Cultivate Inclusive Company Culture While Remote
With the majority of employees remaining remote and many companies promising to continue giving their employees the option of where to work indefinitely, we’re entering a new era of company culture. The days of completely in-person all-hands meetings are long gone and the easy ways of creating and spreading positive company culture are changing overnight. Despite all this change, creating an inclusive culture is more important now than ever before. Employees want to feel connected to their company culture and want their company to demonstrate a clear commitment to diversity and inclusion.
While remote employees are given the freedom to work in their own space using the tools and location that works best for them, this can lead to feeling isolated from colleagues and leaders. Creating opportunities for connection and involving your employees in the evolving culture at your company is the best way to increase their productivity and motivation.
In previous blogs, I have suggested the implementation of a virtual water cooler which provides an opportunity for employees to share and discuss topics with colleagues in a lighthearted, low-stress way. This can be very effective at creating culture but sometimes having these off-the-cuff message exchanges permanently visible to all employees discourages real discourse that would occur at the water cooler in person. In order to avoid this, encourage employees to partner up and have virtual coffees with a different team member each week or bi-weekly. This gives employees an opportunity to chat with colleagues and get to know their peers in a relaxed setting. These virtual coffees should be on video and thus colleagues are more likely to feel comfortable asking questions without fear of judgment from a larger group.
In terms of building a culture, these small breakout meetings allow your team to grow together and learn helpful tips and tricks from their peers. Once your team has been regularly meeting in smaller groups, schedule a larger team meeting to bridge gaps and keep the team connected. These larger culture-building meetings should be meant as a break from work and you could encourage the team to share their favorite ice breakers or even play games like Heads Up on video. Keeping your team connected in these informal ways will increase their ability to collaborate and support one another throughout the week, increasing your team’s productivity and work-life balance.