How to Keep Company Culture Strong When Employees Work Remotely
So your office is no longer filled to capacity, thanks to the modern age of technology and the ability to work remote. Don’t worry. You can still have a strong organizational culture even when some, half, or even all of your team is working from home. After all, the terms “community” and “culture” are no longer proximity-based—they’re people-based. You don’t have to be geographically close to someone to consider them an important member of your community. Keeping your company culture strong when your employees work remotely is not as difficult as it may seem. Here are some tips that will help you do just that.
Change Your Mindset
Stop thinking teamwork is something that only takes place in a single setting. Teamwork can occur all over the globe thanks to video conferencing, email, and forms of technology that allow people to engage in full communication regardless of their location. When you are able to relinquish the traditional ways of thinking about communities, teams, and cultures, you’ll open yourself up to a whole new process of effective collaboration.
Keep Everyone Connected
Even when your employees are working on entirely different projects, there’s no reason they cannot connect regularly. Communication can be formal or informal, and may or may not be directly work-related. If you want to make sure your staff continues to bond with one another even though they aren’t in the same place, you can try using virtual get-to-know-you games. For example, when staff log in each day at Zappos, the face of a fellow employee will appear on the screen. The user must guess the name of the employee, and if they guess correctly, they can read their entire profile. Called The Face Game, this exercise “is an example of using software code to reinforce cultural values in individual workflow.” It’s also “an example of ‘gamification’ at work that actually works.” These types of activities can help build long-lasting rapport among remote workers, and, in the process, keep your company culture thriving.
Disseminate Core Values
You know those mission, vision, and value statements your company developed or updated not so long ago? (If your answer is no, it’s time to get on it!) Just because your employees are working remotely does not mean they cannot benefit from being reminded of the principles your organization is based on. You can solidify your organization’s culture by sending out memos to your employees—remote and otherwise—that reiterate your mission, vision, and values. That way they won’t lose sight of what makes your company special, and they’ll be more likely to remain on the right path when it comes to achieving the goals you want them to reach. If you so desire, you can even quiz them on these principles just to make sure they’re paying attention.
It can be easy for enthusiasm to die down when employees aren’t directly feeding off the energy of others. But that doesn’t mean a passion shortage is inevitable. You can keep your remote employees excited and engaged in pretty much the same way you keep your on-site employees revved up—through rewards, kudos, pep talks, bonuses, and above all, challenging work.
As long as you never lose sight of the fact that your off-site employees have the same needs and desires as those you pass in the hallways every day, you can make your company culture stronger than ever. Instead of fostering the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality, make a concerted effort to ensure all your employees are able to bond, build rapport, participate, be challenged, and receive rewards for their efforts. As long as you follow the advice given here, your company culture should remain healthy and dynamic, no matter how many members of your staff are physically present.