Key Ingredients for a Robust Remote Culture
We are in the midst of a big transition in business culture. For the first time in history working from home is becoming the norm in many industries. This means taking a new look at company culture.
But how do you develop an inclusive culture when people can’t gather in a meeting room or meet up in person?
It takes an intentional approach that combines a variety of ingredients. Blending these components together creates the foundation for a positive and productive remote culture.
Here are the key ingredients to building this foundation:
Develop an environment of support and trust: It is essential that you communicate that you support your remote workers. Developing policies that are responsive to the remote environment is a big part of this. For example, include policies that outline communication expectations and data security. Communicating that you trust that your employees will get the job done entails focusing on results rather than spending a lot of energy monitoring the minutes they spend online.
Connect employees to your company’s values, vision and mission: Understanding what is important to the organization and outlining how an employee’s work connects to this, will help employees feel invested in the organization.
Help employees “see” the entire organization. When employees work remotely, it can be difficult for them to truly understand the organizational structure. You can give them a more holistic view through cross training, virtual shadowing and introducing new hires to all departments.
Provide the right tools: High quality, flexible technology is essential in a remote environment. Take time to choose a digital workplace platform where teams can collaborate, communicate and accomplish work within a unified virtual space.
Clearly define remote work policies: This is especially critical in hybrid environments. The word hybrid is thrown around right now and can mean a lot of different things. (We previously discussed different hybrid models). Because there can be different interpretations, you need to be as specific as possible. Detail how much control employees have over their work hours and any requirements for in person meetings. In situations where some employees will be offered remote work and others will not, it is essential to provide the rationale for this difference.
Focus on building connection and providing support: While remote work has a lot of advantages, it can also be an isolating experience resulting in teams becoming siloed. Providing a variety of opportunities for teams to meet virtually, checking in throughout the day and detailing how they get help when they need it, lets your staff feel connected to one another and to you. When you do meet with your team, focus not only on the work that needs to get done, but with providing employees opportunities for growth.
Be responsive to feedback: When people are in the office, you can get a sense of how things are working through office chit chat, body language during meetings or direct feedback. This is harder to assess in a remote culture. Develop methods to find out how your employees are feeling. Making changes based on the feedback will result in your employees feeling heard and respected.
Writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr is credited with coining the phrase, “The more things change the more they stay the same.” This phrase can aptly be applied as we work to develop best practices in remote culture development.
What is the same? Like building any productive organizational culture, adopting an intentional approach that prioritizes the employee experience allows both staff and the organization to thrive.
What is different? New tools and some out of the box thinking are required to develop policies and procedures that will nurture an inclusive and engaging remote culture.
So what are some of these new tools? Check out the last in this series for specific activities that you can add to your managerial toolbox.