Vava Virtual Assistants

BLOG

How to Build Strong Community and Culture in a Virtual Work Environment

by | May 18, 2022

Dr. Abigail G. Scheg, People & Culture Manager, VaVa Virtual Assistants

Cultivating a strong virtual organizational culture requires creativity and some extra effort. Be especially mindful of your people and their engagement when rapidly scaling, undergoing significant changes, and transitioning leadership. I’ve found the key to success lies in communities built upon an organization’s mission, vision, and values.

Building community and fostering engagement in the virtual workplace can take many forms. Although virtual work environments typically do not have a shared breakroom, you can still host situational events through happy hours, coffee chats, or lunch-and-learns to bring your team together. These spaces foster great communication and connections, but they can sometimes feel hollow. Taking the time to meaningfully ground community-building events in an organization’s culture is a more effective strategy to build community, emphasize the organization’s mission, vision, and values consistently with the team, and normalize internal jargon.

At VaVa Virtual Assistants, one of our values is:

We love what we do. We feel fulfilled when we can serve Clients to the best of our abilities and seek out opportunities to learn, grow, and develop our skills regularly.

This value provides clear guidance on our philosophy of professional development and continuous improvement: We seek them out! This value gives me a lens through which I can plan community events. I look for opportunities that support learning, growth, and skill development.

And remember, these community opportunities can be of varying sizes. Small or silly ice breakers allow members of the group to learn fun facts about one another that strengthen their work relationships and lead to openings for them to grow together. Those small, informal learning opportunities can be just as meaningful to some members of the team as larger, focused webinars on technology or best practices.

We recently hosted a professional development session about prioritization. At the start of this year, I invited each member of our team to meet with me individually and share their thoughts about development—what they were interested in, what they wanted to learn more about, and where they felt their strengths and weaknesses were. Prioritization was a frequent theme in the 1:1s with the team. Overall, our team members were seeking more insight and practical tips on not only how to prioritize, but how to convey their prioritization to others (otherwise known as the art of saying “no”). To plan this event, I took the following steps:

  • Identified a member of our team who I thought would be a confident speaker on this topic and who has demonstrated experience prioritizing multiple tasks.
  • Asked this community member if she would be willing to host an event.
  • Met with her to plan content.
  • Determined an appropriate time and date for the event based on the speaker and team availability.
  • Set up a Zoom space and shared the invitation with the team.
  • Recorded the session for any team members who were unable to join the call.
  • Set up a feedback form for live attendees and those who watched the recording to provide their thoughts and recommendations for future sessions.
  • Sent out the recording and feedback form to the whole team.
  • Evaluated the feedback to determine requests or recommendations for future development sessions.

 

In hosting this event, our organization gained several benefits, including:

  • Recognition of the speaker for their skills and leadership.
  • Encouragement of the current team to increase their skills and confidence in prioritizing.
  • Practical steps for the current team to understand how to prioritize their tasks and how to effectively communicate their prioritization to others.

 

All of these benefits are rooted in the value listed above, particularly seeking out opportunities to learn, grow, and develop our skills regularly.

Following a process like this one ensures that the value-based conversation is ongoing. We’re talking to team members 1:1 about it, they’re considering it for themselves, we’re strategically planning events based on feedback and values, and accepting feedback as a way to feed that process (and value) of continuous improvement. Strategically exercising values-based leadership in this manner will start to feel seamless and a natural part of the organization, which is how you know you are effectively building a workspace rooted in your company values.

Anchoring your events, no matter the size or scope, in company values is an effective way to develop meaningful community building in an organization. This also offers your team a shared space and multiple opportunities to refer back to values, so your values don’t just live on a page or in a handbook. This way, they become infused in your team’s everyday dialogue and execution of daily tasks. They become part of your company culture.

 

VaVa

Newsletter

Be a VaVa insider and receive all sorts of useful information and tips. Sign up for our newsletter today!

5 Amazing Benefits of Working For A Virtual Assistant Agency

At VaVa Virtual Assistants, we hire highly-skilled professionals who deserve to get the most out of their experience. Some of our team members will go on to start their own companies or have picked...

6 Ways to Inspire Seamless and Productive Collaboration

Successful collaboration is like putting your team into high gear. You get the most out of each individual member while cultivating a company culture that is satisfying for everyone. It just feels...

5 Traits to Look for in an Outstanding Bookkeeper

Delegating the bookkeeping function offers small business owners freedom in their busy schedules, lowers costs, and ensures that their finances are being handled by someone with expertise. You won’t...

How to Build Strong Community and Culture in a Virtual Work Environment

Dr. Abigail G. Scheg, People & Culture Manager, VaVa Virtual Assistants Cultivating a strong virtual organizational culture requires creativity and some extra effort. Be especially mindful of...

Boost Your Small Business Finances by Outsourcing Your Bookkeeping to an Expert

Small business entrepreneurs like you often start out doing business all on their own. That means you are your own salesperson, marketer, bookkeeper, and much more. Eventually, as your business...

Client Spotlight:  Tulani Thomas, Tutu’s Green World

When Tulani Thomas started Tutu’s Green World, it was like coming home. When she was a child, she remembers everyone called her the “green” one, and now she spends her days connecting youth to...

Why a Virtual Assistant is the Team Member You’ve Been Missing

As a business owner or a nonprofit leader, your team is not complete until you have the time to focus on your goals. If you’re running from meeting to meeting every day and are bogged down by...

How to Run Your Small Business Like The Superstar That You Are

Running a small business takes focus, drive, and confidence. Many entrepreneurs find it difficult to admit that mustering all three at once is a challenge. After you’ve cleared the hurdles of...

Client Spotlight:  Derek Steele, Social Justice Learning Institute

As the Executive Director of the Social Justice Learning Institute, Derek Steele is doing his life’s work. He’s empowering people through education so they can make the change they want to see in...

Design a Brand Story You Can Be Proud of With These Creative Tips

Your brand is much more than the logo and colors you use in your content and marketing. It is a summation of the values, vision, and purpose behind your business. More than ever, consumers today...

LET'S Talk!

Our team of experts is available to answer any questions you may have. Simply fill out the form or reach out via phone or email.

VaVa Virtual Assistants - Facebook
VaVa Virtual Assistants - Instagram
VaVa Virtual Assistants - LinkedIn