We’ve spoken a lot about why creating a great company culture is vital, but company culture has become increasingly important with more organisations working remotely. Many successful companies have no office at all and their entire organisation works remotely. The pandemic pushed many organisations to become fully remote and some have benefited more than they had imagined. Thanks to modern technology and new ways of working, the global work environment has seen a huge shift.
But what impact does this have on company culture? Is it possible to maintain a positive culture whilst working from home? How can you make sure remote workers are well-catered for? We answer these burning questions and more in this article.
The challenges of managing remote workers
Communication or miscommunication
With many people working in different locations it’s not as easy to communicate to all team members. It becomes even more difficult if you have remote workers in different time zones too. It’s not as simple as gathering the team in a room for an announcement, you’re relying on virtual communication and all users seeing/reading important information.
As you can’t see your team in person, you have less insight into how much work is getting done. You need to build trust with your team, however, you still need a way to manage productivity. Each member of a healthy remote team needs to have a clear sense of what you expect from them; you don’t, however, want to micromanage your team, nobody will appreciate that.
Promoting your company’s culture
Without daily interaction and the office atmosphere, some remote workers can feel a sense of loneliness. It’s not so easy to promote your company’s culture when there is no office interaction. Promoting your company’s culture, when some of the most important elements associated with it are absent, represents one of the biggest challenges remote managers need to tackle.
How can you foster a positive culture with teams working from home in different locations?
It’s not that company culture disappears in a remote context, but cultural beliefs and norms are not being guided by systems and routines that were previously established in the office.
Culture is evolving despite being remote. Organisations need to invest a substantial amount of time and energy into keeping their workplace culture on track or steering them in new directions.
Share your company values
Your company values are the core pillars guiding your organisation and should be at the forefront of your employees’ minds. For your remote workers, your values show how your organisation operates and how you create a positive work environment. Be sure to incorporate these from day one.
Set a foundation of trust & psychological safety
The rewards of fostering psychological safety are great. Leaders should set the expectation that it’s fine to make mistakes. They should also be proactive and actively promote participation. Set time aside to give honest feedback and make sure feedback is given via video call so employees can talk face to face and avoid misunderstandings. This face to face interaction will help boost employee engagement for the whole team.
Prioritise regular meetings
Get used to weekly or bi-weekly calls for OKR traction, 1:1s and departmental meetings. Regular catch-ups and importantly face to face interactions are crucial when working remotely.
Communicate, communicate, communicate!
One of the biggest barriers to remote culture is communication. As everyone is working in different locations, it can be easy for things to fall by the wayside and fixing things can take longer. Setting communication standards will prevent people getting barraged with messages, reducing interruptions and making communication easier.
Give employees the chance to share their thoughts and ideas by having an open communication culture whereby they can feel comfortable speaking up and making suggestions. Using communication tools with an easy chat function can go a long way to opening up communication channels.
Whilst working at home employees won’t be bumping into each other at the coffee machine, passing each other by on toilet breaks or spending time chatting over lunch. This can make it difficult to build camaraderie among your employees. Utilise channels like Slack or Microsoft Teams to create fun channels for employees to have some light-hearted banter. Why not consider lunchtime wellness activities for teams to get involved in?
Face to face meetings
Seeing and hearing your team members allows you to pick up on cues like body language which helps to identify any issues, it establishes trust within the team too and helps you feel more like a team whilst not being in the same location. Line managers should incorporate weekly 1:1s with their employees via face to face video meetings to establish trust, build connections and celebrate individual accomplishments.
Creating a robust remote culture, where employees feel empowered and trusted to complete their work, is a continuous process that requires time and dedication. Make the most out of your culture and focus on fostering transparency to create an environment of trust so your organisation can keep moving the business forward.
We can provide workplace culture training to help bring everyone in your business together and create a positive work environment that is geared towards growth. Book a call with a Giant today to get started.