How to Make WFH Positive for Your Team Culture

With busy lives, higher costs of operating businesses and a greater awareness of mental health and work life balance, it’s no surprise more businesses are opting for flexible working arrangements.

Due to COVID-19 many companies who are still operating have asked their employees to work from home. Although it is preferable to establish clear remote-work policies and training in advance, in times of crisis, this level of preparation may not be feasible.

Here are some tips for making working at home positive for your team.

Know your weaknesses

Before you get started working, managers should assess their teams remote working situation and identify the possible weaknesses.

Some common downfalls include:

Lack of face-to-face communication – All this means is that communication needs to be the #1 priority moving forward. Encouraging video conferences like Zoom calls with cameras ON (rather than off) is highly recommended.

  • Lack of access to information: The workplace provides a hub of IP and working remotely means this information can’t be accessed by simply asking a question. To combat this, managers must ensure that high quality, regularly needed info is easily accessible via your remote teams’ dashboard / internal communication.
  • Distractions at home: All workplaces have distractions, including our own homes. Children, family members, pets, the thought of having to do household duties etc. The list goes on. We suggest managers and employee’s combat this by creating an effective work environment. Make an office / room / desk space where you can focus on your work.
  • For tips on working from home with kids, read this blog.
  • Social isolation: Loneliness is one of the most common complaints of remote working. We suggest managers combat this with again, the number 1 priority – frequent communication.

Top Tip: On a Friday afternoon, after a productive week, host a fancy dress or funny hat Zoom party where you can all catch up over a virtual wine. Remember, it’s vital to have a laugh and keep your team culture alive.

Set guidelines

From the very beginning, it is important that the expectations of both team members and managers are heard loud and clear, and more importantly understood.

We suggest managers hold a WFH Expectations meeting to discuss some of the following topics:

  • Schedule – hours when team members are expected to be at their desk ready to work.
  • Breaks – how often, flexibility and timelines.
  • How to communicate and when (what channels).
  • Who to communicate with about certain issues.
  • What warrants a meeting or call.
  • What can be communicated via which channels (appropriate communication).

Trust your team

Flexible work arrangements allow families or individuals to create a greater work life balance and use the hours in their day more productively.

Managers need to ensure they instill a sense of trust among their team. Trust them to get their work done, manage their own day efficiently and stick to the guidelines, whilst also being able to take an hour for lunch with their family, or to do the groceries.

If managers think the worst and don’t trust their employees to work, then the WFH relationship won’t last. To avoid misalignment, setting guidelines from the offset is a priority.

Watch the clock

Flexible work arrangements allow people to reduce the stress of commuting during peak hour, utilising these hours more productively. Those 2 hours a day spent going door to door, can be used for getting extra work done, doing some exercise or getting some sleep.

Another factor to remember is time-zones. If your team is working in different time-zones, make sure you know when they are active and what their local time is… and don’t forget daylight savings. Use one of these tools to track the time:

Hello Communication

Your remote team will flourish or fail, purely on communication. Keeping your communication channels clear, consistent and open will promote transparency, productivity and teamwork.

You want to encourage an environment where everybody is contributing. Reduce any red tape or formality associated with communication, to avoid employees just keeping quiet, which isn’t healthy for them or for your team as a whole.

We suggest managers organise the following communication practices:

  • Weekly Video conference: Have a weekly video meeting with your entire team. Monday’s are great for this. Start the week off with an agenda, setting priority objectives, important FYI’s about the business operations and any other relevant info.
  • Individual weekly WIP’s: Set aside an afternoon each week and spend 20 minutes talking individually with each team member. Find out what they are up to, answer their questions and make sure they feel supported.
  • Team group chats: Each working team should have their own group chat, for just their specific team conversations. WhatsApp or Slack are great tools for this.
  • Daily manager email: Each morning the team manager should send an email, updating the team on the working objectives for the day and instilling team culture.

Most of all remember communication needs to be: clear, frequent, open and honest!

Up your values

Since 2015 co-working spaces, hot desks or home offices across the globe have increased by 140%.. Bye bye centralised offices, hello worldwide virtual team members.

Instilling your company values into your employees is tough even in person, but with remote work, this process has to take place virtually, transcending around the globe. That’s why when WFH or embracing flexible working arrangements we need to refer back to values on a regular basis.

A weekly team email, which states the company values is recommended. Why not make it fun and add a joke, team member of the week or a riddle challenge. Refer back to these values often, as they sit at the core of your business.

Technology time

If your company doesn’t have technology tools already in place, there are inexpensive ways to obtain simple versions of these tools for your team, as a short-term fix. Consult with your organization’s IT department to ensure there is an appropriate level of data security before using any of these tools. Team leaders should spend some time researching the vast array of tech tools out there to facilitate remote work. The tool perfect for your team, will depend on your situation.

  • How many employees are in your team?
  • Do you need a tasks dashboard?
  • Do you need conferencing?
  • Do you work on the same documents?

There are plenty of questions that need to be assessed.

Our favourite remote working team tools are:

  • Asana – the best overall platform for managing team tasks, increasing automation, hitting targets and communicating.
  • Slack – the very popular web and desktop chat tool. If you’re on slack, then you’re at work, and a group chat room for creating team culture.
  • Zoom – online video conferencing.
  • Microsoft Teams – a unified communication and collaboration platform that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage, and application integration.

All of these tools help to increase the camaraderie, teamwork and enhance overall business processes remotely.

From our team at LMHR Consulting, we wish you all a healthy, safe, calm and productive time through this period. We are all in this together. For any advice or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us for help at