United Yet Apart: Maintaining Company Culture Remotely
As discussed in last week’s blog, developing your corporate culture is an extremely important way to define your business. While another company may copy your product, they can’t duplicate the values, habits, and characteristics that make yours unique. However, as more businesses transition to remote working, maintaining that vibrant culture often gets lost in the shuffle.
While working from home comes with noted benefits (i.e. no commute, more time with family, wearing sweatpants to meetings), the drawbacks are largely associated with mental health. Employees can begin to feel isolated, disengaged, and unmotivated. All the human interactions, big or small, that came from working onsite have mostly vanished, leaving an emotional gap between the employee and company team. This is where company culture can come in. To put it in perspective, a Glassdoor survey conducted last June revealed that 56% of employees find a good workplace culture to be more important than salary. By reaching out to remote workers, you are strengthening your team, your brand, and your company as a whole.
Let it Grow
A thriving company culture can’t be forced, and it’s going to differ greatly from one business to another. However, all culture comes from connection. Think of some connections people make when they’re onsite. Did you have a morning check-in? Did the team go out for a drink on Fridays? Did someone always decorate coworkers’ desks on their birthdays? By providing an environment where connections can be made, company culture will grow organically. Tailor your connection opportunities to your corporate values and your culture will begin to flourish.
Make the Connection
Just because your team is spread out, doesn’t mean these previously onsite connections can’t happen. By keeping strong lines of communication open and encouraging your employees to share their thoughts, ideas, and stories, the company culture can live on. For instance:
- Schedule regular group calls as well as one-on-ones. Stay caught-up on how everyone is doing and encourage employees to share their experiences. Group calls are a great way to share positive customer reactions, peer to peer recognition, and other encouraging news.
- Provide the right technology. Many remote workers have had to rapidly convert part of their living space into their new office. Make sure they have all the tools they need by providing company devices, software, or apps to keep communication flowing.
- Talk about non-work things. Change your video-chat backgrounds and vote on who has the best one, share pet photos, talk about how to catch the next meteor shower, etc. Life extends beyond work, and all the little conversations people would have had onsite are still valuable. Again, think of your company’s values and apply them here.
- Host after-hours events. Break up the week with fun activities employees can tune into and blow off steam in. Try trivia, a virtual happy hour, paint night, yoga session, cooking class, or whatever suits your company best. Just make sure it has a solid end time so it doesn’t run too long!
- Send out a survey. Get honest (and anonymous) feedback on how employees feel. There are always questions people are afraid to ask in a group setting, so give your team a judgment-free way to express concern or ask a question.
Your company has undoubtedly made many changes this year, but your culture should stand like a pillar through it all. It’s the human element that is reflected in your brand, and with due attention, it can reach all employees no matter where they are.
By Aubrey Dion
Aubrey Dion is proud to be back working for the family business she grew up in. Over the years, she has performed a wide variety of jobs in both the office and factory, becoming a true "jack of all trades." Aubrey credits her quick learning ability to her strong theatre background, where memorization and attention to detail are vital. Working in the marketing department allows her to stay creative and work on exciting new projects for the company.