Building Culture and Connection Within Remote and Hybrid Teams

IRI Podcast episode on Remote Work Culture

Now that it looks like some degree of hybrid and remote working are here to stay, it's time to flesh out what it means to maintain a successful remote or hybrid plan over the long term. Critical elements of that plan? Exploring how to build connection and cultivate a positive remote work culture. Today, we’re joined by James Simmons, the founder of heyLIME, a culture and teambuilding platform. Here, he explains:

  • What is lost in the switch from in-person to remote or hybrid work environments;
  • Why the goal should not be to recreate identical in-person work cultures for remote and hybrid workers;
  • The value of casual social interactions at work; and .
  • How shared social experiences encourage employee engagement for all workers!

If you prefer to read along while you listen, we've done all the hard work for you! We listened back to this episode and took notes below, and access is free! 


Adapting to Remote Work

  • Maintaining personal connection and work culture virtually is crucial for businesses.
  • Connection between coworkers in a remote workplace is necessarily different from in-office connections. The goal isn’t to create an identical work culture, but rather to create one that makes more sense for remote work.


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Pros and Cons of Remote Work

  • Pro: More flexibility for both employees and employers.
    • Employees can work when they want, where they want, and spend more time with family.
    • Employers have access to talent anywhere in the world.
  • Con: Employees lose connection with coworkers.
    • Workplace friendships and employee engagement have been diminished due to the distance of remote work.
    • Employee engagement is what turns a transactional relationship between employee and employer into a relationship of personal accountability. 
    • Employees hired into an already remote workplace have a more difficult time making connections with their team. 

Improving the Remote Work Culture

  • Encouraging casual social interactions solely for the sake of building employee relationships is crucial to cultivating a more connected remote workplace.
    • Employee retreats are a great way to do this, if your company can afford it.
    • In order to make an impact, these social interactions ideally need to happen a few times a week.
  • Companies that have transitioned from in-person work to remote work struggle the most with maintaining employee engagement.

How heyLIME Helps Build Employee Relationships

  • heyLIME is a platform that uses games and other activities to create shared social experiences in the workplace.
    • Some activities are designed to only take a couple of minutes so they can be integrated into regular team meetings.
      • Activities include trivia, meditation, ice-breakers, etc.
    • Other activities are meant for longer meetings dedicated to team building.
    • heyLIME also helps plan social events for employees meant to last a few hours. 
  • Team building activities may always feel intentional or “forced,” but planning activities around your team’s specific needs will likely make employees more receptive to them.
    • Integrating activities into the first or last few minutes of pre-existing team meetings is an organic way to ensure, or at least encourage, participation.
  • heyLIME encourages employee engagement by catering to many different needs and motivations. 

Why Use A Third-Party Company Like heyLIME to Boost Employee Engagement?

  • It can sometimes be difficult to understand or measure how effective your team building activities are in building engagement. Bringing in a third-party that specializes in creating tangible programs for engagement can help demonstrate results. 
  • heyLIME’s culture advisors help teams onboard onto the platform and understand the science behind what is working, what is not working, and why. 

Advice for HR Professionals

  • Be very intentional with team building strategies, because in a remote workplace it will never happen organically. 

James Simmons Background

  • B.S. in Computer Science from Harvey Mudd College
  • He began his career working as a Software Development Lead for Northrop Grumman
  • He served as Director of Technology for SAIC, and the Director of Business Technology for Verify
  • Mr. Simmons then became the Head of Engineering - Product Development for LegalZoom
  • He served as Chief Executive Officer for Everyone Counts, Inc.
  • He currently serves as Partner/Startup Advisor/Chief Technology Officer for Fortium Partners 
  • He is also currently the Founder and CEO of heyLIME.


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