A few years ago, I was a project manager for a digital marketing agency in the United Kingdom. My scattered throughout five countries: the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, Malaysia and India. I didn’t think that a company culture would form under such a diverse team, but it turned out great.

Some of the most cohesive company cultures are formed through remote teams. However, it takes more of an effort to generate the synergy you need to get it to work. If you can’t create an effective remote workplace, your business will stall.

company culture
Shutterstock / By stoatphoto

Here are some tips project managers of remote teams should follow.

Maintain a Clear Structure and Organization

A spokesperson from Flexjobs recently discussed some of the challenges companies face while creating remote teams. They pointed out that the company culture is built into the organizational model. Every organization needs a clearly defined hierarchy and sense of leadership.

Communicating the structure of the organization is essential for every remote team. The problem is that informal leaders may sometimes rise up and begin communicating their own vision. This is even more common among remote teams.

While remote companies shouldn’t discourage natural leaders, they need to make sure they follow the same protocols and chain of command as everyone else at their level of seniority. This is important to keep the company culture intact and management from breaking down.

Make Sure Every Employee Feels Part of the Team

Maintaining employee satisfaction is essential for every remote team. You need to ensure that they have the right tools to do their job with minimal complications. It is easier to get discouraged while working on a remote team, because employees aren’t given the same emotional support that in-house employees receive.

A study conducted by Workfront shows that employees spend 15% of their work week on emails along. When your talking about an employee who is working remotely, this number can easily double. Email communication is inefficient and lacks any emotional connection for remote workers. Instead, many managers are opting to use project management tools that bring teams together on each project and have an open line of communication through chat and video conferencing. This allows remote workforces to engine in real time with their on-site counterparts, which reduce the feeling of isolation.

Keep Remote Contractors from Poisoning the Well

Many have both highly engaged employees and specialized contractors available. Full-time employees should be expected to assimilate with the company culture, regardless of whether they visit the office every day or only make appearances at company retreats.

On the other hand, contractors with limited roles in the company shouldn’t be given the same influence. It may be better to make sure their work is overseen by one or two internal project managers. It can be difficult to make sure they are a good fit for the company culture, so it may be easier to simply minimize exposure to the rest of the company. It isn’t that the contractors themselves are toxic, but merely that they could cause the team’s culture to deteriorate.

Use Tools that Support Your Company Culture

Wade Foster, co-founder of Zapier, has said that using online collaboration tools has played a very important role in keeping the company’s culture intact. These tools are necessary to make sure people can work together and socialize during their down-time.

“A co-located office develops its own personality through inside jokes, shared experiences and a collaborative environment… A remote team needs to develop something similar. The easiest way to do this is with your day-to-day tool set.”

Maintaining a social environment is important for building a company culture in remote teams, as well as traditional organizations. Make sure the tools are appropriate for your organization and the culture that you want to build.