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How to Maintain Company Culture in a Remote Working World

Posted-on October 2020 By Amy Bates

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​For many companies, working in the "9-to-5" central office is a thing of the past – at least for the time being. Even if you and your people can physically return to your workplaces, you will most likely find that practises such as remote work continue in some form.

Adapting your company culture to support remote work effectively is one of the most important things you can do to make it successful for your company and for future of work in general. With proper planning and implementation, you can leverage remote work as an integral part of your business strategy.

The loss of employee connection is one of the dangers associated to remote working. People can feel isolated and out of touch with the culture and values of society. It is therefore important to take proactive steps not only to prevent this, but also to strengthen and improve the alignment of your employees with your culture and values.

Establish a results-oriented environment.

Creating and communicating clear objectives and key performance indicators for your team members to achieve is critical to a productive remote culture. They must clearly understand what the expectations for success include and have the tools to track and report their productivity. Even if you can’t be physically present, you can stay close through consistent communication and encouragement. Discuss work styles, resources and support needs to determine how you can empower individuals to be more autonomous.

Be inclusive.

Successful cultures involve the collaboration of all stakeholders working together to determine their shared values and ideals. This can be difficult for remote teams. Going to an office provides many opportunities for people to come together and create the type of working environment they want. For remote teams, those opportunities are fewer because of factors like different time zones, no physical presence and interactions dictated by technology. That means remote teams must be deliberate about inclusivity. Schedule regular time for co-workers to chat, get the team together in the same location when you can, support multiple channels of communication and encourage group work and collaboration.

Support the health and well-being of your staff.

Employees who don’t normally work from home may be thrown off their routines. When kids are home, things are even more complicated. It takes time to build healthy routines up again in a different environment. You can help employees by encouraging them to practice healthier behaviours. Encourage senior leadership to share what they’re doing to stay healthy while working from home. Check in with your employees often. Ask how they’re doing. During a time of increased stress, co-workers can provide support and make them feel less alone.

Look for signs that your culture is healthy.

Even if your employees aren’t coming into the office, you can take note of the way they act in videoconferencing meetings. Do they seem happy? Are they engaged? Are you picking up signs of discontent? When your team members are truly committed to your values, they do good work that reflects their loyalty to the company. You can see it when they propose ideas or offer solutions, demonstrating their desire to give back to an organisation that is supportive of them. You’ll also get positive feedback and referrals from clients and vendors. Or job candidates may refer to your culture as a reason for wanting to work for your company.

Due to their flexible work environment, you may eventually find that you have happier employees. Building the processes, structure, and culture needed to accommodate remote workers takes time and conscious effort. As more of the world makes this transition, as it embraces the new world of work, it also provides organisations with opportunities to adapt and evolve.