Remote work has seen many businesses picking up more digital platforms. Maybe you were already using Zoom or Microsoft Teams in your business, but you had to expand your use in recent months. With lots of offices and positions remaining remote in the foreseeable future and the potential for a second wave, many leaders are looking to maximize the effectiveness of their remote working policies and programs.

One of the big questions is how to maintain company culture. It’s difficult to manage when people aren’t in close contact with each other on a regular basis and are working in many disparate locations.

The digital platforms you’ve adopted can help.

Staying in Touch Over Distance

The digital platforms you’ve adopted for your business probably include some communications platforms. Zoom may be used for meetings, while an app like Slack might let you communicate with team members on the fly. Even your email platform is a way to communicate.

All these digital platforms allow you and your remote team to stay in touch with ease. They can keep you connected, even over great distances.

Make sure to use these platforms to your advantage. You may want to set up regular team meetings. You could even set aside time for regular one-on-one updates. If you use a platform like Slack, create a channel that lets team members connect with each other about “non-work” things, like sending each other (safe-for-work) jokes and memes. If you use Zoom or another video conferencing platform, then you might want to consider having weekly “hangouts” or work socials.

These sorts of platforms can be used to drive forward a culture of connection and support. Team members may be physically distant, but they can still be accessible and close at hand.

Creating Policies That Reflect Culture

Next, you’ll want to set up some guidelines for the use of various platforms. You might already have a Zoom dress code or an email policy. If you use instant messaging, you’ll want to discuss what’s appropriate to send over it and what’s not.

Your communications guidelines probably include basic rules around appropriate behaviour, such as a zero-tolerance policy towards harassment or the use of aggressive language.

For the remote office, you may also want to implement policies about how often people should check in. Establish protocol for schedules, as well was expectations about response times and availability.

Are meetings mandatory? Are there meetings people can skip? Are they expected to participate in virtual happy hour? Do you require them to be signed in to Slack or Zoom during their shift, and ready to have a meeting at a moment’s notice?

These policies will help your team members know what is expected of them, as well as showcasing how your company communicates.

Use Platforms to Create Support

You probably have some other digital platforms that you use. You may have an HR portal or you might have a marketing platform. There are plenty of them available.

Use these tools to create supports for your team members. A human resources information system, for example, could be used to create and track goals for team members. You may be able to measure their productivity, in addition to keeping track of hours worked.

The HR platform could be used to help your team members use their benefits or access professional assistance, such as getting in touch with a counsellor or doctor. It can help team members connect with HR professionals, who can answer questions, resolve conflict, or even explain benefits and help team members access them.

You might also think about offering online learning or training, which can create more support. A messaging app could be used to create a mentorship program.

The possibilities are endless. With digital platforms, you can develop policies that help support and drive your company culture forward.