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How to Develop a Remote Work Culture

Note: The opinions in this article are the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Shortlister! 

More and more businesses are moving to a remote work culture, where operations run online. In some businesses, like HostPapa, a web hosting company, the entire process is remote, and employees work in disparate locations.  

In others, employees work remotely a few days per week, coming into the office on certain days. In these cases, it can be difficult to develop a strong company culture when employees are not all under the same roof and interacting in person.   

However, creating a strong company culture is important. Implementing the best practices can help any HR team achieve that goal.   

Why does a Strong Company Culture matter?

What is the culture of a company?

The definition varies from company to company, but it typically comprises the values and belief systems of the business. Company culture includes the attitudes of the company towards their employees, the processes within the organization, and how the business treats those that work for them. 

A company’s culture is the essence of the business.  

It affects how the employees engage with their work, how much they enjoy chatting with their coworkers, and how loyal they feel.  

When organizations have a strong company culture, they improve employee engagement, employee retention, customer satisfaction, and many other areas, leading to higher profitability.  

Building and living the company culture can be difficult in a remote workplace since employees often work from home or the road, physically isolated from their coworkers. There are fewer interactions in a remote setting instead of an office setting where they can catch up with their manager in the lunchroom or chat with a colleague while riding the elevator. Strategically and consciously building culture in remote teams is an important initiative that organizations must consider.

Best Practices for Maintaining Company Culture Remotely

Company culture may seem like an intangible initiative. Still, there are many tangible and actionable best practices organizations can put into place to strengthen their culture. How to build a strong culture with a remote team?  

Provide the right tools for remote work:

Technology is why remote work is possible. Businesses need to find the right tools for their remote work operations. A company’s project management, communication, and collaboration software should support its remote work operations instead of hindering productivity.

Establish a communication protocol:

It can be easy for remote employees to work completely isolated and not connect with other employees. Actively put processes in place to encourage communication, such as daily stand-up meetings and one-on-one check-ins. Organizations can go beyond just workplace communication to include online social gatherings for employees.

Prioritize employee wellbeing:

Physical distances between employees shouldnt create emotional distances. Company leaders need to show by example how important physical and mental health is. When employees are not feeling well, they should be encouraged to rest by their managers instead of being made to feel guilty for taking time off to go to a doctors appointment. Comprehensive health benefits are also an integral part of strong remote work culture

Connect everything back to the values:

The values of a business should be the guiding light for all operations, from sales to messaging to recruiting to training. This creates a sense of consistency for remote employees and supports them during everyday decisions they need to make in their roles.

Create a balance between work and home:

If employees work from home, they may feel like they never get to escape their job. Encourage employees to sign out once the workday is complete and spend time with their families, instead of feeling the need to check in even in the evenings.

Bring the whole company together:

Make it a point to have company-wide meetings, whether online or in-person, so employees can see and hear each other. This is a good opportunity to talk about larger strategic initiatives and show departments how they are all contributing towards achieving the same goal.

Affordable Ways to Improve your Culture Remotely

Creating a company culture doesnt need to take resources away from other initiatives within the organization. You just have to make it a priority and put in the time. There are plenty of affordable ways to improve your culture remotely without costing an arm and a leg 

Get to know your employees:

Working remotely means employers dont often connect with employees outside of shop talk. Take time to ask them about their families, interests, or what matters to them. Ask to see their pets on the video call or ask about what they plan on making for dinner. This is an easy way to build connections over physical distance
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Remind employees of your mission and vision:

Your organization’s company values, mission, and vision are like the North Star or guiding light. Take time to remind employees what theyre working to achieve. Talk about the mission and vision at team meetings and encourage employees to ask questions.

Provide real-time recognition for employees:

 It can be easy to only discuss issues when working remotely instead of focusing on the positives. Public thank-yous or shout-outs at the beginning of team meetings are great ways to boost employee morale and show them how valued their contribution is, even if they are not all in the same physical space. 

Celebrate employee life milestones:

Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, the birth of children — these are incredibly important milestones for your employees. Acknowledge and celebrate these events with your team by holding virtual parties. This is an excellent way for employees to connect and feel like their colleagues are a part of their lives, not just their work.

Show compassion:

Were all human, after all. A little understanding can go a long way and help build loyalty with your employees. If their child is not feeling well, ask them how they are doing? If they seem burnt out, ask how you can better support them. If they recently lost a loved one, let them know you understand they need time to grieve. These small actions can have a major impact on the culture of your remote business
Regular one-on-one meetings between managers and their employees are a great opportunity to apply for this. It’s a natural setting to gauge your employees’ overall wellness. It serves as a healthy outlet where managers can stay informed while demonstrating how important mental health is to their organization through consistent acknowledgment