The current world of work is operating more remotely than it ever has before – but remote working can sometimes also create obstacles that employers may find challenging in China. One such challenge is maintaining work culture, which requires overcoming hurdles when it comes to remote communication, collaboration, relationship building and accessibility.

To counter these, here are 5 ways employers can maintain their workplace culture remotely and successfully manage from afar.

  1. Establish communication methods

When managing your team remotely, effective communication is crucial. To do this, it is important to prioritise and establish frequent communication with your team via the right platforms. Video is generally considered as the next best thing to talking face-to-face. If you are using video, act as you would with a physical meeting, including setting an agenda prior to the call and making sure its visible to everyone. Additionally, as these calls are now equivalent to team meetings, it is also important that you stress the importance of your team attending. This ensures that every remote worker is kept in the loop and can contribute to your team’s progress. Apart from video, you may use other channels but bear in mind that using too many different channels could become overwhelming as well.

  1. Build rapport

Working remotely means that you don’t get to have impromptu interactions in the office, which go a long way in building rapport and fostering working relationships between employees. Whether it’s working collaboratively on a project or catching up on your weekend, these moments are essential for team bonding. Therefore, in addition to making sure your communication is transparent, it’s also worth factoring in time for this on conference calls with your team, making sure to have small talk and build or maintain your relationships. If you don’t video call regularly, you could still facilitate this by using instant messaging apps like Yammer or Slack. Taking these measures is particularly important for newer members of staff as it helps them get to know their colleagues better.

  1. Share knowledge

When it comes to sharing knowledge and collaborating, it is important for employers to remember that many of their team possess specialist knowledge about their area or subject. This is easily shared in an office as compared to when their teams are working remotely, making it important to encourage employees to create guides, host webinars or record podcasts on their specialist subjects. This will not only provide opportunities for them to share their knowledge and appreciate what others in the team are working on, but it also provides ways or you to offer them praise and recognition.

  1. Proactively engage

Reading your team’s emotions and reactions when you’re with them in person is something you may be familiar with, but remotely this is understandably more difficult. To counter this, where possible, use video calls where at least your team can see each other and engage more than they would simply over the phone. If you still feel disconnected or aren’t using video, try to place more attention to your employees’ tone of voice and identifying changes in pitch to gauge how they are getting on. Alongside this, it helps to encourage inclusive language such as ‘we’ and ‘our’ to foster cohesion and unity.

  1. Trust your team

While remote working may pose challenges at first, particularly to those who don’t have experience working or managing in this way, there is a lot to gain by trusting your team. Try to avoid micromanaging to compensate for face to face time, which can be counterproductive. In return, your team will appreciate the trust you put in them and your working relationship will remain untainted.

Ultimately, the flexibility of working remotely can be empowering for your employees. If they are trusted and empowered to work in the interests of your organisation, you can get to a place where culture influences mindset. When you achieve this, location no longer matters, and you’ll be able to manage your team while maintaining your company culture.