundwork to avoid that, you can have a successful team and a strong work culture too.