Building a Strong Remote Team Culture

By Garth Brunner on March 18, 2024

Maybe you’re new to working remotely or maybe you’ve been doing it for a few years, but it’s never too late to learn how to best build a strong relationship with your team. As you’ve likely noticed, it can be difficult to build that and a team culture when everyone is working remotely. While there are many benefits, you do lose those water cooler chats, striking up conversations over pictures or trinkets on desks, and most casual chats. When you speak in meetings, everything becomes work-related. Here are the top ways to build that strong remote team culture.

via Pexels

Get to Know Your Team

Above everything, you should remember that your team has a life outside of work. You should still have a healthy work environment even though you are remote! They have families, hobbies, hopes, and dreams. Take time out of your day to get to know them. It can be as simple as asking how their weekend was, but get into it more! Ask what they did, and how their family is. You can do this on a video chat or in messaging, and also brings me to my next point.

General Chatting

We always want to stay on topic in our video meetings to make the most of our time together, especially if your remote team is mostly asynchronous, but it does not hurt to use the first few minutes for general chatting. If you open yourself up to it, your team will likely follow. Mention a movie you just saw and maybe someone else watched it too! Then you have that communication going, similar to talking at the water cooler again.

Video chats are not the only way you can just chat. There are a lot of messaging applications that allow you to create different channels for different topics. You can separate them by projects or topics. Make a memes channel where you can send funny memes you see, a media channel to talk about films or shows you watch. That way, you do not clog up work-related chat, but you have other sources to go and do so.

Virtual Team Building

A couple minutes of chitchat at the beginning of a meeting isn’t always enough. You want to talk more and have more fun. If you were not remote, you could grab lunch together, but that’s not possible with a remote team… Not physically, at least! There are plenty of ways you can have virtual team-building events and help build that strong remote team culture. For example, have virtual game nights, virtual drinks, dinner, or lunch. The possibilities are endless! You can even get suggestions from your team on what they might like to see.

Now, keep in mind that after a long day of hard work, some of your team might not be up for such an event. You should refrain from making them mandatory, especially if they are outside of working hours. It could result in the opposite reaction and instead cause resentment. Make them events that your team wants to go to and cannot resist!

These are great because they are fun, allow for a lot of talking, and they can help your team work better together and help motivate them! They might realize how well they work together in a game or it can bring light to new ways to work together. Virtual team-building events are definitely one of the best ways to build that strong remote team culture.

Open and Effective Communication

You must have great communication skills. You need to be easily accessible, whether on video calls, emails, or messaging apps so that your team can get a hold of you easily. This can be questions on projects, updates, or more! Remote workers find it difficult when their team leader is bad at communicating. Have a “door is always open” mentality, even when there is no physical door!

You also need to be good at communicating with your team. Give them necessary updates, delegate tasks, and more. Think of how you would communicate in a physical office, and do that in other methods of communication that you use most as a remote team.

Consider A Virtual Workspace

Some companies have developed a virtual office, where you can move your little avatar around and speak with your teammates. Move it to that virtual water cooler, the conference room, your office, or wherever else your virtual space has. You can speak with your teammates when you’re close to them, and “walk over” to their desks. While this is not for everyone, it is certainly a neat idea to look into. If you think it might be right for you and your team, give it a try!

While this strong remote team culture will not build itself as organically as an in-person one might, there are plenty of ways to still foster relationships in a remote workspace. Everyone and every team is different, so do what works best for you!

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