Creating a positive work culture for your company is critical to your business’ success. It’s more than just bringing in food for everyone to eat; it’s about connecting your employees to the company they work for. This is especially true for remote teams—the physical distance between remote workers means that working to create a positive work culture will take much more work, but it’s still critical to make certain it exists. By making sure your company lives up to its values, your work culture will enrich your employees’ well-being, retain top talent, and turn them into advocates for your business. 

Building such a positive work culture was easier in person because it evolved organically. Teams did activities together, collaborated more, and shared real-life experiences with one another that remote work doesn’t easily allow. However, that doesn’t mean work culture can’t happen organically while remote either: it just requires much more deliberate thought and proactive effort.

The biggest challenge in every workplace, for example, is setting up a foundation of trust and safety for your employees. A great work environment is characterized by trust and mutual respect among everyone who works there. It also relies on psychological safety, or a “sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject, or punish someone for speaking up.” 

You can cultivate such a work culture by checking the behavior of company leaders and focusing on the structure of your business. Leaders set the expectations that employees should follow, so ensure that your company leaders work with humility, curiosity, interest, and fallibility. Likewise, teach your remote teams to provide constructive feedback that doesn’t rely on blaming others or making things personal. This feedback should be received over video calls so people can avoid misunderstandings.

Since no one is meeting in an office while remote working, you have to make sure that all goals and the mission of your company are communicated clearly to your workers. It’s much easier to have a high-performance team and work culture if everyone understands the company’s vision. Similarly, be clear and explicit about your work policy—when should everyone expect to be online for work? How many hours are expected of them to work each day? Make this clear so that all applicants are aware of what they’re signing up for.

Do your best to schedule some face time as well. Meeting people face-to-face is important for relationship building, so try to bring teams together in person during onboarding or schedule in-person meetings. It doesn’t have to be expensive; even meeting over Zoom on a weekly basis can help establish relationships.