Don't Let Remote Work Rot Your Company Culture
You've worked hard to cultivate a certain work environment. But has going remote ruined it?
If your company is anything like ours, you've decided to make the shift to remote work permanent.
Once the pandemic hit, we all figured working from home would be a temporary solution. However, as time passed and the ups and downs kept coming, we found that our team hit a groove in which they started really appreciating the remote work lifestyle. And we weren't alone. 94% of employers say that since working remotely, work productivity is the same or higher.
The only issue, however, is the toll that remote work can take on your company culture. And when you've worked hard to establish a specific culture and environment, remote work could be a huge detriment.
But it doesn't have to be. With all the technology afforded us, we can find ways to maintain and even strengthen the bonds we've worked so hard to build within the walls of our companies — even if those walls don't physically exist anymore.
Here are some ways you can ensure your company culture is still going strong despite your team working from different locations.
1. Find the right technology
Most companies are already invested in some sort of communication platform, whether or not they are remote. At Benchmark Email, we use Slack to keep our teams in over six regions aligned and ensure there's a quick and easy way for people to connect when needed. Slack works for us because if we need to quickly connect (and a typed message won't cut it), we can get into an audio huddle or call each other through the platform.
Slack is great for quick, work-related issues. However, when it comes to a remote social gathering, there are tons of other meeting tools you could find advantageous. Zoom or Go-To-Meeting can be great for getting a bunch of people together for a digital happy hour, lunch meeting, or a get-together focused on team bonding.
2. Create a culture budget and team
A culture budget not only reserves some resources dedicated to cultivating and growing your company culture, but can also serve as a reminder so company culture doesn't get neglected.
With a remote team, it can be easy for individuals to work within their own silos, focusing on their particular tasks at hand and then clocking out once they're done for the day. But with a group of people dedicated to your company culture efforts, you can be sure these efforts stay consistent.
It's essential that this doesn't turn into a "forced fun" situation. No one likes having culture events, so they can just check the box and say they did something to bring the remote team together. Make sure your company culture team takes the time to truly understand the type of virtual events and activities employees will enjoy engaging in otherwise your company culture can completely crumble.
3. Be generous
Don't let team members feel forgotten. Big or small, your company's remote team can feel isolated from time to time. While some people may not mind working more independently, others may feel that they're not an important asset to the company as a whole.
Keep track of important milestones, like birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. Use those as opportunities to gift your employees something special as a reminder that they matter and are truly valued. You can send them a gift card to their favorite restaurant, a book you think they'd enjoy reading, or a free class of their choice (pottery, anyone?).
4. Plan in-person get-togethers
Having a yearly company-wide party is always a nice way to get the team together, in one place, for a good time. It can be as simple as a dinner or, if your budget allows, you can rent out an event space and do it up big. Whatever aligns with the kind of culture you've worked to cultivate is what you should aim for.
It's important to consider if you have numerous teammates in the same region or area. If that's the case, you can arrange more frequent get-togethers for those regions, which can help create a sense of community for small groups within the company. Something we do is plan monthly lunch meetups for our team in St. Louis.
Just because your company has chosen to embrace the remote work structure doesn't mean your company culture will decay. You've worked hard to establish a strong company culture, and there are things you can do to ensure it stays strong and on track even though your team isn't in the same building. Use the tips above to invest in your remote culture so you can keep your employees happy, motivated, and loyal.
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