As flexible work environments, working from home options and remote offices become the norm, it can be increasingly difficult to ensure that employees working away from the office are still made to feel ‘part of the team’. Here at Struber, we acknowledge that people have lives outside of work and need to work from home at times. Also, having recently opened our Melbourne office, we must now ensure that employees in QLD, Victoria and Asia still feel part of the Struber family and our culture is maintained.
We are proud of our flexible work environment and continued growth, however, ensuring that the close-knit culture is maintained despite the distance can be difficult. Here at Struber we have achieved this through the following methods:
Unlock those communication barriers through good old face to face to contact.
Skip the morning phone call and connect via Zoom or Skype instead. Speaking face to face on regular basis, even if through the computer screen, helps to build rapport and trust and ensures that the team member feels connected to the company. Over half the messages we convey in a conversation are nonverbal. By relying on phone, text or email, we are missing important communication queues.
At Struber, Zoom has become a staple tool used to connect with our remote teams. It is not unusual to walk past our boardroom and see a sea of faces on the screen, all coming together to connect on one project. We also ensure that we have a meeting once per week with all staff to discuss what everyone is working on and discuss company-wide matters.
Make sure managers are set up for success.
Managers and team leaders need to be successfully set up to manage employees from a distance. There needs to be clear processes and touch points defined. Some managers might not have managed remote teams before and so ensuring that they are trained up in this is essential for ongoing success.
At Struber, we use 15Five to ensure there is an ongoing dialogue between our managers and reports. There is a weekly pulse check to complete to regularly record challenges and successes, and an option to give recognition to your fellow colleagues.
Help them see their value and contribution to the overall business strategy.
Making sure remote team members feel connected to the overall business strategy is key. They need to know the part they play in driving the business forward.
Our CEO and Managing Director uses video to communicate these messages. By using video our team feel connected to the vision and it is far more engaging than a company email. Further, each employee has specific and clearly defined goals which fit into the larger, company vision. This allows employees to directly see the impact that their work has!
Create a sense of community in a virtual space.
Have a virtual space where all team members can connect in a fun and engaging way ensures that there is always a sense of community across the whole company.
At Struber, we use Yammer as a space for us to share ideas, company updates and a look into who we are outside of work. We are all very active on the platform and so are able to get to know colleagues in other locations easily.
Connect in person as often as possible.
Smart technology has made communicating effective, but nothing beats good old-fashioned face to face contact. This allows staff to collaborate on projects but also to get to know each other better which strengthens their working relationship.
At Struber, we gather at least once per quarter, ensuring our remote teams are involved to further bolster the Struber culture.
Flexible working environments have made it significantly easier for many people to juggle their lives and full-time work, however we must remember that this way of working requires planning and excellent communication!