Remote team building and culture
Professional Insights
AICPA logo
Cart
searchSearch
search
burger
AICPA logo
  • Home
molecule technology with polygonal pattern with lines
Professional Insights

Remote team building and culture

3 years ago · 4 min read

We present the 6 keys to successful remote team building and culture which include clearly setting and exceeding the following for both managers and employees. Observing these tenants will enhance your team now and in the future. During this stressful time, use these concepts to prove your team is stronger together, and better than before.

  • Expectations and results

  • Commitment and accountability

  • Communication/personal interaction

  • Process improvement

  • Responsiveness and deadlines

  • Be flexible

Expectations and results

For the manager
Make your expectations concrete and measurable:

  • Develop written outcomes and results and share directly with the employee.

  • Discuss the expected results and how they will be measured.


For the employee
Ensure you know and understand the expectations of the manager:

  • Ask for written expectations.

  • Talk about the results that are expected and
    how they will be measured.

Commitment and accountability

For the manager

  • Commit to maintaining team, supervisor and client relationships.

  • Commit to share the responsibility for making flexibility successful.

  • Commit to achieving mutually agreed upon performance objectives.

  • Commit to holding the team member accountable to goals and expectations.

For the employee

  • Commit to understanding that firm needs may mean that flexibility is not always possible.

  • Commit to a change in schedule if the client or firm require it.

  • Commit to being held accountable for goals and expectations.

Communication/personal interaction

For the manager
Check in regularly and spontaneously:

  • Planned weekly meetings.

  • Virtual coffee chats.

  • Lunches virtually or in person

  • Instant messages.

  • Virtual Meetings such as Zoom video conferencing.

  • Pick up the phone often.

  • Schedule at least one face-to-face meeting quarterly.

  • Start weekly meetings with quick interactions like a house move or child graduating.

  • Listen with intent.

For the employee
Check in regularly and spontaneously:

  • Be bold and set times that will work for you and the manager.

  • Be available when meetings are scheduled and make them a priority.

  • Use your instant messenger or calendar to show when you are available.

  • Virtual meetings such as Zoom video conferencing.

  • Pick up the phone often.

  • Participate in at least one face-to-face meeting quarterly.

  • Open meeting discussions with quick personal inquiries/updates to continue to
    connect on a personal level.

  • Listen with intent.

Process improvement

For the manager

  • Ensure there is an initial meeting before the remote work arrangement begins.
    Examining processes in the beginning will ensure success.

  • Identify specific times for meetings:

    • One on one

    • Full team meetings

    • Project touch points

  • Schedule 2 meetings yearly to discuss how the arrangement is working and what adjustments should be made.

  • Ensure that regular meetings are important, but quick meetings “ad hock” are just as critical to success.


For the employee

  • Ensure you attend and are actively engaged in all scheduled meetings:

    • One on one

    • Full team meetings

    • Project touch points

  • Actively participate in any review meetings for your working schedule. If something is not
    working, identify ways to adjust to benefit you and the firm.

  • Initiate any quick “ad hock” meetings or conversations as needed. Pro-active is key

Responsiveness and deadlines

For the manager

  • Your expectations for responding to emails

  • Your expectations for finishing a project

  • Your expectations for regular working hours, breaks and being available for conversations


For the employee
Talk to your manager about what his/her expectations on time boundaries for:

  • Responding to and distribution of e-mails Ensure understanding of specific Project Deadlines

  • Be sure to communicate when a Project Deadline cannot be met

  • Determine Working Hours, including breaks, and how changes will be approved

Be flexible

For the manager
While regular working hours and specific goals are the best outcomes, flexible does require a little “gray area” and allowing the rules to be bent occasionally. Feel free to draw the line but don’t be too rigid or your will lose some of the spontaneity that makes remote work arrangements so valuable.

For the employee
You are being given a great gift but it also requires that you agree to a little flexibility. When you are asked to work during a time that is not your regular time, or if you are asked to attend a meeting that is during normal “non-working” hours, agree to “bend” your time to show that you are willing to be a team player.

Culture

For the manager

  • Have a conversation with your leadership team and identify ways to ensure you are clear on how firm culture can be protected.

  • Have a conversation with your remote workers about how culture in your firm can
    remain intact.

  • Determine a mechanism that encourages the employee to contribute new ideas and help set the direction of the firm

  • Hold fun virtual team building sessions, happy hour and virtual team building games.

  • Determine ways to reward and recognize team members for high-quality results. Consider an employee recognition software platform (e.g. YouEarnedit.com).

  • Provide employees transparency of the firm’s vision and economics through regular updates.

For the employee

  • Ask your manager how you can help ensure that the firm culture stays strong no matter where you are working from.

  • Develop ways that will help you personally stay connected to the firm’s culture as you transition to a remote work environment and share with your manager.

  • Participate in team building sessions and activities that the firm schedules.

  • Ask to lead some of the activities that are offered by the firm. Leadership does not stop when you are working remotely.

Avoid engendering an “us and them” mentality

For the manager

Stop saying things like “those of us in the office.”

For the employee

Change your mindset and your language to stop any reference to “us and them” in regard to remote vs office workers.

Learning new skills

For the manager

  • Attend all training your firm offers to learn how to manage remote workers successfully.

  • Seek out and attend webinars or sessions at conferences that will teach and support your efforts to learn new management skills.

  • Add remote work management strategies to your manager meetings. Sharing with your peers is essential.

  • Learn how to use your technology solutions effectively.

For the employee.

  • Attend all training your firm offers to learn how to be a successful remote employee.

  • Seek out and attend webinars or sessions at conferences that will teach and support your efforts to learn new remote worker skills.

  • Communicate with peers who are also working remotely and identify strategies that are working. Learning through peer communication is very effective.

  • Learn how to use your technology solutions effectively.

Boomer Consulting Logo
This resource was developed by the Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS) in conjunction with Boomer Consulting. Find more resources and information about employee engagement in the AICPA PCPS Human Capital section.

What did you think of this?

Every bit of feedback you provide will help us improve your experience

What did you think of this?

Every bit of feedback you provide will help us improve your experience

Mentioned in this article

Topics

Subtopics

Manage preferences

Related content