Four continents. Six countries. Five time zones. That's where you'll find my team members.

How do remote teams communicate and coordinate? With a lot of planning and flexibility. And if those aren't challenging enough, it's also much harder to build company culture, trust, and cohesion - all of which are critical to a happy and productive team. We address many of these challenges through a weekly Monday practice.

The Monday Morning Routine Guaranteed to Improve Teamwork and Productivity

It begins on Thursday afternoons, when team members submit their 15Five reports. In it, they "share 1-2 examples from the last week of someone on the team exhibiting and exemplifying ONE of our core values."

Everyone who is mentioned in an answer receives a screenshot of the 15Five response. They get positive feedback and recognition for a job well done. But I take it one step farther.

Why should I be the only one to see all the wonderful ways our team members were living out our core values? I wanted everyone in the team to know the remarkable things their co-workers were doing. And so I began a new routine.

Every Monday morning, I take excerpts of the 15Five reports and put them together in an email. It's a simple process of copying, pasting, and grouping the responses according to our six core values. Then I send the email to all team members.

Who Knew A Simple Email Could Do So Much?

I absolutely look forward to putting together and sending these Monday morning emails, and my team members count on reading them.

"The emails provide a nice little burst of celebration and enthusiasm to start off the week," says David Kirshbaum, Assistant Director of Education at Mirasee. He continues, "It's a morale booster and a reminder of what a great team we have."

The emails also document how we make our company values concrete in our daily work. "Those Monday morning emails make that observable for everyone," says Christy Campbell, one of our student coaches.

The emails give team members a glance at each other's accomplishments. Not only do they get to know each other better, but they're also able to celebrate and support each other. Josephine Fox, Executive Assistant, says "It gives me a good idea of where people's strengths lie."

According to our Director of Courses, Jim Hopkinson, by reading the emails, "you know you have the support of both management and the entire team to accomplish what you need to that week."

Ashlee Branch, our Growth Assistant, finds that the weekly email "unites us as a common force, working toward the common goal of building better business."

From giving positive feedback to strengthening culture, from providing a common ground to boosting morale, our Monday morning emails have made us a better, more cohesive, and more productive team.

Start Your Own Celebration Email Routine

Maybe like some organizations you already share wins or express gratitude for co-workers during meetings. In fact, we do something similar during our weekly team meetings via web conferencing. But there's something to be said about receiving praise in written form. For one thing, it gives people time to reflect and construct a thoughtful and specific recognition of a colleague. For another, email is more immutable and enduring than verbal praise.

If you want to try this practice, you only need two tools: a way to collect responses from team members and email. In our case, we use 15Five (a paid service) and regular email. Google Forms is a good free alternative to 15Five.

The little extra effort is worth it, especially for distributed teams. It adds another layer of exposure of team members to each other, which helps develop and define company culture. And soon you'll find that author and motivation expert Dr. Bob Nelson was right: "You get what you reward."