It’s official - remote working is the new normal.
With around 70 percent of people working remotely at least one day a week, and employee retention rates set to rise by 10% in 2020 for those who embrace it; leaders are finally waking up to the many benefits a remote-friendly culture offers.
Remote working is not a new concept at Adaptavist. We’ve always worked with globally distributed teams, so it’s been a core part of our DNA from the get-go. But as we continue to grow (rapidly) as an organisation, making sure we nurture the same positive culture across both our physical and virtual workspaces is critical to future success.
Here’s how Slack is helping us do just that:
Keep everyone connected
Finding ways to keep teams connected across multiple locations and time zones is challenging to say the least. But with Slack it doesn’t matter where you are ‘physically’, it brings everyone together in the same place. Of course, nothing will ever replace the value of face-to-face discussions or sitting in the same office as your team. But these days it’s not realistic to expect it.
Slack provides the next best thing by giving us the ability to interact in real-time, swarm around challenges, share ideas, and of course have fun, no matter where we are in the world.
Make it easy for people to engage by describing what a Slack channel is for, avoid obscure naming conventions, clearly state what its purpose is and how people can contribute to the discussion on there.
Build camaraderie as teams grow
Apparently, a third of managers in the UK say they’re losing their sense of humour because of work? Crazy, eh? Luckily at Adaptavist, we guard our humour with our lives. We take our work seriously, but a bit of fun here and there boosts morale and brightens up people’s days. Humour is especially important to break down barriers for remote teams, banish social isolation and help them feel part of the wider team and culture.
With Slack, we can carry on conversations as if we were in the same office. It builds camaraderie (mostly via giphy battles and funny emoji reactions) as our team grows. And it gives us the ability to share our thoughts, interests, daily puns, musical loves, and animal photos (the list goes on). Slack is there to help us focus and collaborate on our work but whenever we need a laugh, a break, a virtual shoulder, our AdaptaBuddies are just a silly giphy away.
Use snoozing notifications on Slack to ring-fence times where you need to focus (or to disconnect completely when your work is done and you don't want your phone buzzing all night!). Create a dedicated channel for your team to give you a place to get support, have fun or some light relief from the task at hand.
Create a virtual home from home
Now I’m not suggesting that Slack becomes your new home or that you never need to meet anyone you work with ever again. Meeting people in the flesh is always preferable for building strong working relationships. But Slack can be a good stop gap between the virtual and the physical. You can create an environment via Slack that feels like a home from home, a place people want to be, a place they can connect with others easily, share ideas and achieve great things together.
Slack has worked hard to create a fun and engaging user experience. Make the most of all the features it offers to remove barriers to adoption, and encourage people to stay on there, by bringing all their most powerful apps right to them via Slack integrations.
Remember: no matter the medium, some communication principles never change
When your primary form of communication with colleagues is not face-to-face you can’t rely on facial expressions or body language to read a situation and react appropriately. But if you take a step back some of the key communication principles are still the same whether you are communicating in person or over Slack.
For example, if you ask someone to do something for you if you take the time to explain the full context and importance, it doesn’t matter if you are typing it into Slack or saying it in person. If you try to nurture the same positive culture across both mediums you will usually get the best from people.
It comes down to respecting people and their time and trusting them to get on with their work no matter where they are based or how you communicate with them.
When introducing Slack, it’s helpful to set a basic set of rules/guidelines on how people can interact with each other on the platform but then as a leader you have to be comfortable with giving people the freedom to get on with it and let it play out in an organic, authentic way.
To foster a positive culture across globally dispersed teams, you need to prioritise the time and energy to nurture it. Slack is a brilliant tool for amplifying the culture you have worked hard to establish, but it will never create what is not already there.