Shaping Your Remote Team Culture in 2021

Shaping Your Remote Team Culture in 2021

New challenges require new vessels intended to help you succeed “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

It’s an undeniable fact: wherever there is a mission or a strategy, there is a culture that needs to be cultivated. The need for healthy culture is amplified when more teams are working remotely. Put simply:

Remote teams demand intentionally crafted team culture.

Culture over Mission

Mission is one of those terms that’s thrown out in business and leadership to encapsulate the idea of direction.  When we’re talking mission, we’re talking about where we are going. 

Mission is a destination.  A common goal.  A better future worthy of our work and determination.  

Your mission determines where you are going, but your culture will determine if your team will arrive together.

I once took a team of volunteers and teenagers on a trip tubing down a river outside of Columbia, SC.  We all hiked to our launch point, and we knew that about 3 miles downriver was our destination.  We all entered the river together, but soon, we were scattered across the water.  I had a cluster of 15-year-olds 100 yards upstream, an adult volunteer headed down the left side of a fork in the river while we were meant to go right, and I’m pretty sure along the way I lost a flip-flop.  Eventually, we all made it to our destination, but if I had to do it again, I would ditch the inner tubes and rent a pontoon boat!

Remote Teams Need Healthy Culture

High functioning teams need a high functioning culture in order to thrive.  It’s great when individuals meet their goals, but it feels even better when the team passes large milestones together.  Healthy culture enables the team to move forward together.  To celebrate, together.  To improve, together.  

In the new age of remote work, in order to cultivate healthy culture, we have to build intentional moments and experiences to do these things together.  Gone are the days of impromptu lunches and birthday celebrations.  And let’s face it, no one wants to gather on a video call to have their coworkers sing happy birthday while they blow out their candle on their pre-packaged cupcake. 

Experiences Matter

It used to be enough to celebrate together at the holidays, or the end of the fiscal year and allow the employees to relationally fend for themselves throughout the year.  Consider my team headed downriver in the inner tubes; I wasn’t guiding whether or not they would enjoy the experience.  Their level of enjoyment was entirely up to them.  For the ones who got stuck on a rock in the middle of the rapids, their experience may not have enjoyed it as much as those that clustered together on their own and made their way down the river together.  

But, those who had a positive experience would carry that positive energy back to our group.  And, those who didn’t would feel left out, or worse, carry their negative energy back to the group, too.

Which would you rather:  A group of people who enjoy their work experience, or a group of people stuck on rocks in the middle of a river?

Now, I didn’t physically lose anyone on that rafting trip (save for my flip-flop!), but in a sense I did.  For my older volunteer who constantly got stuck on our trip downriver, she would never again go tubing with me.  And she’d probably think twice before saying yes to volunteering, as well!

The same is true for your team.  Positive shared experiences create positive team energy.  Conversely, negative isolated experiences create negative team energy.  Positive experiences build unity, negative experiences cause strains.  If your team is under strain for too long, it will succumb to the tension and disrupt your progress.

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

Today, your team is heading toward a destination, and hopefully, they are all headed toward your intended destination.  While it’s successful for everyone to meet at the exit point, it’s even better when you do it together at the same time and with everyone in tow.  To ensure this, you need an intentional culture of connection, celebration, and let’s be honest, you need some fun. 

Healthy team culture is like renting a pontoon boat.  You can maximize your party size, maintain a consistent pace that keeps everyone moving forward, and if you get off course, you’ve got some power to correct it.  Heck, you might be able to navigate the waters and make several trips at the same time it takes other teams to finish!  

Shared success goes a long way toward building a healthy team culture.  However, culture is centered around celebrating your small and large wins together, evaluating success and failures together, and making adjustments together, you’ve built a culture that’s made for the long-haul.

Navigating the New Rapids of Remote Work

The marketplace shifted dramatically in 2020 and every business and their employees made necessary pivots.  There are new rapids that a remote workforce is navigating and the stakes have been raised on building a cultural-vessel that’s ready for the waters.  More uncertainty lies ahead, but you’ll need creativity, unity, trust, and candor at your side.  Virtual Experiences, like those offered by LetsVidya, for your remote teams can help you build a rhythm of investing in your teams with a level of creativity that will have them inspired to go the distance. 

You’re already on the journey, now it’s time to develop the right culture to get you to your destination.

Contact us today to see how we can help you in the journey!