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Remote work is here to stay, but it comes with its own set of challenges. Chief among them is the problem of building a strong company culture that includes both in-house staff as well as those who are working remotely.
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Thanks to fast-evolving technologies, the global work environment and the dynamics of the workforce have had a massive shift in recent years. What’s even more interesting is that the changes in the nature of work are accelerating faster today than ever before.
Companies’ Cultures Are Radically Changing
A decade ago, no company would have imagined its employees working outside of the traditional office landscape. However, the notion of work has evolved. For one thing, advances in technology have made it easier for organizations to become more and more decentralized. Companies are increasingly adopting a culture that encourages a “work from anywhere” or “work from home” style which provides employees with greater flexibility.
For example, check out these remote work statistics:
- According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace 2017 report, 43 percent of the American labor force was already working remotely at least part of the time, even before the pandemic.
- In a recent Gartner survey, 80 percent of companies were planning to allow their employees to work remotely at least some of the time after the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The number of professionals working outside of the office has grown by 44 percent over the past 5 years.
Here’s the thing: Remote work is here to stay, but it comes with its own new challenges.
Despite the flexibility and ostensible freedoms that come with working remotely, employees often find themselves struggling to connect with the organization’s vision and goals. This is because most companies find it challenging or don’t know how to build a positive culture that includes their entire remote teams.
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Here are five tips to help you foster a solid company culture when your employees are working remotely:
Communicate Your Company Mission and Values
First, clearly communicate your company mission and values to each and every employee, whether they work remotely or not, so everyone can be on the same page. Remember: Your company culture is supposed to be built around your mission and values. That’s because this is what brings everyone together and unites the team.
You can avoid plenty of issues within your organization by simply getting everyone to focus on your company mission. Plus, it becomes easier to address some of the things that may not be working for your employees.
Consider including your company values and mission in your remote work handbook or policy. You want your employees to always refer to those values whenever they’re stuck and unsure about how to resolve certain issues or execute their work. Finally, make sure you continue to reinforce your mission and vision to your teams. This will give you opportunities to remind them of the importance of their work and what you’re trying to accomplish together.
Include Recognition of Employees in Your Company Culture
One essential component of building a strong company culture is presenting a special recognition to your employees every now and then. It’s important that you show appreciation for the work your team is doing. Keep in mind that employee recognition doesn’t have to be too complicated.
Simply saying thanks to an employee can go a long way. Even better, surprise them with a gift card. Alternatively, present awards for employees based on performance or post a shoutout in your public or private channel. Any of these suggestions can go a long way to make employees feel valued and appreciated. Recognizing and appreciating individual employees as valuable members of your organization helps build a strong and positive company culture.
Set a Foundation for Psychological Safety
No matter what business you’re involved in, you should create a sense of confidence that your organization won’t reject, embarrass, or victimize anyone for speaking up. A great company culture cultivates an environment of mutual respect and trust. Here three ways you can foster psychological safety:
- Show up with curiosity, humility, and fallibility. As a company leader, you should encourage participation from your team. Additionally, set the expectation that everyone makes mistakes, including yourself. Always acknowledge your own weaknesses and mistakes. Also, be open to suggestions and feedback from your employees.
- Address problematic outcome or behavior. Don’t focus on blaming an employee for a mistake they made. Instead, do your best to address the outcome or problematic behavior so employees can learn and grow from their mistakes.
- Encourage your teams to give constructive feedback. Schedule meetings that give your teams an opportunity to share their ideas. Create opportunities for workers to ask questions, give feedback, and even disagree with you, without making things personal.
Integrate and Learn About Your Remote Staff
You probably already know that work is no longer just a place where people go and perform specific tasks only so they can pay their bills. Your remote employees want to work in an environment that allows them to socialize. They want to connect with other employees and do something meaningful for themselves and other people.
To make sure your employees are a good fit for your organization, hire people who value what you believe in and what you practice. This will make it easier for you to integrate them into your company culture. And once they’re on your team, make it a point to get to know them, from a personal as well as a professional standpoint.
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For any company to succeed, its employees must work together toward a common mission and vision. People want to know what’s going on in the company they work for. No one wants to feel left out. As such, it’s important that you deliver all the necessary information to your employees.
You can’t expect employees to be honest in their work when you’re not honest and transparent about what’s happening in the company. Share your business plans, strategies, and key performance indicators (KPI). They might be your employees, but you need to treat them as your partners.
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