When it comes to remote teams, culture is a huge topic. Common knowledge suggests that co-located teams have an easier time building culture compared to remote teams.
In fact, I've even had co-located teams tell me their culture problems were solved by simply buying a foosball table. Though I challenge the truthiness of that statement, I don't think there's a quick path to building company culture, and remote teams certainly aren't an exception.
With co-located teams, it's easy to ignore culture building with the expectation that it will naturally happen. In 99% of situations (made up number), this is simply not true, but by the time a co-located team realizes it, it might be too late to repair their culture.
With a distributed team you know going in that culture will be hard to build. When you are team building online, you don't delude yourself thinking that culture will magically happen. You go in eyes wide open. If a strong culture doesn't develop it's not because you didn't try, it's usually due to another reason.
With that in mind, how can you go about building culture when there are thousands of miles between teammates? Here are seven online team building principles that work for us at Zapier.
1. Culture is about more than ping pong tables
2. Culture is about how you work
3. Tools allow for collaboration and fun
4. In-person meetups are still important
5. Local community sponsorship shows presence
6. Trust is the foundation
7. Get things done