Once the majority of your team is in remote mode, there is no water cooler, memes you can discuss over the coffee break, or after-work happy hours at the nearest bar. This does impact team bonds and connections, leaving employees alienated from peers and management.
Since the inception of remote work culture, this downside has been approached by countless teams at different angles.
Unfortunately, there are no one-fit-all solutions yet. But there is a number of proven to-dos which can mitigate isolation and create a “water cooler effect”:
Lesson learned: don’t expect your remote team to connect and bond by default, initiate it, invest in it, cherish it.
The office-centric setting provides certain clarity regarding things your peers are working on, the remote setting does not unless fine-tuned.
Create automated daily/weekly check-ins and check-outs, broadcast it on the team level (optional).
It’s a useful practice that takes about 5 minutes a day but keeps your team communication “hygiene” in order.
Lesson learned: Don’t think that remote employees will stand up and start updating each other out of a sudden. Create a framework for daily updates. Make it easy and effortless for the team to follow it.
All in all, remote culture is what you make of it, it can bring amazing talent to the table or harm your processes in a heartless way.
It takes time to set up and deploy remote mindset across existing office organization, but once it’s there — amazing opportunities will be coming your way.
Further reading: one of the best examples of scalable remote settings out there is Git Lab, they maintain a great handbook and it’s worth reading irrespective of how far along your team is on the remote journey.