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Date posted: 04th October 2023

04th October 2023

Guest Blog: 2 Ways to Use Technology to Build a Successful Remote Culture

Guest Blog: 2 Ways to Use Technology to Build a Successful Remote Culture

Author: Rob Catalano, Chief Engagement Officer, WorkTango

Remote and hybrid work is becoming more prevalent than ever. And while many employees love working from home, there are also a few drawbacks that are part of the transition to fully remote work. 

Fully remote employees experience fewer face-to-face interactions than ever before, thanks to the rise of Zoom calls and other virtual meeting technologies. And enabling reliable, efficient workplace communications across multiple time zones and geographic locations remains a challenge for many organizations. 

This article outlines three ways organizations can build out an effective remote workplace culture through modern communication tools such as Microsoft Teams and Slack. Communication tools create a shared virtual space where employees can swap ideas, connect, and work together–regardless of their physical location. 

Teams and Slack are already powerful technologies in themselves, but when paired with company-wide training, utilization of features beyond instant messaging, and additional functionality such as that of an employee experience platform, these tools become even more integral to building a successful remote culture.

1. Provide company-wide training on Teams or Slack to empower employees to get the most out of the tool

It’s important to recognize that not all employees will be equally comfortable with modern communication tools such as Teams and Slack. Some team members will only be accustomed to traditional forms of communication, such as email or phone calls, and likely will require additional training to fully leverage the features of communication platforms.

Consider providing training sessions or resources to help new team members get up to speed on these platforms and familiar with how they are being utilized within the organization. Training could include providing guidance on how to use specific features, and/or best practices for effective internal communication and collaboration. 

2. Consolidate communication, collaboration and file-sharing within Teams or Slack

When employees don’t feel aligned to their goals and projects, productivity suffers. Teams and Slack are both powerful technologies that can help facilitate quick alignment and collaboration between team members. Encouraging employees to use these tools to ask questions, share ideas, and provide feedback in real-time or asynchronously can help keep everyone aligned and ensure initiatives are moving forward smoothly. Email can remain the go-to for external communication, but making Teams or Slack the internal default tool consolidates internal comms in one place and frees up inboxes.

Teams and Slack are also convenient tools for document and project collaboration. Both of these platforms allow employees to share and work on specific files together, which can be especially useful for groups working on complex projects that require input from multiple employees. All files shared within the channel can be viewed within a sidebar for a complete historical record. Tagging specific team members within Teams or Slack also helps ensure time-sensitive updates or messages aren’t accidentally missed. 

3. Leverage in-app audio or video calls to streamline synchronous meetings

It can be difficult to build a collaborative culture through asynchronous communication methods alone. Synchronous conferencing is an essential tool for remote teams because it helps keep everyone better aligned and engaged, especially when communication through instant messaging is dragging out, or direct messages aren’t suitable for a specific topic. But constantly transitioning between a collaborative communication tool, calendars and Zoom or GoToMeeting can be disruptive.

Teams and Slack both offer out-of-the-box video and audio call functionality. Employees can use these tools for quick sync-ups within the existing flow of work, instead of exiting the platform and booking a separate meeting through their calendar. Slack also offers audio-only call functionality called “Huddles” which launch with a single click directly within the Slack interface

The Future of Remote Collaboration 

Building a collaborative virtual culture requires a concerted effort to create a sense of community and a positive employee experience. While Teams and Slack are both powerful tools that can help support these efforts, they are primarily collaboration and communication tools – not holistic employee experience platforms.

Remote employees can end up feeling isolated and disconnected from their colleagues. They may even fear being excluded. Fostering a sense of inclusion and belonging in the workplace is crucial to employee retention and engagement. A recent Harvard Business Review study demonstrated that a high sense of workplace belonging was linked to a:

  • 75% reduction in sick days
  • 56% increase in job performance
  • 50% drop in turnover risk

There are a few ways remote organizations can foster a sense of appreciation and belonging through collaboration tools. A few examples include:

  1. Establishing interest-specific channels on Slack, such as channels for funny videos, pet photos, or articles that team members may find interesting, can help employees build personal connections and foster a sense of belonging. 
  2. Integrating an organization’s employee recognition & rewards platform into Teams or Slack to tie employee appreciation and recognition directly to where work is happening. For example, WorkTango integrates seamlessly with both Teams and Slack. Users can send WorkTango Recognitions directly to colleagues from within any MS Teams or Slack channel. Organizations can establish a “WorkTango Celebrations Channel” to display a full WorkTango activity feed within their preferred collaboration tool, and enable the entire organization to view and celebrate great work being done without ever leaving Slack or Teams.

In a highly distributed environment, making sure that employees have a voice and feel inspired to give their best at work every day is critical to both building a collaborative culture and achieving organizational success. Investing in employee experience software helps ensure all employees remain engaged, motivated, and aligned, even beyond the functionality that communication tools provide.

So, are you ready to build a collaborative workplace culture at your organization? 

At WorkTango, we’re revolutionizing how the world’s most forward-thinking companies engage and inspire their people. We offer the only holistic Employee Experience Platform built for the modern workplace that enables meaningful recognition and rewards, offers actionable insights through employee surveys, and supports alignment through goal setting and feedback. If you’re ready to improve (work) lives with a modern employee experience platform, schedule a demo today.