Over the past year, many companies have shifted to operating in a remote environment. What started as a temporary adjustment, has now become an enduring trend, as businesses realize the flexibility, reach, and monetary benefit that comes from not being bound to a physical office.
But as productivity and performance have skyrocketed in the virtual working world, inclusion and connection at work has experienced a decline.
ByteChek has functioned remotely since its inception in late 2020. And we are confronting the toll virtual work takes on culture and connectedness head on. We believe (and are finding) that it is possible to remain a unified and connected team, even from afar. Here’s how!
Intentional communication. Creating accessible avenues for communication is of utmost importance when fostering a culture of connectedness. Not every person prefers to communicate by the same method. And in addition to personal preference, remote work allows for people from all time zones to work on the same team. The potential for disjointed communication is huge!
When we cannot rely on the convenience of all employees being in the same time and place, it takes a bit of intentionality to make sure everyone is suitably connected and engaged. At ByteChek, we provide multiple avenues to promote open communication, including virtual office hours, weekly team calls, 1:1 touch-points between managers and employees, open door Slack policies, and monthly wellness check-ins (to name a few). Additionally, using inclusive language in meetings, creating spaces for open (non-topic-driven) discussion, and providing options for written, recorded, and video communications are all ways we make sure that each team member’s voice is heard.
Leveraging technology. There are many widely-used tools available to remote teams. It is up to us to render them useful, and find creative ways to leverage their full potential. At ByteChek, some of our favorite tools for facilitating inclusive communication are:
Slack: Slack functions as our “virtual office”, acting as the hub for all group conversations. We have channels for both personal and professional threads, and use the platform for everything from one-on-one chats, to personal development, to project-related collaboration, to water-cooler conversations. We often ask open-ended questions designed to invite team-wide discussion, such as “question of the day” or asking what everyone is doing that upcoming weekend. People can reply to messages at a point in the day that is convenient for them, and every person has the opportunity to have their voice heard.
Yac: The ByteChek team has recently adopted Yac as one of our primary communication tools. Yac allows you to record messages (including video and screen sharing), facilitating asynchronous conversations with individuals and groups. We use Yac to replace calls that are either superfluous or involve people with opposing schedules. We also use Yac to replace emails or Slack messages, injecting personality and clarity into what would have been text on a screen. Besides the obvious conversational uses, we also insert Yacs into our written policies, onboarding, and training resources, providing personal touchpoints to previously stagnant processes.
Zoom: At this point, we are all familiar with the video call. And sometimes, it is exactly what is needed. When we cannot be together, the next best thing is being able to see someone’s face and hear their voice in real time. Body language is an important aspect to communication, and can be leveraged to establish positive communication practices in a corporate environment.
People first. While creating an inclusive and connected remote work environment does take time and intentionality, it does not have to be complicated. People desire connection, and are often inclined to share invaluable feedback and suggestions if given the opportunity. As we listen to and support each other, we foster an environment of care and connection, building a stronger team and company.
In a world of static virtual exchanges and siloed work, ByteChek is carving out a space where connection is the norm. We are striving to support people and create avenues for productive collaboration.