In today’s digital world, company culture has become more important than ever with over 56 percent of employees considering good workplace culture to be more important than salary. Your company culture defines your organization. It is a combination of the company’s values, goals, and mission. Moreover, culture is not something that is built overnight. It takes continuous effort from the leadership, HR department, and the employees themselves.
But when employees work remotely and don’t have enough face-to-face interactions, creating a company culture that successfully reaches across all the different verticals and locations can become a big challenge. For companies that are embracing the hybrid work trend, there is a need to cultivate a work culture that can create an environment of transparency and productivity while giving employees a sense of belonging even when they are distributed across the globe and hardly meet their coworkers.
What is remote work culture?
Culture can be defined as the social order within the organization. It shapes the behavior, attitude, and people of the company. The cultural norms of the company define what is accepted, rejected, encouraged, and discouraged within the organization. When correctly aligned with personal needs and values, culture can help achieve the shared organizational goals.
Remote work culture is defined as the digital culture within an organization which enables employees to stay connected through shared experiences, interests, and priorities. A strong remote work culture gives employees a sense of belonging that transcends physical boundaries. Even companies without a set or defined culture have a culture. After all, each employee knows intuitively what actions are rewarded, what is expected of them, where they can act autonomously, and where they need permission from higher-ups. With a growing remote workforce, it has now become imperative for companies to consider creating a remote work culture and introduce the right systems and practices to implement it.
Here are some elements of remote work culture that organizations need to consider:
It is technology that helps remote employees stay connected and it forms a large part of the remote work culture. Over 82 percent of people claim that workplace technology is a deciding factor for them when considering a new job. Moreover, millennials are more likely to quit a job if they find the technology used in the workplace rather substandard.
When employees work remotely, they expect flexibility, space, and freedom to manage their work. While it’s important for employees to not feel alienated or left out, they should also not feel like they are constantly being micromanaged.
A growth mindset
No matter where your employees are located, the company culture should be welcoming and consistent for all of them. Moreover, it should provide the employees with the right opportunities to grow, learn new skills and explore beyond the boundaries of what they can accomplish.
Why is remote work culture important?
1. Remote work culture curbs remote isolation
Loneliness is the second biggest challenge for employees working remotely. A strong and consistent remote work culture can unite employees and give them a shared sense of purpose. It also imbibes a feeling of camaraderie and directly leads to real actions like casual check-ins and more informal conversations which help avoid remote isolation.
2. Remote work culture prepares your organization for future success
Remote work is slowly and steadily becoming the new normal. According to a survey, over 74 percent of Chief Financial Officers are now planning to keep at least a part of their workforce remote even after we are well past the pandemic and the physical distancing norms are relaxed. Organizations with cultures that can withstand the transition to remote work will be able to move past the growing pains of shifting to a whole new work model and maintain consistent efficiency and productivity.
3. Remote work culture builds long term relationships
The right remote work culture is a win for your organization even if you eventually ask employees to come back to the office and fully embrace onsite work. After all, a strong remote work culture is just a strong culture. When you strengthen team bonds among remote employees, it directly translates into better relationships, improved trust, and enhanced communication. Not only does it make it easier for remote employees to communicate and connect with their in-office counterparts, but it also makes the transition from remote to office work smoother.
Some ideas to help you build a strong remote work culture
1. Using the right tools
The long term success of remote work also depends on whether you’re using the right tools to manage work. The ideal software for remote work is a digital workplace platform where teams can collaborate, communicate and accomplish work within a unified virtual space.
Remote cultures are mostly agile. The use of a unified platform like a digital workplace can also help bring in a positive culture among remote workers and help them have a happier and more positive work experience.
2. Create an environment of trust
To create a healthy remote work company culture, it’s important to communicate all the high-level decisions within your team to show employees that you trust them completely to handle their work, even when they are working remotely. After all, trust is a two-way street. Your employees will only trust you when you trust them. Moreover, you should focus more on the output of the employees instead of the total number of hours they spend online. Avoid checking in and micromanaging the employees too much. You should give them space to manage their work and only check in occasionally.
3. Share your company’s mission and goals
Creating an optimum and high performing remote team culture becomes easier when everyone in your organization understands the mission and goals you are trying to achieve. You need to find a concise and clear way of describing the company’s mission and the overall goals that the company is trying to achieve (both short term and long term). It can work as a constant reminder for employees to always know what they are trying to accomplish while working together.
4. Define your remote work policy
Remote work or flexible work can mean a lot of different things to different people. As a result, you need to be as specific and explicit as possible about your organization’s remote work policy so that the employees always know exactly what to expect.
- Do the employees have to be online a certain number of hours every day?
- Do the employees have to be available in a certain time zone despite where they are located?
- Do employees have the freedom to make their remote work schedule?
- Do they need to travel to the main office every once in a while?
- Do they get a stipend to set up their home offices?
More clarity will only lead to smoother remote work and better company culture.
5. Make face-to-face meetings a priority
Sitting by yourself in front of the laptop, week after week, can often be isolating for remote employees and alienate them from their team members. While there is no replacement to meeting your team members directly, regular video calls can help close the communication gap by a lot. Team managers should hold regular 1:1 meetings with the employees to build better connections, establish trust, and celebrate their individual accomplishments. You should also encourage team members to switch on their video during team meetings to reinforce values through direct face-to-face communication and get to know each other in a better way.
6. Collect regular feedback and make changes accordingly
If you are new at running a remote team and establishing a remote work culture, chances are, you won’t get everything exactly right the first time. It is always a good idea to ask remote employees for their feedback regularly so that they can tell you what’s working for them and what just isn’t. It will also help you continuously improve the process for future hires as well.
Developing a strong remote work culture where your employees feel trusted and empowered to perform their best work is an ongoing process that requires a lot of time and hard work. Whether you are transitioning your entire organization to remote work or adding a new remote team, you need to be equipped with all the best practices and tools to make the shift as smooth as possible for your employees. The idea is to make the most out of your culture and foster transparency in order to create an environment of trust so your organization can continuously keep moving forward.