Is your company’s remote work culture ready for the future of work?
As remote work becomes increasingly common, organizations must adapt their culture to accommodate the changing landscape. Finding intelligent solutions to harmonize company culture across diverse and multi-location teams is essential.
With employees working from their home office, co-working spaces, or cafes, remote teams are spread out, lacking physical face-to-face connections. To effectively build a strong remote work culture, managers and team leaders must navigate the challenge of establishing efficient and clear communication across their dispersed staff.
While offering flexible remote working hours and the ability to work from anywhere is a start, it’s not enough to foster a positive and engaging remote work culture. Developing and nurturing such a culture is crucial to keep employees engaged, happy, and motivated.
Remote work culture shares similarities with traditional organizational culture, but it also presents unique challenges due to spatial separation and the absence of in-person interactions.
For us, that raises an essential question: How can we leverage technology to bridge the gap between traditional company culture and remote work culture?
In this article, we highlight the best practices to help your organization optimize its remote work culture. We’ll share insightful ideas and practical tips for addressing the challenges faced in remote workplaces to help prepare your company for the future of work. You’ll learn how to build culture while working remotely and create a thriving digital workplace that propels your organization forward.
Unique Challenges When Creating a Remote Work Culture
Company culture extends across the entire organization, from in-office teams, to field workers, to remote employees. It shapes the behaviors, principles, and values of how managers and employees perform their work.
When looking specifically at remote workers, organizations face specific challenges in nurturing and sustaining a positive company culture. When people are dispersed across geographical areas, getting everyone committed to a common culture requires unique strategies.
Some businesses may feel that their current attitude and strategy toward their culture is sufficient. But the truth is, ignoring the importance of remote work culture can have devastating impacts on your business. Many employees – especially younger workers – prioritize work culture over salary.
In a workplace landscape which is increasingly digital and remote, ensuring a strong remote culture is, therefore, paramount to boost employee engagement and employee retention.
inding the Fun for Remote Work
Without physical social interaction, remote workers may feel isolated. Their days can feel long and even monotonous, glued to their seats without those spontaneous physical encounters and conversations.
Injecting fun into remote work is an important aspect to build a strong remote work culture. In-office and field teams naturally benefit from social interaction. It happens spontaneously and consistently throughout the work week. For remote teams, employees need to plan dedicated time for digital socializing.
There are many ways to incorporate fun throughout the remote work day. Casual catch-ups and video calls with colleagues can build connections and increase happiness. Team lunches or after work digital drinks can also inject some levity into the day.
Digital workplace platforms offer even more options to brighten the day. Employee social media can provide a platform for your staff to share their experiences, common interests, or just a funny article or meme.
Nurture Employee Engagement and Employee Experience
How does remote work affect employee engagement and the employee experience? Well, the employee experience is the sum of all interactions a person has as a result of their job. Employee engagement is the level to which the employee feels connected.
Most interactions for remote workers are digital – so organizations must leverage technology to maximize both the employee experience and employee engagement.
Creating a remote work culture that puts the employee first will ensure that your staff are happy and motivated.
Harnessing Best-in-Class Workplace Tech
Remote staff rely on technology to do their jobs. It’s absolutely crucial that they are provided with functional, best-in-class tech that helps them excel at their roles.
Remote staff don’t have the luxury of an in-person IT team. The last thing you want is your staff to be frustrated, spending time troubleshooting bugs or on standby with a locked-out device.
Ensuring high-quality, intuitive employee platforms will give your employees the flexibility and freedom to optimize their remote workspace.
Fostering Digital Communities
In addition to leveraging technology, team leaders have the power to enhance remote employee engagement by cultivating positive digital workplace communities. Building genuine team bonds in the absence of an office space with daily water cooler chats, small talk, and in-person lunches requires the establishment of rituals that are integral to remote work life.
Consider scheduling regular virtual meetings throughout the week to discuss both work-related and casual topics. These meetings provide an opportunity for remote employees to connect on a personal level. On top of this, encouraging routine posts on the intranet can help engagement by showcasing outstanding efforts from individuals or teams. Sharing relevant articles or videos and organizing fun surveys or quizzes can also contribute to a buzzing digital community.
Apart from rituals, scheduling digital group training sessions is an excellent method to boost engagement and enhance the employee experience. An employee experience platform equipped with training modules can facilitate this seamlessly. To add an element of fun and encourage collaboration, consider incorporating gamification that promotes teamwork and motivates employees to complete the modules together.
By actively promoting rituals and organizing digital training sessions, business leaders can create a cohesive and engaging remote environment that fuels collaboration, learning, and a sense of belonging among employees.
How to Manage Effectively in a Remote Work Environment
Over the past few years, many leaders have had to drastically reevaluate their management styles. Traditional in-office management differs significantly from that of remote or hybrid work teams. Remote employees are out of sight, which demands a much higher level of trust from team leaders.
Remote work often comes with much greater flexibility with respect to working hours, as well. For managers, it’s important to understand your staffs’ time schedules. Especially when dealing with various geographic regions and time zones, different members of the team may be online at different times of the day.
In our recent guide, we shared five great tips for managing a mobile workforce. When it comes to really managing to establish a strong remote workplace culture, leaders should:
- Stay in touch with your teams – digitally and in-person: let your remote employees know you are there to support them.
- Encourage collaboration for remote and front-line teams: if possible, schedule in-person training sessions or workshops to bring together the entire team. If that’s not possible, virtual meetings and digital team building workshops are also a great way to foster collaboration.
- Don’t micromanage: giving your staff their due responsibility and autonomy will build trust and accountability with remote workers.
- Align with HR managers and leadership: make sure that your specific management style is in line with the overall company values and direction.
- Embrace mobile and remote workforce tech: connect remote employees with a best-in-class employee platform so they can have the freedom and flexibility to excel at their job when and where they want.
How to Overcome Challenges as a Remote Team
There are a few common challenges faced by remote teams across all industries. One of the most frequent hurdles is communication barriers.
Without the luxury of face to face interactions, miscommunication can easily creep in with remote teams. But with the right strategy, there are ways to overcome this challenge.
First of all, it’s crucial to establish clear channels of communication. Digital workplace technology provides organizations with a range of intuitive, efficient, and robust solutions. From video and instant messaging services like Microsoft Teams, to employee intranets, and employee experience platforms, communication can be streamlined and easy to access for all employees.
On a team-level, regularly scheduled meetings and check-ins can help ensure everyone is on the same page and provide an opportunity to address any concerns in real-time. If there are any issues within the team, video chat – whether one-on-one or in a group – can be the most efficient way to get to the bottom of a problem.
Collaboration and Teamwork
One massive positive about remote work is the range of comprehensive digital employee platforms available. It’s easier than ever to collaborate from anywhere, on any device.
Building a culture of collaboration and teamwork is a key aspect of remote team success. When team members are physically scattered, it’s important to create a sense of unity and shared purpose. Encouraging open and transparent communication is essential, as it allows team members to freely share ideas and concerns.
Digitally collaborating with modern workplace tools offers unique solutions that can make virtual meetings even more productive than in-person meetings. Editing live documents together, screen sharing, and using digital whiteboards can all provide a rich and engaging meeting experience. And another bonus of digital collaboration is that meetings can be recorded and transcribed, capturing important details that anyone can review.
How to Measure the Success of Remote Culture
The most effective way to measure remote work culture is to use surveys and pulse checks. These tools can help gather feedback and assess various aspects of remote work such as communication, collaboration, work-life balance, and mental health.
Conducting employee surveys periodically can give valuable insight into the employee experience and the current state of remote work culture. For more immediate and real-time data, employee pulse surveys are an amazing tool. These targeted and frequent surveys measure overall engagement, satisfaction, and employee morale within the organization in real-time.
By integrating employee surveys and pulse surveys into an employee platform, organizations can securely store and index the results, generating a wealth of actionable data. This data serves as a foundation for making informed decisions and continuously improving the remote work culture.
Tips for Building a Strong Digital Culture
Building a remote work culture takes dedication from management and HR leaders. Establishing a remote work culture that puts the employee first and promotes employee engagement will lead to a motivated and satisfied staff.
Along with the advice outlined in this guide, we wanted to share a few actionable culture ideas for remote work. Any organization can nurture a positive remote work culture by:
- Offering outstanding remote work benefits: workers value flexibility, autonomy, and work-life balance. They also require the right technology to seamlessly do their jobs.
- Encouraging facetime and video: always turning the camera on during team calls and meetings will help maintain connectedness among team members. Although body language and certain social cues are still difficult to read through video, with everyone’s cameras turned on, all attendees will feel more connected and engaged.
- Using the company intranet and employee social media channels: employees can share aspects of their lives (personal or professional) on internal social media channels. Sharing posts, news articles, or even their daily Wordle scores can create genuine bonds across teams and remote workers.
- Harnessing the power of employee pulse surveys: keep your finger on the pulse of your organization by collecting real-time feedback from your remote workers.
As the world of remote work continues to evolve, leaders will need to adopt an agile management philosophy. Maintaining a positive remote work culture over time requires a specific strategy combined with the intelligent use of workplace technology and digital communication tools.
Future Proof Remote Work Culture
Have we convinced you that spending the resources to create a strong remote work culture is essential for the future of work?
It’s a challenging period for organizations who are navigating the monumental shift to the digital workplace, or figuring out the complexities of a hybrid model. Balancing traditional organizational culture with a new breed of online work is no easy task.
By harnessing the power of digital workplace technology, any business can rest assured their employees are being given the right tools to be motivated and succeed. And when your remote employees are happy and engaged, a strong digital work culture has the best chance to be successful and sustained.
See how an employee app keeps your teams connected, engaged, and in the know. Learn more at iTacit.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you build a strong remote work culture?
Remote work culture starts with establishing streamlined and transparent communication channels. Efficient communication through software such as an employee platform, digital workplace communication tools, or an employee app are great tools to optimize communication.
These tools are essential for a productive digital workplace. Remote workers rely on technology to perform their tasks. Making sure that their digital workspace is streamlined, intuitive, and bug-free will give them the tools necessary to enjoy and excel at their jobs.
Technology, combined with the tips outlined in our guide, will get your organization started on your path to establishing a strong remote work culture.
What does an amazing remote work culture feel like?
The best remote work cultures should feel like a community. Even though your coworkers and teams may be spread around the city, country, or even the world – you should feel genuinely connected. By encouraging collaboration across remote teams, workers should have clear and open communication channels with their colleagues and managers.
Remote work culture can feel just as genuine as traditional in-person organizational culture. It just takes the right mix of technology, collaboration, communication, and a little hard work to ensure an engaging and productive environment.
What are the top three things that leaders can do to create good remote culture?
We’ve outlined many great practical tips for leaders to develop a strong remote work culture. To highlight the top three things you can do to get really make a direct impact, you should:
- Foster a digital environment of open communication: Encourage honest and transparent communication through digital channels that will help establish a culture of trust and transparency.
- Prioritize employee well-being: Always be there for your remote teams and colleagues and support their mental and physical well-being.
- Promote collaboration and team activities: Create opportunities for remote team members to have regular contact, collaborate, bond, and engage in virtual team-building activities.