Bridging the distance gap with remote employees

Can a long-distance relationship work in a corporate environment?

We hope you liked this article about remote work. Browse the other articles of the series:

In our previous article, we have outlined the many benefits and pitfalls of remote work. Now, let's see what makes a remote team, a truly cohesive team.

A strong corporate culture is often ignored, whether it is a physical or virtual office. A company is made up of people who work for greater goals and good. The greater the consistency between colleagues, the easier it is to work together.

There is no business that can grow without strong employee commitment and internal culture. Employees need to feel comfortable and confident in building a positive corporate culture.

Here are some tips for building successful remote company connections:

Nothing replaces face-to-face communication

One of the drawbacks of home office is the lack of personal meetings. face-to-face conversations are replaced by e-mails, phone calls, and chat conversations, where messages are more difficult to interpret due to the lack of nonverbal signals. The messages we send to others do not always reach the destination we want. The recipient often encodes the information in a different way, so misunderstandings are very common.

Personal meetings and quality time with the team are invaluable to us. The bonds that come from personal conversations are strong and we work hard to develop them throughout the year. In face-to-face conversations, we understand the other person's thinking better. This time spent together is going to prove extremely useful in cyberspace later on.

The morning meetings are built into the everyday life of our company

Stand-up meetings

Meetings are essential in the life of a remote team. Stand-up meetings are common practice in the IT sector, but can be used with similar efficiency in many other areas. It's called a stand-up meeting because everyone in the team is standing. Why should they stand? There is a psychological explanation, that simply by standing up, everyone is short on what they have to say.

Long reports are not the goal here. If there is a problem that needs to be discussed in detail, a separate meeting should be arranged. The purpose of the stand-up is to help each participant to see the current status and progress of a project.

At Further, we start the day with a 10-minute video call each day, telling each other how much progress we've made the day before, what tasks are planned for today, and whether we're stuck with something.

In addition, at the conclusion of each project, we hold a so-called retrospective meeting to evaluate the project. We sum up what we have done well and what could be improved so that we can be even more efficient next time.

A videohívások kitűnően szolgálják a kollégák között együttműködést.

Video calls

Video calls can be a great way to bridge the gap created by distance. This form of communication makes the flow of information between colleagues much more personal. Seeing our colleagues frequently helps to build relationships and make conversations more personal.

In addition, video calls help us focus on each other. When we know that others are seeing us, we think twice about scrolling the Facebook feed or not.

We encourage 1:1 participants to regularly share their thoughts

1-on-1 conversations

Make sure to have at least one video call or voice call per month where team members can talk 1-on-1 with your company manager or supervisor. This allows them to ask questions that they were not able to ask via email or group chat. This is also a great chance for team members to suggest improvements that they were afraid to express in front of others.

The right tool for the task

Contrary to popular belief, tools do matter. There are many tools available to help you organize and facilitate the work of a remote team.

At Further, we use Slack as a communication channel, one of the best communication tools on the market for remote teams. With it, you can send a message to a colleague from around the world, share files, and add comments. You can create a custom chat channel for different projects, making it easier to organize.

Chat

When managing virtual teams, it is impossible to maintain the same level of spontaneity as you would with a traditional office workplace. However, we can continue chatting in a chat room just as we would in the office dining room.

Slack provides a watercooler chat room to replace office chats. Here we share our hobbies, interests, personal experiences and goals. These conversations encourage employees to get to know each other and personally relate to each other. As employees build relationships with their colleagues, their motivation and productivity increase. Increased communication and a better understanding of each other will create a more favorable work environment.

Shared virtual to-do lists

It often happens in a remote team that we work in multiple time zones, so it can sometimes be a challenge to keep everyone up to date with shared projects. However, with virtual to-do lists, our team will have a much more transparent list of all the tasks along with their status, making it easy to share work and keep everyone informed.

We use productive.io, which allows you to send files, share notes and talk about them. Anyone can see what workflows are going on and who is working on that specific project.

Face-to-face meetings are important in the life of a remote team.

Personal encounters

Multiple face-to-face meetings are essential to building a healthy and strong team. Annual team buildings are a great opportunity to strengthen the already established collegiate relationships.

At Further it has become a tradition to organize half-year team buildings.

Corporate team building usually takes place during the first few weeks of each year, where the focus of the meeting is on co-development, celebration of small-to-bigger successes and setting collective goals. Of course, team building games and fun are not to be missed.

Family-based team building takes place in the last weeks of the summer when we learn about what our colleagues are like in their private lives as husbands / wives or even fathers / mothers.

One of the keys to building trust is focusing on quality communication and properly interpreting feedback from employees.

A united, strong team can create wonderful things. Even though remote teams have their own unique challenges. A united team can unite in its goals and be successful in projects.