How to Create a Strong Company Culture for a Remote Company

Remote company culture

Data Scientists at Ladders are confident that remote work is here to stay. As per their projections, 25 percent of all professional jobs In North America will be remote by the end of 2022, while remote work opportunities will continue to rise through 2023. The shift in working arrangements is therefore extremely real. Despite all the triumphs of remote working, companies still have quite a few challenges to deal with in order to develop a strong corporate culture in this newer and more flexible arrangement. 

One of the major pain points in remote work is the lack of social interaction. As per a survey of more than 700 remote workers who have previously worked in offices, social interaction was the aspect people missed the most, followed by having a dedicated workspace and face-to-face meetings. A job, after all, is just a job without personal connections and a sense of belonging which in turn leads to loyalty. Work culture is often defined by norms after all.

Such norms, however, are greatly challenged in remote work, as employees are often unsure as to when to ping a co-worker for a non-work-related interaction, leading to feelings of detachment. In spite of this, most companies have not been able to figure out ways to foster connections in the virtual world. Most companies have always used office spaces to nurture a sense of "shared culture" and are mostly relying on the hope of returning to offices. Projections, however, speak differently, and it is therefore essential for companies to adopt certain policies to embrace remote work. The intention to build a company culture is the first step, followed by the technology and tools enabling companies to achieve this feat. Focus on creating a great culture first and use tools to support your vision. 

Defining company culture can be a little complex. However, to put it in simple words, culture simply means the type of attitude, values and beliefs the employees of the company adopt. It is company culture that has helped in retaining employees over the years. With the advent of remote work, however, this very culture has been challenged. A strong remote company culture should enable healthy communication in a way that builds trust and where employees feel heard and appreciated and in turn develop a sense of loyalty towards the company and its mission. This ensures that your goals and objectives remain aligned and can also significantly increase the engagement level of employees. 

So how do you incorporate company culture into remote spaces? The answer is simple - you will have to rethink all your processes from onboarding, to meetings, performance reviews and so on. Did you know that with Lodago, you can set up internal meetings and external client meetings with colleagues easily? The availability of every member will be synchronized in a single calendar, thereby only showing slots where everyone is available!

Here are a few other tips that will help you in building and maintaining a strong company culture in remote working:

Tips for a strong company culture in remote working

Set an environment where employees feel safe

This is the most important factor in any workplace. There should be trust and the employees should feel safe enough in the organization to speak up and present their thoughts and ideas. Employees should feel confident that the team and management will not reprimand them for speaking up. The leaders should show up with humility and allow fallibility to show and set expectations about proactive participation and how it is okay to make mistakes. Leaders should regularly ask for feedback from the team and give value to the inputs received. Similarly, regular intra team meetings should be set up where constructive feedback is given and blaming is avoided altogether. 

Onboard properly

Onboarding new hires remotely can be tricky and there is room for a lot of confusion. As such, having a clear plan is important. The best way to optimise your efforts would be to onboard people in groups, as it will not only help the management, but also foster a sense of community in the new hires. A comprehensive weekly plan should be designed for them to get acquainted with the right people, processes and systems and a point of contact should be available to them at all times to clear their doubts or help them in dealing with initial obstacles at work. Accordingly, the tasks assigned to them should start small and then increase once the employee gets more acquainted with the process. With Lodago, you can use Round Robin to allocate meetings among your team members as per your weightings, and based on factors like date of joining, thereby assigning fewer percentage of meetings to new hires and giving them time to learn and grow.

Stipulate your company mission and goals

Clearly communicate your missions and objectives to your employees and regularly reinforce them as this will foster a sense of belonging , in the employees as they will be working on shared objectives and missions together.

Clearly communicate your work policy

Clearly communicate the work policy including the number of hours they are expected to work, if there are fixed hours, when and in what meetings they are expected to be present and which tasks can be flexible. Setting these rules clearly early on can help a lot in avoiding confusions about flexibility. 

Giving priority to quality work

While there might be a lot of requests that an employee has to attend to, it is important to remember that meaningful work takes time and undivided attention and as such boundaries should be set by blocking time on calendars or by giving them meeting-free days to complete their projects. While engaging actively is important, it is also beneficial to set boundaries. 

Create mentorship programs

One of the best aspects of remote work is that it brings together a variety of backgrounds and expertise and, as such, sharing knowledge among peers can help employees learn and grow. Regularly set goals for every person in a team at performance reviews and give them honest feedback regarding their progress.

Get feedback from employees

Remote work is still a tricky space; it is seldom possible to get everything right in the first place. Therefore, take regular feedback from your employees regarding various processes and about what is working for them and what is not. A good company takes into consideration the opinion of their employees and in ensuring that everyone feels heard and content with the work environment. Taking constructive criticism well and making according changes in policies or processes goes a long way.

Plan offsite meetings

Virtual meetings cannot ever replace the warmth and communication in face-to-face meetups. Plan a bi-annual retreat or meetup to foster a sense of belonging in your employees and give them the opportunity to meet and bond with their co-workers. Since the pandemic is almost over now, this can be a great way for employees to nurture connections and network. 

Set rituals at work

Be it weekly catch ups, or bi-weekly team calls, setting rituals that employees look forward to can greatly help in their productivity. These calls can be used to discuss the overall progress of the team and to set goals for the coming weeks, giving the employees a much-needed sense of direction. It will also ensure that a steady pace is maintained while everyone is working towards shared goals.

Decide how your team works together

Different people work in different ways and therefore it is important to get an idea about what different people need and expect when working together. Clear communication should be established for a healthy collaborationand it should be ensured that every member feels comfortable with the arrangement. Conversations on non-work-related issues should also be encouraged at times to break the ice and to maintain a free flow of ideas. 

Creating a strong company culture remotely is in no way easy and can rightly seem like a daunting task at times. Hopefully, these practices will help you in knowing what is important. The most significant aspect is to encourage open and clear communication since this can directly impact various aspects of work like collaboration. Once employees and leaders learn how to navigate these practices, setting a robust company culture in remote settings even is certain.

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