Managing people

How to maintain your company culture when working remotely

A strong company culture is the foundation for every organisation – it attracts and keeps talent, resulting in lower turnover, fewer new hires and an overall better team dynamic.

But how do you keep it alive when your team is working from home the majority of the time? We look at five practices for maintaining company culture remotely.

First and foremost, you’ll want to work on keeping constant and consistent team communication. It should be frequent to the point of it almost being too much.

Signing on for the day, heading off to lunch and asking for an ideas sounding board should all be communicated in a dedicated WFH channel, for example on Slack or Teamwork. However, keep notifications switched off so as not to disturb others if not necessary.

With natural everyday office chatter interrupted, taking the time to get to know new employees has never been more important. If a new employee were to start in an office, they’d likely be given a tour of the place, introduced to different departments and maybe even taken around to the local lunch spots.

While it is hard to replicate this kind of face-to-face interaction virtually, the key is to facilitate informal interactions in addition to formal introductions.

You can do this, for example, by playing a getting-to-know-you game in a virtual chat and adding them to any watercooler-type Slack channels. It can also be as simple as having a few minutes of personal chatter ahead or after virtual work meetings.

Company-wide initiatives are a way to keep employees connected and motivated. Midweek meditations, pet photo competitions and employee assistance programs, such as counselling, and access to wellbeing perks, are all easy initiatives to implement.

The idea is to create a sense of belonging for your employees, which then can translate to better productivity and, in the long term, your retention rate.

For many employees, remote working is still new. Many have likely spent a lot more time in an office environment throughout the course of their career, so remote working can be a big adjustment. For this reason it’s important to monitor the situation closely. Are your employees staying motivated? Are they fulfilled? Do they feel like they’re part of a team?

These are all questions to ask to help you determine when you need to make adjustments for the sake of their wellbeing.

Finally, don’t be afraid to lean into the benefits of remote working. Some companies had already adopted remote working practices before the pandemic – and for good reason. It can increase productivity, cut down time spent in unnecessary meetings, increase collaboration and expand the talent pool, and that’s just the start.

Understanding the positives of remote working can help both the company and its employees better appreciate the situation, which ideally should lead to an overall more positive work outlook.

Many companies have now seen that remote working works for them, so chances are it’s going grow in popularity in the future. But with company culture playing such a vital role in many businesses, it’s crucial not to let it slip.

Maintaining an open dialogue and embracing the change can help your business weather the transition.

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