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Maintaining Culture in a Virtual Environment

If you manage teams of knowledge workers, chances are that you’ve implemented flexible work to some degree. In fact, as of February 2022, 58% of knowledge workers are part of a hybrid work model. Employees are on board with this change, too. Worldwide, 75% of workers want flexibility in their location and 95% want flexible schedules. 

This presents managers with the need to cultivate an effective virtual team environment for employees to perform their best. 51% of business leaders are concerned that remote work will negatively impact company culture. The good news is that it doesn’t have to. Having a well-defined and supported culture motivates employees to produce higher quality work, and this is achievable in hybrid environments. In this article, we’ll go over how remote work impacts culture and what you can do to create and grow an engaging company culture.

How Does Remote Working Impact Culture?

Remote work culture differs from in-office culture due to potential asynchronous scheduling, interactions through technology, and a new set of distractions. This can create challenges in communication, team dynamics, and understanding expectations.

How Do You Build Culture in a Virtual Workplace?

Company culture refers to the attitudes of employees and how it affects behaviors like team dynamics and work ethic. Most companies can promote an existing culture instead of starting from scratch. Most companies already have a set of values that they want to guide their culture, but it takes work to keep these values top-of-mind for employees, especially when operating in a virtual workplace. Effective communication, team bonding, and clear expectations are all ways that you can build your culture, and they are achievable in a virtual environment. 

How Do You Improve Company Culture Virtually?

With all of the challenges of remote working, there are still plenty of ways to improve company culture in virtual environments. 

5 Ways To Improve Company Culture

These tips will help you develop a culture that fosters engagement, camaraderie, and quality work.  

  1. Build Trust: Only checking in during group meetings can be isolating for employees, especially when they run into blockers or are feeling overwhelmed. Give your employees the opportunity to come to their managers with any issues they are having, whether directly or indirectly related to work. Regular one-on-one appointments can give your team a comfortable environment to discuss challenges with you. 
  2. Be Intentional: When working remotely, especially if you’re logging in from home, it can be easy to let professionalism slide. While this can be okay—even beneficial—to a degree, it is still important to lead by example. How you act as a team leader in virtual spaces will impact how your team engages. You can motivate your team by continuing to show up on time, staying focused during meetings, and giving members the opportunity to contribute. 
  3. Take Advantage of Technology: Technology doesn’t have to harm your company culture. In fact, the right tools can even be an advantage. At Alleo, we’ve found that most virtual meetings give all of the attention to only one or two participants while the rest become unengaged. Our advanced virtual whiteboard gives everyone the opportunity to share and contribute simultaneously.
  4. Make Room for Informal Interaction: For all its benefits, remote work does take away the small bonding moments that can happen between coworkers in an office setting. However, as a leader, you can still make room for informal interaction. One way to do so is by allowing team members to share personal stories at the start of weekly meetings, as long as everyone gets back on track in a reasonable amount of time. Another option is to break your team into smaller groups when you can to work on projects. Having fewer people in a meeting can be less intimidating for people to open up, giving them the opportunity to bond in a more comfortable setting. You can also rotate groups to make sure everyone gets to know one another.
  5. Set Clear Expectations: Working remotely comes with different opportunities and challenges than working in the office. You can help your team adjust and thrive in a virtual environment by setting clear expectations. Changing schedules, new technology, and a different workplace bring enough chaos with them. Your employees shouldn’t have to also stress about whether or not they are performing well. Flexibility can be important during transitional periods, but it can help to test out concrete meeting schedules and deadlines and then adjust them rather than changing expectations on the fly.

Improving your culture is a continuous process. Get feedback from employees through surveys or one-to-one meetings to find what works—and what doesn’t—then adjust accordingly.  

How To Implement New Ways of Working: Alleo

Alleo makes it possible to turn the challenges of remote work into opportunities. This is especially true when it comes to your company culture. Instead of allowing physical distance to separate your team, Alleo’s tools make it easy to set meeting environments where everyone feels valued. Here’s how:

  • Engage your team with the ability to bring all of your content into one place—no more flipping between apps and risking distraction to hunt down vital context.
  • Empower team members with multiple screen sharing so everyone can voice their suggestions. 
  • Streamline meetings so your team can get the information that empowers them to do their jobs without wasting any of their time. 

Efficiency, collaboration, and dynamic interactions build a positive virtual environment culture. Contact us to help you get there.

Author

Megan Van Zutphen

Megan Van Zutphen

COO of Alleo