In a stereotypical office environment, coworkers have the chance to engage with each other in person; hang by the water cooler, get lunch together, gossip over happy hour. Obviously, it’s not the same story for remote companies. So how do all-remote companies find ways for their employees to engage?
Fostering an environment for remote employees to connect is beneficial in many ways, including that it:
- Makes people happy to work where they do
- Builds friendships inside and outside of work
- Helps coworkers understand how each other work, allowing for more team efficiency across the board
- Makes employees feel a part of something bigger, which makes them feel more invested in what they are doing
- Gives insight into what other people are doing
With the rise of communications platforms like Slack, Zoom, and Memo, the ability for coworkers to engage has become a lot easier. Once you have the tools your team will need to connect, you’ll be able to build the remote team culture you’ve always dreamt about 👯♂️. Here are a couple of tips to help you do so!
1. Weekly hangouts
Here at Joy labs, we have a bi-weekly Zoom hangout called “Hang Time”. Hang Time is an optional (yet encouraged) time for all employees to jump on a video call and just chat about anything and everything! This allows employees to connect on a personal matter. Talk about hobbies they love and have in common, or shows and movies people are watching. Employees can jump into this video call whenever they want, and jump out whenever they want. Just like they could as if they were having a conversation “at the water cooler”. We’ve found that this time to hang out with our remote coworkers builds friendships and understanding between coworkers.
Try using this method yourself! Set aside some time every week for your team to connect, come up with a fun name for the meeting, and let it organically evolve into something your employees look forward to.
2. Celebrate holidays and events
Let your employees have some fun! Set up some contests, events focused around holidays, pizza parties, or gaming tournaments. Plan these events ahead of time, and allow people to prepare. Create flyers for upcoming events, utilize your company hub (we use Honey) to set up pages where you post all needed info, and encourage your team to participate!
3. Set up company wide messaging groups for different topics
If you have a remote company, chances are you have an eclectic group of employees. Folks from all over the country or even the world enjoy different things, but also, a lot of the same things! Whatever your team uses as your main communication platform (here at Joy Labs, we use Slack), create channels with fun topics. For example, we have a #Pets channel where everyone can post funny pictures of their furry friends, a #Gamers channel where people can connect about upcoming games or games they all love to play and a #Random channel, where employees can post random things they think are awesome!
4. Make branded swag
Let your employees sport their company pride during work hours, and after, by building out some branded swag! Making things like t-shirts, hats, and mugs are all fun additions to a company culture.
In a remote company, this can sometimes prove difficult however, as you don’t have an office to send all of the swag items to, or a physical place where all employees go to every day where you can pass out the swag directly to them. Save some time and energy by choosing a swag company that has a drop-ship inventory! This will prove itself very helpful as it allows you to create a swag item with this 3rd party company, they hold all inventory in-house, you send out a link to employees, and the 3rd party company ships it directly to them (the company that we currently use is Printfection).
5. Set up at least one full company offsite per year
Getting the full company together in person once in a while is definitely recommended! You and your team spend so much time remote; connecting over video, messaging, and emailing each other, that meeting in person helps tie together the relationships people have made. It’s also a great way to brainstorm new ideas, problem solve, and just get things done in general!
If you would like to become a member of Joy Labs, a fully remote startup, stay up-to-date with job openings through our careers page.
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