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Virtual teams have now become the norm since businesses began to run part of or their entire business operations online. But unlike a physical team, virtual teams may present some challenges, particularly when it comes to building a good working culture.

Onboarding a remote workforce, when done right, offers plenty benefits. But one huge challenge in managing digital teams is developing an engaging and supportive working environment. Compared to in-house employees, virtual teams need to be more proactive in creating a strong culture.

Here are four ways you can create a strong working culture with your remote team:

#1: Communicate constantly

There’s no such thing as over communication in virtual teams. Interaction within the team and with individual members needs to happen constantly in order to make sure that everyone is on the same page whether you are finishing a project, launching a new product or in the middle of your campaign.

Ask for updates and give instructions often. This makes collaboration and teamwork easier and more effective.

If you’re having difficulty with establishing communication within your team, you can ask each member for feedback on what they think would help create a more open environment for the team. Similarly, you have to be accessible to your team in between scheduled meetings for any question or feedback they may provide.

Remember that working with remote workers means working with people who may be on a different time zone than you are. Be sensitive to their time and allow for a few adjustments when you can.


#2: Promote relationship building with each team member

Some remote workers might require a more in-person interaction and guidance than others who may be content with purely digital interaction. It’s important that you offer both opportunities to accommodate these differences.

As a boss, you might find it’s sometimes best to be working with individual team members one-on-one through voice calls and screen sharing tools.

Find a way where you can establish a personal connection with them so they feel comfortable working with you.

Although it is not required, you may encourage in-person activities for team members living close to each other or occasional video conference calls to help nurture their relationship with each other.


#3: Let them know that you are on their side

It’s important that you are considerate and are sensitive to their individual situations. Aside from having different time zones, remote employees work in different types of environment. Be aware of that environment and account for things such as family situation and working conditions.

It is also important to promote work-life integration among the members of your team. Your remote employees will respect you even more if they know that you believe and support having a life outside of work.

Aside from this, they also function well when they have the freedom to choose how they will organize their schedule, which leads to increased productivity and the level of happiness and contentment within your team.


#4: Give open and honest praises and criticism

Don’t hesitate to give praises for a team member who has made a job well done.  Without this reinforcement, it is impossible for virtual employees to know that they are actually making a contribution to the company.

Giving them honest feedback, whether good or bad, will motivate them to achieve a set standard. And when you feel they are ready, you can give them the opportunity to take the lead and have full ownership over certain projects.

If not properly supported, even the best employees can feel inadequate. This rings true especially for virtual employees who need all the support they can get from their team.

As the boss, it is your job to put systems in place that will help produce coherence and build a strong working culture among your team.


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