By Katie Alteri

Running a remote business can be a productive, lucrative venture. You can avoid paying bills that come with having an office or physical business location, and might even increase employee productivity.

Still, remote businesses also face certain challenges. One common issue is that many remote business owners struggle to create a feeling of community amongst their staff. Without seeing their employees each day, it can be difficult to form a clear company culture.

In this post, we’ll offer suggestions on how to combat this, so that your remote business can be deemed a great place to work!

Offer Perks

Even though your employees work remotely, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t offer perks. Provide a gym membership discount, or reimburse employee’s lunches once a month. Perks like these will make employees feel appreciated, and can serve as a great conversation starter.

For instance, you could start a contest for employees, such as rewarding the individual who makes it to the gym the most times in a quarter. Not only will your employees enjoy having an affordable gym membership, but they’ll also get to discuss who is participating in this fun contest with their peers.

Overall, perks make employees want to work for your business, and can inspire comradery.

Utilize Skype

Without working in the same space, there are still ways that you can get ‘facetime’ with your employees! Schedule important meetings via Skype, so that you and your employees can see each other during the conversation. This can decrease miscommunications, and allow you to develop rapport with your staff.Utilizing technologies like Skype can make it infinitely easier to connect with your staff. This will not only make doing your job easier, but it can also ensure that your employees can put a face to the names they are working with.

Facilitate Team Building

Many companies swear by starting meetings with ice breaker games. During your Skype meetings, make it a tradition to start off with a lighthearted ice breaker. This is a great way to add fun to even the most mundane of meetings.

These short, thought-provoking questions help employees get to know each other, and hopefully develop friendships. If your staff gets along, this will not only contribute to a strong company culture, but it can also ensure that employees don’t pursue opportunities at other companies. In many cases, when employees like their co-workers, they are more likely to be loyal to the company they work for.

Another way to foster team building at your remote business is to send welcome emails whenever a new employee is recruited. Since employees aren’t working in the same space, it would be easy to overlook the addition of a new team member. Ask recruits to fill out a short survey, answering questions about themselves. This is a great way to make this individual feel welcomed, and allows existing employees to learn about their newest co-worker.

Express Gratitude

Without seeing your employees each day, you might forget to thank them for a job well done. But it is even more important to show appreciation for your employees since you don’t get the opportunity to communicate with them in-person.

If an employee achieves a sales goal, consider sending them a gift certificate. Acknowledge the anniversary of employee start-dates with a thoughtful card. These small acts of gratitude will solidify your business’s company culture as positive and one that is employee-focused.

Plan an In-Person Event

If possible, hold a company-wide event where everyone can socialize, and perhaps even meet for the first time. If your remote business has employees stationed nationwide, this might not be realistic. But if your employees live close enough in radius, this could be a great way to promote company culture.

Working from different locales does not mean that you can’t establish a desirable company culture. By making it a priority to build company culture, your remote business will flourish due to your satisfied employees.

Katie Alteri is the content marketing coordinator at Fora Financial, a company that provides small business loans to businesses across the U.S. Fora Financial can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.