Just because your company works remotely doesn’t mean you can’t have a positive remote work culture. You just have to be more deliberate about it. Let’s find out more.
Let’s be honest. It was a lot easier to shape culture when everyone was in the office five days a week. Companies could design how they wanted a culture to be, while employees had enough face-to-face connections that they could iterate and improve on it.
The benefits of getting culture right are game-changing. Companies with positive cultures experience:
● More employee engagement
● Less staff churn
● Better brand perception and more
So, how can you create, maintain and improve company and team culture when you and your team are spread out across the city (or world)?
Every time you make a decision in your business you should be asking how it affects your culture. Here are five tips for creating a culture of success in your remote business.
1 – Create a remote-first culture
If you want to be a remote-first company (and there are so many advantages to being one), be deliberate about creating a remote-first culture. You won’t be able to replicate your office culture - whether you’re formal and serious or more pizza and ping-pong – so don’t try. Instead, look at going remote as your opportunity to create something new - and better.
Remember, remote-first is what it says it is. It doesn’t mean 'remote tolerant' or 'remotely grudgingly allowing'. Some companies label themselves as remote-first to attract talent, but in reality, they’re not. They say they’re remote, but still want people to live around the company location so they can come into the office once or twice a week.
That’s not remote first. Don’t be like them.
2 – Communication is everything
What you say and how you say it is probably the most critical factor in being a successful remote leader.
When it comes to culture, you need to think about how you will communicate the big picture to your remote workers; your vision, values and purpose. Help them understand why they do what they do, in the way they do it. Show them how the changes they’re experiencing will benefit them.
After that, it’s about communication of tactics.
3 – Trust more
Trust is key to an effective remote leader. If you can’t trust your people to work well remotely, you’ll drive yourself to distraction and push your people away.
Why not try to create a culture where you empower your people to perform at their best because you allow them to with confidence? By all means, set expectations and boundaries, but give them the chance to stand out because they believe in your vision and values.
4 – Set the tone
Rather than being a drag on your remote-first culture, you have the opportunity as a leader to set the tone and direct the culture how you want it.
If you want your culture to be inclusive, supportive and welcoming to new members, model those behaviours yourself. Be human and vulnerable; open up now and again about what’s going on in your life. After all, you’re interacting from your home, beaming yourself into the homes of your team members. Send out the signal that it’s okay to be more relaxed.
5 – Help your staff evolve culture their way
When you all worked together in the office, you found ways to be social and let off steam. These ‘human’ moments helped move your culture in your employees’ direction, even if only in a small way. Of course, lots of small moments eventually snowball into bigger shifts.
When a team no longer has those bonds, performance eventually goes down. So, you must try to help your team replicate the social aspect of the office, even when they’re not together face-to-face.
For example, create a Slack channel where your team can talk about anything except work, like a recreation of the water cooler or the coffee machine. Or create a Virtual Workspace in Wonder with dedicated areas for informal catchups. From small beginnings, your people can develop a culture they actually want.
Who better to end this article than Jason Morwick, Head of Remote at Cactus Communications? As he told us on the Leading Remotely podcast:
‘If you were going into a meeting room or a conference room and you were the first to arrive and people funnel in behind you, what would you do? You would greet them. You would talk to them about the weather, their commute, whatever it is, everything but work until the meeting starts.
Well, you can do the same thing in a remote setting. It just has to be a little bit more intentional. Reserve that time for people to talk and get to know one another. If people don't know each other, focus some time on introducing people, getting them to know other people within the team.’
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