4 Ways This Remote Startup Boosts Morale and Productivity

We’re loud and proud about being a completely remote startup. To date, our growing team of 24 represents 13 different countries and four different continents! And while we wouldn’t change this for anything, we admit that being a remote company can come with challenges.

One of the biggest issues faced by remote employees today is feeling disconnected at work. After all, you don’t interact with people in the same way you might in an office.

At Cococart, we don’t have that problem. We knew from Day 1 that we would be a completely remote company, so we built our culture around that vision.

While there’s a lot to tackle about how we keep productivity high at our company, we want this post to focus on the specific activities we do on a regular basis that keep everyone engaged and working like a winning sports team.

4 remote company activities that keep productivity and morale high

If your company is thinking of going completely remote, why don’t you take a page out of our company’s culture? Check out these four awesome ideas to keep productivity and morale sky-high at your company.

Campfire

At Cococart, we work hard. But we also play hard. 

We understand that for any startup to grow, our employees need to be engaged at their jobs. And it’s our strong belief that one of the best ways to do that is encouraging camaraderie with everyone on the team.

So every Friday, we adopted a weekly Campfire

This is an hour and a half each week we spend gathered around a virtual campfire—can you guess where we got the name?—and just like teens sitting ‘round their own campfires at summer camp, we share stories and play games together.

Yup, that’s a real virtual Campfire! (Side note: is “real virtual” actually an oxymoron?)

During Campfire, everyone gets a chance to share some highlights from their week, together with any low lights so we can share some support. 

It’s also where we show our competitive sides, playing games like Codenames, Werewolf, and even trivia with Kahoot.

This photo was snapped after a particularly thrilling game of Codenames. Our future HR team already has a list of Codenames-related grievances to mediate. (Sorry, HR!)

Adopting activities like Campfire can strengthen your own team’s bond, letting employees know they’re heard and valued. 

If you’re still a growing team like we are, the 1.5 hours is more than enough to hear from everyone while playing a round or two of whodunnit Werewolf.

For bigger companies, you can encourage Campfires per team, round robin style, for everyone to get to know each other, regardless of their role. 

Get creative, and you’ll find the best Campfire rituals for your team!

Flow

Our remote team is spread across a dozen countries. Some people are just about ending their days by the time others start theirs. 

Because of this, we work asynchronously. People are expected—and encouraged—to get their work done when it best suits them. 

So it might seem surprising that we hold a weekly (optional!) coworking session we call Flow. Every week, there’s a day and time we encourage the team to do deep focus work on a live Zoom call.

No, this practice isn’t there to spy on our team Big Brother-style. The point of Flow is to help keep productivity high by getting everyone to commit to one, or maybe a few, tasks they can complete or make progress on in an hour.

One bonus of this remote company activity is that it’s an opportunity for people on the team to get to know what others are doing. It’s a peek into everyone’s work life—and when we get to celebrate what everyone’s accomplished in an hour, that just makes it even better!

To adopt a Flow session in your company, pick a good day and time each week for every employee to come together and work on a project or task on their to-do list. Start the session by having everyone share what they hope to accomplish in the hour, then end it by sharing wins.

Equal benefits

We’ve all heard stories of companies that claim to be remote, yet don’t truly have a remote-first culture. 

For example, many companies will say they’re remote, but then have part of their employees report to an office, where they receive in-office benefits like free lunches. For the employees who do work remotely, it may seem like they’re missing out on benefits just because they choose to work from home or anywhere else.

That’s why, to build a remote-first culture, make all your benefits applicable to every person on the team. In our company, benefits are for everyone, not a select few.

At Cococart, we champion things like:

  • Unlimited vacation and sick days. We encourage everyone to take a break so they can come back to work refreshed and ready to do the best work of their lives.
  • Wellness stipend. Our employees are given a yearly stipend for their physical and mental wellness. From therapy to health insurance, our team is encouraged to do what they need to in order to stay happy and healthy. And this benefit even covers hobbies like surfboards, dance classes, and ski trips!
  • Entertainment stipend. Keeping productive at a remote company means taking breaks and having fun. So we give a monthly stipend for entertainment apps like Netflix, Spotify, and others like it, so our team can enjoy the time they spend outside of work.
Nope, we’re not making it up. It’s all right there on our Hiring page.

Company retreats

Just because we adopted a completely remote setup at Cococart doesn’t mean we don’t value in-person meetups and gatherings.

So that’s why we’ve introduced company retreats into our culture, where we take our employees to cool destinations around the world to work and play.

Our first official company retreat was in Iceland, which you can read up about here. This retreat was a representation of one of our core values as a company, where we play to win.

No big deal, just Cococart in Iceland.

Doing the occasional retreat as a company was an opportunity for us to do things we couldn’t remotely: company-wide brainstorming, playing physical games, and in-person workshops.

And of course, it was a great way to bond in between!

If you want to add this to your remote company’s culture, know that you can start small. Even just a weekend away in a city nearby most of your employees can be a fantastic start.

Your remote team is only as strong as your remote culture

Building a strong remote culture is the absolute most important thing any startup can do to keep employee morale and productivity high.

Take it from us here at Cococart who are already thriving while doing it—your best investment is in your team, and your team can only do their best work when the culture in the company is strong.

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