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Articles

How to build company culture within remote teams

HR & Management
3 mins read

Why we have daily meetings with remote teams at WeSchool

Despite Elon’s advice to “leave a meeting if you’re not needed” and “avoid big meetings” at all costs, there’s a type of meeting we strongly encourage in the WeSchool culture. That is daily meetings with remote employees. 

 

Since 2016, WeSchool has grown from a handful of employees to 72. That increase in headcount has brought the addition of new global talent working remotely full-time. As of today, there are 30 remote and hybrid WeSchoolers contributing to our team. Almost half! They’re not “contributors” or “consultants”, but pivotal individuals across their teams. 

 

This transformation did not come with challenges. Leading teams with remote, hybrid and on-site employees requires effective management and performance tracking, clear communication and team-building exercises for higher team morale and engagement. There is a need for a blended management approach: a mix of online and in-person collaboration to support employees in the different spectrums. 

 

That’s why at WeSchool, we’ve defied Elon’s advice and brought in the Daily Stand Up: a daily 15-minute session where small teams meet online (regardless of whether they work on-site or online) to go through their priorities, tasks, requests and questions. Here’s why and how this small addition has impacted teams.

The impact of daily meetings

The 3 C’s of virtual leadership: Connection, Communication and Culture.

It creates a sense of belonging

A company is more than the revenue it generates, it’s people collaborating together to generate ideas and innovate. When working remotely, there is no small talk and impromptu conversations with teammates. A pre-scheduled daily meeting goes a long way to keep team members focused, motivated and aligned with wider company goals.

Opens avenues for further collaboration

When there’s a meeting to discuss individual agendas for a limited period, there is an open communication channel where other team members can share their thoughts and ideas to improve execution or efficiency. This can then be taken to asynchronous collaboration that would have not happened otherwise.

Encourages feedback in a flat structure

Point number two easily flows into point number 3: a team meeting involves different levels of management and encourages everyone to share ideas regardless of their seniority. This broadens the impact of individual work and creates a team effort dynamic in the smallest of tasks.

Closer working relationships

As much as remote work has brought flexibility and the ability to hire the best talent, it requires individuals to connect over dedicated meetings to build stronger relationships. We’ve found that the more contact team members have, the more open they are to asking for advice and feedback. The result? Closer relationships where final ideas are greater than the sum of their parts.

What about efficiency?

You may wonder, don’t these “daily 15 minutes” translate into unproductive time for employees? While the likes of leading CEOs may disagree with our approach and yes, 15 daily minutes amounts to five hours of “productive” work time per employee, there is a longer-term vision to consider when discussing efficiency. 

 

Connection is an intrinsic human need – it’s how we relate to others and others. It’s linked to lower rates of depression and anxiety and higher levels of self-esteem and confidence. The result of this is huge.

“Happy employees benefit everyone, in fact, they’re 20% more productive” - Forbes

If someone works a total of 40 hours a week, but spends 1 hour a week in a daily meeting, they are only productive 39 hours a week. But if someone is meant to work 40h but feel lonely, unaccounted for or disconnected, they may only be productive for 32 of those total hours (20% less). 

 

Considering the amount of time saved in commutes and travel expenses remote teams have, what is 1 hour a week in exchange for true belonging in a world where we are more disconnected than ever? 

 

How do you build a collaborative culture?

With a growing number of fully-remote and hybrid organizations, the challenge continues to be the need to create a collaborative culture while ensuring team members are focused on their projects and not mindlessly jumping onto unnecessary calls. 

 

Our solution? A blended approach. It’s not a case of only having a daily meeting, but having multiple asynchronous touchpoints where team members can collaborate beyond an in-person meeting. 

 

At WeSchool, we do this through our own Learning Management Platform (LMS), which is designed to encourage feedback and prompt members to ask questions and share ideas. There are also online after-work-virtual and in-person events and company-wide. We call this the WeSchool Community, and whereas it started as a daily meeting, it’s grown into a company-wide collaborative Space. 

 

If you found these insights useful, don’t forget to share them with colleagues in HR teams and remote organizations who you think may benefit from this approach.

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