Company culture isn’t just about free snacks and socializing. It takes more to create a connection and build trust between your business and its employees, especially when remote work comes into play. So, how do you build and keep your company culture in this newly remote world? Let me break it down for you with a few tips.
Company Culture In A Remote World: 8 Tips
Your company’s culture can make or break your business. With a solid company culture, employees will (hopefully) thrive in their environment and grow. On the other hand, poor cultures can cause conflict, increase turnover, and cause you to lose out on top talent.
Having a strong company culture can also:
- Motivate employees
- Boost employee morale
- Keep employees engaged
- Build strong leadership
- Help retain employees
- Enhance your employer brand
Keeping your company’s culture strong is a must—both in the office and in a remote world. However, it can be challenging to build and retain your company culture while working behind a computer screen. To ensure your business’s culture comes out strong even while working from home, take advantage of these eight tips.
1. Craft Or Fine Tune Your Company Values
Creating and sharing your company values can establish a great foundation for company culture. Your values show your team your vision, mission, and principles and can help shape your business’s culture.
If you haven’t already, consider crafting a set of company values for your team to keep in mind. Already established values? Great! Now’s the perfect time to fine-tune them for your remote team.
Once you create or tweak your company values, share them with your team. And, don’t be shy about sharing your values where others can see them, too (like on your business website).
At my accounting software and payroll company, Patriot Software, we have five core values we like each and every employee to follow. Our team refers to them on a daily basis, and we use them to help guide the company to success.
2. Focus On Building Trust
Building trust in the workplace is oh-so-important for employers and employees alike. If you don’t trust your employees, you’ll never learn how to delegate, causing you to waste time micromanaging. And if your employees don’t trust you or feel trusted, you could wind up damaging your culture and losing employees.
To build your company culture in this crazy remote world we’re in, focus on building trust with your team. You can do this by:
- Being transparent
- Keeping communication open and honest
- Giving employees recognition and appreciation
- Spending time building relationships
- Empowering your team
- Admitting your mistakes
- Showing your appreciation
Trust takes time to build. But once you show employees you trust them and they can trust you, you will be well on your way to strengthening your culture.
3. Prioritize Communication
It’s no secret that communication is an oh-so-important part of running a business, especially while you’re remote. Heck, it’s an important part of being human. Without it, you could run into conflicts and cause confusion—and no business owner or employee wants to deal with that.
Don’t believe communication is crucial? One in five remote workers say communication and collaboration is their biggest struggle. And, it becomes even more of a struggle when you don’t prioritize communication at work.
To ensure you make communication a #1 priority for your company, give your team the tools they need to stay in touch. This may include:
- Messaging software (e.g., Slack)
- Video call software (e.g., Zoom)
- Work emails
- Phone calls
The more communication avenues you give to your team, the better communicators they’ll be. In addition to giving them the tools they need to succeed and collaborate, you should also set communication expectations from the get-go and meet with your team regularly (think huddles, 1:1s, morning standups, etc.).
4. Schedule Some Face Time
This next tip goes hand in hand with Tip #3: Schedule some face time. Now, what exactly do I mean by that? I mean, get on a dang video call every once in a while so you can see your team’s beautiful and smiling faces.
Meeting face to face (even when it’s through a computer screen) can help build strong work relationships, bring teams together, and boost innovation. Plus, it’s a great way to keep everyone on the same page.
Based on one study, a whopping 94% of businesses said video calls increased their productivity. So if you aren’t already taking advantage of video calls on a regular (or even daily) basis, hop on the bandwagon and give it a shot.
5. Discuss Boundaries And Set Expectations
When it comes to remote work, it can be hard to separate your work life and personal life. It can be tempting for you and your co-workers to check emails over the weekend, take a peek at a project, or work well past a normal workday. The solution? Discussing boundaries and setting expectations with your team.
Without setting expectations and discussing boundaries, your team may suffer from poor work-life balance and burnout. Not to mention, they won’t know what you expect of them as a remote worker.
To prevent any work-life balance issues, set expectations and give your co-workers a heads up about:
- Work hours while working from home
- Response times
- Acceptable work hours (e.g., anytime between 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.)
- Remote protocols
6. Get Feedback From Your Team
Just like how it’s important for you to give feedback to your team, it’s just as important for your team to be able to give you feedback. And, for you to listen to it.
To ensure your remote employees are able to share their concerns and are being heard, set up a way to get regular feedback from your employees (or co-workers, as I like to call them).
Here are some ways you can gather feedback:
- Anonymous survey
- Engagement survey
- 1:1s, performance reviews, and other meetings
- Review sites (e.g., Glassdoor)
- Employee suggestion box
You probably won’t get everything right the first time—and that’s OK. Use the feedback to your company’s advantage and make adjustments for your remote team. Ask for feedback often, listen to your co-workers, make tweaks as needed, and don’t take anything personally. Constructive feedback can only help you and your culture, my friends.
7. Get People Engaged With Remote Activities
Keeping employees engaged can be a hurdle. Throw remote work into the mix? Phew. But, keeping employees engaged is a must if you want to build and keep your company culture in a remote world.
Before we get into how you can keep your remote co-workers engaged, let’s get into why you should. Employee engagement:
- Boosts productivity (companies with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable)
- Builds better work and customer relationships
- Reduces absenteeism (highly engaged workplaces saw 41% lower absenteeism)
- Helps you retain top talent
Now onto the fun part: How to keep your remote employees engaged and satisfied. When it comes to remote activities, the world is your oyster. You can host a virtual lunch or coffee break, watch a movie as a team via Zoom, or have a virtual company event. Don’t be afraid to get creative and show your team that even from afar, they can engage and connect with each other.
8. Set Up A Mentoring Program
When it comes to remote work, new hires may find it difficult to connect with their team via Zoom, phone call, etc. To help grow leaders at your business and create a solid company culture, consider setting up a mentoring program.
Creating a mentoring program can help ease new employees into your company, build trust, and make them feel like they’re truly part of the team.
Give each new hire a mentor (aka a fellow co-worker) from day one. That way, they can have someone to go to for questions and show them the ropes.
Mentoring your team, along with taking other courses of action (like tips 1-7), can help ensure your remote team thrives in their at-home environment and create a strong and tight-knit company culture.