The corporate culture is one of the central pillars for growth and success. A company’s cultural system lays the foundation for how employees across the hierarchy interact, engage, and collaborate with management and each other.
We’ve turned corporate culture far too often into a clichéd term that gets tossed around in temporary references. But sometimes we forget its importance and why it matters so much. It defines how happily your employees are working for you. The organizational culture has an enormous impact on productivity, the sustainable growth of the company and the long-term vision of the company.
The cascading effect of great corporate culture is that it is naturally reflected in the performance of your people. Who doesn’t want to do their best to work in a place that really appreciates them?
This, in turn, has a positive impact on sales and profits, and the next thing you know is that you are on a strong growth curve. Satisfied employees achieve better results. And that’s not an opinion, it’s a scientifically proven fact.
Expanding a strong corporate culture to a remote work environment may seem daunting at first, but it isn’t. Remote has only changed where you work. It doesn’t have to change how you work. Culture is not tied to your office space, but reflects your organizational value systems, your vision for success and your daily work management principles.
As long as the core company’s values and beliefs remain the same, maintaining a remote workforce is all about operational decisions.
Chances are, you already have an organizational culture in place
Regardless of whether you have committed it as a leader or not, there is already a corporate culture in place. It makes sense to evaluate what the current culture is and whether it meets your expectations for what it should be. If so, then you are golden. If it doesn’t, you will need to sit down with senior management and the executive team to support the definition.
The easiest way to replicate your culture with remote teams is to do the same things that you would have done in a physical office environment.
If you usually have daily stand-up meetings, do the same with your remote team. If weekly 1: 1 with your teammates is a thing, make sure you allow some time for it if you are also working remotely.
It’s about familiarity and process attitude. You need to find ways to involve your remote teams, be it for work or otherwise. And this has to be a deliberate, deliberate measure to get them to actively participate. You need to activate practices that allow your remote teams to willingly contribute to building and maintaining the corporate culture.
Over communication! and overcommunication clearly with distant teams
The importance of communication in maintaining organizational culture in a remote work environment cannot be overstated.
In a traditional office scenario, it’s easy to instantly communicate and collaborate between teams and team members. In a remote environment, it is important to establish communication practices and protocols. Set the memo so that the various media can communicate and interact. This should include:
- Rules of this interaction
- Communication courtesies
- Response rates and lead times
Secure your processes with the right tools. Find out which tools are best for you and incorporate them into your daily work schedule. For example, at Wishup we often use Slack, Gmail and Google Meet for our daily exchanges. We log our meeting minutes and notes in an email thread as well as in our proprietary workforce management app.
There might be a few other tools for you. However, the goal is to use the technology and have the infrastructure to enable easy communication.
The other end of the communication spectrum is listening. Listen to what your employees are saying and don’t say anything about your company culture. Actively ask your remote teams what can be improved so they can perform better.
All of the culture-related processes you set up mean nothing if they don’t improve your work experience. You set the core values and systems, but work with your team to make them robust. Consider practices that are really making an impact and that are feasible for you.
A collaborative work environment is a major success factor for efficient remote teams. It avoids people working in isolation and pulls people out of the shadows into the spotlight.
There should be a clear focus on having more time with your remote teams
When we work remotely, we don’t see each other very often. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Looking and listening to one another is an important aspect of the above communication practices. It promotes bonding and familiarity with one another. This, in turn, makes it easier for us to speak more openly with one another, even though we may be hundreds or thousands of kilometers apart.
Force the idea of showing your video during online meetings and catch-ups. It helps people feel more connected and heard. It’s easy to get lost in a sea of boxes during a video conference. Encourage active participation and ensure that everyone who attends the meeting has the opportunity to say something.
Meeting again regularly creates not only trust, but also responsibility. Team members are no longer names on a screen if you deal with them frequently.
Give your remote teams reasons to enjoy their work
Remote working has its distinct advantages. It is known to increase productivity and reduce costs. But sometimes it can get lonely for your teams too. Some of them may feel isolated or inadequately connected to the rest of the staff and the organization.
You can use non-work activities and programs to counteract this. And it’s not just about team building exercises. This is the first step. They should encourage regular team hangouts where they can just relax and have a non-work conversation. This will help teammates get to know each other better and how they are outside of the work environment. Think of this as a virtual team lunch or as a drink after work.
As a leader, the best way to promote culture is to show that you care about your people. And you can express this through employee wellness programs designed for better mental and physical health.
Another great way is to invest in their learning and development. Actively encourage them and volunteer for workshops and online courses that apply to their roles. Talk to them about why it is important to learn new skills on a regular basis and help them do so. They can either have an in-house program or pay for outside programs that they might be interested in.
Moving to a completely remote work environment is a hassle. There will be mishaps and failures along the way and you will have to get through them. You need to experiment with different ideas before deciding on things that will work for you. As a leader, you need to be open to new ideas and experimentation if you want to have successful and efficient remote teams.
But once you find your groove, maintaining your corporate and organizational culture with remote teams will be a breeze.