By now, most companies have figured out the nuts and bolts of coordinating remote teams successfully. As the pandemic wears on and remote work continues to be necessary (or even preferred!), a key goal of employers should be maintaining their company culture. The importance of company culture extends beyond providing team building activities, sponsoring company events and hosting celebrations – although they do help. To create a positive remote workplace culture, employers need to establish a virtual environment in which team members will feel comfortable and protected. Employees want to feel that their entire team is working hard and that their voices are heard; with a little fun mixed in here and there.
Company culture is defined by the values, attitudes, and goals that guide an organization. A strong culture attracts bright, passionate people and increases employee engagement and productivity. Organizations that build and maintain a company culture that reflects their workforce now will have a more solid foundation when we move to the other side of the pandemic and beyond.
Here are some steps that you can take to preserve company culture and keep your remote team happy and successful:
Develop and Focus on the Culture You Want to Create
Workplace cultures will develop whether you pay attention to it or not. In fact, you likely have a culture now, even if you don’t know it. To ensure that you are developing a company culture that embodies your team’s shared goals, actively discuss your culture among senior leadership, managers and employees. If you like your current company culture, find ways to reinforce it in a remote environment. Core company values including diversity and fearlessness should permeate regardless of location. Take time to examine your organization and ensure that the current culture matches the culture you want to have within your teams. If there are any differences, create a plan or program to help bridge that gap. I was drawn to Fearey because of the dedication to company culture and the belief that every team member plays a role in creating and cultivating the future culture.
Trust Your Teams
Employees who are treated with trust and respect will likely rise to the occasion. Instead of over-monitoring your remote employees, which can be detrimental to their motivation and productivity, find alternatives for your teams to share their workload. Project management systems like Notion, which is used by Fearey, allow individuals to share their current tasks list and work towards shared goals. This system offers a balance of transparency into workloads but allows individuals to prioritize based on their daily schedule and tasks.
A company with engaged employees is constantly communicating with its team. While your staff may not be under one roof anymore, there are many ways to stay in contact and share ideas through chat and video apps, message boards and collaborative platforms like Google Docs or SharePoint. As a manager, be sure to regularly schedule video meetings to keep your team connected not only for productivity, but to foster relationships integral to company culture. Additionally, implementing tools such as Slack or Microsoft Teams can allow your group to interact without having to attend multiple video meetings. At Fearey, our team relies on Slack to stay in close communication to best support our clients and teams. We have created discussion groups for activities and topics outside of work such as sharing recipes or posting photos of pets, which allows team members to relate on shared interests.
Promote the Positives of Employee Work-Life Balance
In a remote workforce setting, attention to your employees’ work-life balance can deepen your organizational culture of caring. Encourage your team to take their well-deserved time off by leading by example and having leadership their time off and promote the importance of creating a healthy work-life balance. Our shared time off calendar clearly shows when team members will be out of the office which not only normalizes taking a break from work but allows teams to connect prior to any time away to set everyone up for success.
Take time to appreciate what has been accomplished and share these wins with other groups that may not have daily insights into each team’s efforts. Whether it’s a shoutout on Slack or a personalized email, Fearey teams regularly thank each other for their hard work by celebrating wins large and small. Words of encouragement, emojis and memes are all used to draw attention to these moments of success. These actions go a long way to keep your remote workforce grounded in company culture no matter their location – appreciation knows no bounds.
Encourage an Open Environment
An open culture empowers employees, at every level, to contribute their ideas and suggestions with leadership. This not only creates an open flow of constructive feedback that will benefit operations, but it will also establish a space where your opinion is valued and respected. Every Monday staff meeting at Fearey is an opportunity to ask questions or share your thoughts on a topic impacting the agency. Make sure your company has strategies to deal with this kind of feedback, addressing any issues as they arise.
Support Employee Mental Health and Wellness
You might expect that working from home would encourage positive habits. After all, without the time spent commuting, we should have more opportunities to go for a walk, connect with friends and family and make a healthy meal. While some of us have thrived during a pandemic, others have struggled. This balance looks different for every member of our team from taking a break to walk the dog during lunch to disconnecting from Slack and email at the end of the day to reset. If you notice that someone is struggling, take the time to reach out and connect them with any support services.
While creating a strong company culture in a remote space takes effort, as it would in-person, the benefits of this new model have come into focus. it opens the door to hiring from broader talent pools, reducing real estate costs and operating more efficiently overall. As we’ve seen in the news, a number of high-profile organizations have announced they may never return to an office centric culture. Your company culture should evolve over time with your organization, so encourage your employees to help build a culture that allows everyone to bring their best self to work.
Interested in becoming a part of Fearey’s company culture? Check out the positions that we’re hiring for!