With so many teams continuing to work remotely, it’s hard to maintain a distinctive office culture – especially for a startup. Office culture used to be a strong selling point, drawing talent away from more prominent companies that may have offered more bells and whistles to impressive candidates.
However, now big and small companies alike are struggling to figure out how to build or even maintain a unique sense of culture that can attract new talent and keep existing employees engaged.
The Upside to Remote Work
That doesn’t mean employees aren’t embracing the relative freedom of remote work. Many employees find themselves being more productive, happier and have a greater sense of well being from merely having the option to work from home.
In fact, for most companies, remote work has had the effect of:
- Improving employee job satisfaction
- Reducing unscheduled absences
- Saving employers money (less overhead spent on office space!)
- Cutting down on wasted meetings
- Increasing cross-team collaboration
- Expanding a company’s talent pool
Injecting Culture into Remote Teams
That said, injecting culture can be tricky, and companies need to be proactive in the endeavor. Don’t feel defeated! It’s worth the effort. Having a strong culture is not only a great selling point; it can further increase your team’s productivity and each employee’s level of job satisfaction.
Luckily, there are lots of great ways you can build culture in remote teams.
Consider, for example:
- Adding fun daily challenges such as sharing pet pics or answering simple questions about what your employees like to do outside of work hours. It allows team members to bond and get to know a bit more about each other in a fun way.
- Starting a book club or movie recommendation thread helps generate a conversation that isn’t strictly about work.
- Create a #WFH (Work From Home) channel where employees can post resources about working from home or share their WFH challenges (like kids and pets interrupting Zoom calls).
- Scheduling in a weekly meditation time, virtual game night, or online happy hour to help employees collectively unplug.
- Creating weekly or monthly #AMAs (Ask Me Anything) where employees can submit and upvote questions to key management to help everyone feel they understand the company’s vision and direction. This gives everyone the chance to hear directly from top management on important company decisions.
- Sending actual physical thank-you cards/gift cards via mail to thank employees for their hard work.
- Looking for ways to recreate digital office perks. While gym memberships may be off the table, offering subscriptions to online fitness classes might a good way to keep your team fit and happy. Other fun ideas include: curated monthly snack boxes, covering employee home internet costs, or offering employee assistance programs such as confidential online counseling.
Slack Plugins That Inject Culture into Every Day
Sometimes it’s hard to be creative or to remember to inject culture and fun into everyone’s daily routines.
However, if your company is a big user of Slack, you’ll be happy to know there are some great plugins designed to inject more whimsy into the daily grind while helping team members get to know each other a bit better – even if they don’t share office space or time zones.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Donut makes it easy to create remote interactions via virtual coffee meetups and group lunches. They also have technology that allows teams to introduce new hires, promote themes of justice and inclusivity, and creating opportunities for peer mentorship.
Honeycommb allows companies to create their own internal social platforms to give employees a place to communicate and build a virtual office culture. You can even turn it outward and get your customers involved too!
Snack provides one-on-one video calls meant to replicate the spontaneity of running into fellow employees around the office. The plugin offers topical ice-breakers and encourages facetime via random virtual encounters.
Polly allows companies to engage with teams via quick polls that help capture team feedback to ensure that employees are part of the company’s decision-making process wherever they are.
Disco is a culture platform designed for remote teams. Members can give compliments, celebrate wins, crowdsource, highlight the month’s employees, and participate in fun raffles.
Hey Taco! is a fun way to spread compliments throughout your Slack channels. The plugin gives each employee five tacos to give away daily. Tacos can be used to inject a little bit of happiness into any Taco feed by providing team members with five reasons to compliment another employee or to give kudos on a job well done.
Have you integrated Slack into your Jira platform yet? At Bitband, we make it easy to integrate your Slack and Jira together. Find out how.
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