Creating a culture of high performing teams can be challenging under normal circumstances. Add in a global pandemic, homeschooling kids and a change to the office environment – you’ve got your work cut out for you!

I get asked about creating culture and leading a remote team frequently, and while the tips below will definitely get you underway, there will also be a lot of trial and error you will need to go through within your own business.

After awhile, you will find what works for you, your business and your employees, as well as what doesn’t work so the first step is being patient.

Here are the top tips we have learnt through our own trial and error of having a global & remote team.

  • Communication is absolutely imperative. Over-communicate!
  • Implement a tool that allows you to communicate easily. We were using Slack, however have found better results with Twist as it’s more structured. Be incredibly careful not to allow in depth conversations in your communication tool – these should be done via video or phone call. (E.g. no more than 2-3 sentences on a messaging app)
  • Daily stand-ups (catchups) via Zoom first thing in the morning. In these stand-ups, each person shares in 3 mins or less – what they worked on yesterday, what they will be working on today and any challenges they are having.
  • When holding a video meeting, ensure that all participants can easily be seen and heard – avoid having any side conversations if there is more than one person in the same room.
  • If you are sending a message via a messaging tool or an email that will trigger an emotional response (whether positive or negative), use video or phone call instead.
  • Fortnightly Retro Meetings to discuss what went well, what didn’t go well and what was in the middle. Check out this blog on Retros if you are new to the concept. They are incredibly beneficial and our team love them!
  • Fortnightly one on one catch ups via zoom. This is not to talk about work in progress but more about their mental health, how they are dealing with WFH life, future goals and aspirations, improvements that can be made in the company etc. This should only be with one leader and one employee.
  • Create channels in Slack (or other tool) that are not specific to work.
  • Encourage ‘co-working’ / interaction with each other without leaders involved. In the tech world, this is called Pairing – where 2 members of the team will jump on a video call, share screens and work on something together.
  • Have company announcements channel/s in Slack (or other tool). Share achievements of both the company or any team members that have done something really well. I’d also recommend having a channel for updates about how the current crisis is affecting your organisation, and what you are doing about it. Ensure everyone is kept in the loop to help keep fear at bay.

Finally, to reiterate – communication is key!

Remember, you are all going through massive change so things aren’t going to be perfect from the beginning.

Start small and watch your culture become stronger and more supportive.

Check back in with your team during your Retro meetings to see what’s working and what’s not. Iterate. Be flexible. Be supportive. And finally, remember to take care of yourself too.