Remote work isn’t a buzzword or fluffy idea anymore. It’s real and something that many businesses around the world have embraced. It offers tons of benefits and allows staff to live more balanced lives if managed correctly.
But building a thriving business with a remote team isn’t easily done. It challenges traditional structures in the workplace. There isn’t a watercooler to congregate around or a canteen to hang out in and enjoy a quick game of foosball.
So, how do you take your remote business and transform it from a group of employees around the globe into a close-knit and enthusiastic team?
This blog post will explore how you can embrace remote working. I’ll share why developing an inclusive and empowering remote culture is crucial for any brand with a remote team. I’ll also cover nine practical ways to use video to build a remote culture that will help your business flourish.
Why team culture in a remote setting matters
People are social creatures. We need to engage with each other to thrive.
A study by community psychologists identifies community as a key support structure that improves mental and physical health. And because your business is filled with people, making it a small community of its own, the more connected and supported each member is, the healthier they are.
Connectedness helps your team be their best. While Buffer’s State of Remote Work report shows that 99% of employees want to work from home, 19% of remote workers feel lonely.
Buffer goes on to share that:
- 8% struggle to stay motivated
- 8% find it challenging to work with teammates in different timezones
- 17% struggle with collaboration and/or communication
Imagine the impact of a fully motivated, well-connected team in your business?
Building a rock-solid remote culture using video
Using video today isn’t a new idea by any stretch but it is a powerful one. In recent months, we’ve seen how the pandemic skyrocketed the adoption of video and remote work. In fact, Microsoft Teams usage increased by more than 50 percent to over 115 million daily active users, and the demand for video calls and meetings supercharged Zoom’s revenue to over $777m in the three months to the end of October.
Video use has grown over the last decade and that’s no secret. It’s more widely accepted as a means of communication today. From marketing content shared via YouTube and social media to live stories on Instagram or Facebook, video is a part of life. And when used for business, it’s an easy, quick, and highly effective solution for tackling the sense of isolation that often sets in when working remotely.
If you’re looking for practical work from home tips for your remote team, here are nine ways to use video to empower your remote team’s culture.
1. Team video calls for meeting
There’s nothing more unifying than an engaging team meeting. The opportunity to connect with your entire team on one call creates a stronger sense of teamwork. If your team is scattered around the globe, a video team meeting is both convenient and a must. While it may take a little sacrifice from team members spread across time zones, seeing everyone you work with on one call makes aligning your team possible.
You can use the time to tackle anything from project challenges to sharing new insights and trends you’ve uncovered on the job. If you haven’t already scheduled one, try having weekly, monthly, or bi-monthly team calls.
2. Video coffee time
Working in a busy office makes it hard to engage with team members. There’s always something to do. And at the end of a busy day, having responsibilities outside of work can lead to work relationships never really taking off.
The idea of coffee time with a colleague is simple and it aims to change all of that. Find a colleague you’ve never met before or hardly know, and schedule a coffee to learn more about them and what they do. Sure, the idea may sound a little daunting, but it shouldn’t. Remote teams want to feel connected and need engagement to be successful.
And while the idea of randomly reaching out may also sound a little complex, it isn’t. In fact, there’s an app for that. It’s called Donut and we use it at Uscreen. Donut randomly pairs remote workers and schedules a time for them to meet. They get to have a video call, learn about what they do, and form organic and meaningful relationships.
Donut 30-second video URL:
What I like most about this approach is that it helps team members develop empathy for each other. Remote work is challenging enough, and having a team filled with people who know, trust, and appreciate each other makes for a more empowering brand.
Learn more about Donut.
3. Day-in-the-life videos
Day in the life videos are a great way to engage your remote team. These videos tell the story of each team member’s day-to-day life with that added social media feel to them. While you can’t force staff to record these types of videos, giving them the option helps.
It’s all got to do with the feeling of connectedness. We spend most of our time at work or doing work, and if there’s anyone who understands what we’re up to, it’s our workmates. So, sharing highs and lows, or what you tackled in a day is significant.
Today, there are many ways to share your day-in-the-life videos. If you use Slack, simply create a dedicated channel and share it with your team. Workplace by Facebook is an alternative worth looking into. It’s like Facebook for your business but boasts many video-friendly features. Team members can share work-related content, create channels and, most importantly, use video recording and have video calls.
4. All hands video announcements
All hands meeting will never lose their value. They help keep everyone focused on the true North. And for remote teams, the direction is just as essential as it is for in-office staff.
Don’t miss out on the chance to have regular video calls about the state of the business. Beyond sharing how the business is performing, they also help staff derive line-of-sight, something everyone needs to feel that the work they do is making an impact.
For your all-hands meetings, you can create and host a scheduled live stream directly from your computer or set up a video conference call.
5. Onboarding videos on-demand
Onboarding isn’t a nice-to-have. It’s a must-have. Glassdoor found that if performed effectively, onboarding can lead to an 82% boost in employee retention. Regretfully, Gallup uncovered that 88% of companies don’t offer well-organized onboarding programs.
The good news is that video can change that. Using a combination of live and pre-recorded content, you can create an onboarding program that’s self-paced and effective. When new starters join, get them going with access to your on-demand and live streaming site. Doing so points them to a self-service resource they can turn to whenever they need information, instead of having to chase someone down for an answer.
One of the most exciting and inclusive videos you can create is a simple welcome video. It helps make new hires feel instantly included and does away with any lingering apprehension.
Take this one from Bisk. It’s fun, upbeat, and really makes you want to be part of the Bisk family.
6. Intro videos for new hires
Intro videos are a great way to break the ice and introduce a new team member to your team.
Using intro videos you can help the team get to know the new hire, and connect with them on a deeper level. Ultimately, this is a great way to boost engagement in your team and showcase the personalities of every team member.
As you onboard new team members, ask them to record a quick loom video or post a video message on your team slack channel. The intro video can include a fun fact, their favorite hobby, a tour of their home office, or even their favorite pet.
As your remote team grows, you can use intro videos to showcase your core values and build a solid remote work culture.
7. Video collaborations
Video collaborations are another way to break free of the remote work constraints, connect with your coworkers and collaborate with them in real-time, as you would have if you were in an office.
You can use popular video call and meeting tools such as Zoom, Slack, and Google Meet, to jump on a call with your team members and collaborate. Together with online whiteboard tools such as Miro, and Stormboard, you can use video collaboration to help team members brainstorm and plan different projects.
Collaboration is an essential part of every team culture. Regardless of working remotely or in an office, you and your team need to work together and there are times when you need to have a long video collaboration to map out the new strategy.
In a remote workspace, many might think that it’s best for team members to work separately and come together at the end for completing the task. However, video collaborations are an amazing way for teams to brainstorm new strategies and campaigns, work together, sync up and complete the project!
8. Product training
Product training is another critical component of employee onboarding. In fact, it also falls into the scope of employee re-boarding, the process of re-educating staff on products and processes to keep them knowledgeable at all times.
And video is undoubtedly one of the best presentation tools you can use. It’s easily accessible, available on-demand, and can save time and overhead from having multiple trainers on staff. There are also over a dozen video editing programs that can help you finalize and polish your video with just a few clicks.
To make your product training work, I recommend that you use a hybrid approach. Use pre-recorded content to set the foundation and then leave the door open to staff to schedule video calls to address any questions they may have.
Here’s an example from Xplenty, a cloud-based ETL platform. Videos like these are gold for your remote team to gain a better understanding of your product.
9. Video explanations and troubleshooting
It’s not uncommon to have questions about how to perform a task or troubleshoot on the job. But finding solutions can be painful. Often, they aren’t documented and staff has to track down the one guru capable of solving a seemingly simple yet mission-critical problem.
A smarter way is to get the staff involved. Have them share solutions to common challenges using video. As with the idea of day-in-the-life videos, you can create a dedicated Slack or Workplace channel to share solutions. And if you really want to get staff excited about the idea, incentivize them. Create a fund or prize that’s awarded to the team member that shares the most helpful video or the most video solutions.
Over to You: Embrace video
Remote work is now the reality of the modern workspace. It’s real and something that many businesses around the world are going to continue to embrace in the 2020s.
However, remote work comes with its own set of challenges. Most remote workers and teams struggle to stay motivated and collaborate with other team members in different time zones which makes coping with these challenges is no easy feat.
Video can be a powerful solution to the challenges of remote staff work. Businesses that can wield video effectively can transform their employees’ experience of the brand and empower staff to be their best.
The key: take action and be smart about your approach. Using video to create a sense of community and empower your staff to share your company’s core values is a real game-changer when done right.