Building a team culture in a small business revolves around three key factors: freedom, flexibility and a better work/life balance, factors that can be implemented even when you’re not around.
Freedom, flexibility and a better work/life balance…These are the three factors fuelling the ‘work from home’ movement. The concept isn’t new, but over the past decade new technologies have triggered a decisive shift in work cultures.
We’re talking ultra-fast internet, seamless video call software, online project management software and the normalisation of laptops and smartphones.
The trend is now gaining momentum at a national level. In the US, a Gallup poll indicates that telecommuting for work on a regular basis is up to 37%.
Of course, in the same way that chatting on Tinder doesn’t simulate the experience of a real life date, creating virtual team culture isn’t without its complexities. So how can you ensure that your workforce is erudite?
We get that dynamic teams come in all shapes and sizes, so whether you’re a small business managing a team of freelancers or are a laptop wielding ‘work from home’ entrepreneur, these tips are for you.
Simulate the social experience
There’s no denying that channels like Facebook and Instagram can be bigtime productivity killers. But that said, they can also act as invaluable social networks for geographically segmented teams.
In an office scenario, your staff have daily opportunities to engage in casual conversation. From chats in the elevator, run-ins at the stationery cupboard and tea break banter, rapport is ever present. Remote teams don’t enjoy the same in-house camaraderie, which means it’s important to recreate this is another way.
We’d suggest turning your small business to social media channels and setting up a private thread where you and your employees can casually engage and connect. Remember, any serious work related content is outlawed. Opt for popular platforms like Facebook, or go for purpose built corporate solutions.
Establish clear visions and values for your team culture
From the moment an employee becomes a team player, they should be living and breathing the company’s visions and values. These act as a common denominator for every staff member, regardless of age, interests, pay rate or skill level. When every team member shares the same visions and values, the sense of corporate solidarity is far stronger.
Keep communication channels open in your small business
When it comes to scheduling, emphasise the concept that putting together a roster that runs smoothly is a team effort. With powerful workforce management software, you can create a workplace that’s connected and collaborative.
Add shifts in seconds, then instantly share completed rosters with the entire team via email or SMS. Something come up? No worries. Thanks to designated features, staff can enjoy access to a full set of in-house communication tools.
Every team needs a leader, and as a manager it’s your role to step-up. Make sure your staff feel confident reaching out to you, and set up weekly one-on-one sessions with every team member. This will give them a chance to discuss everything from upcoming projects to the performance of fellow colleagues.
Don’t be shy about setting aside a minute or two to chat about ‘small stuff’ like what they’ve got planned for the weekend. This is called rapport people – don’t underestimate it!
Define roles to avoid micromanagement
Micromanagement is a concept that can bring a team to its knees. Avoid corporate mutiny by lucidly defining all roles, and making it clear to the rest of the crew when you’ve bestowed more responsibility on a certain member of the team.
Getting the job done is the end goal, but misjudge the inherent importance of team culture and you’re instantly putting the productivity of your workforce at-risk. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be five steps closer to enjoying a physically fragmented workforce, with the tight knit culture of an in-house team.
Chris Power is Sales and Marketing Manager of Ento, a cloud-based workforce management tool that is the chosen solution for over 3000 workplaces. With a focus on building happier, more productive workplaces, people are at the heart of everything Ento does. His most recent article was 35 Team Building Activities.