Your culture is how your employees and customers see, engage with, and work with you. And this culture trickles down to every communication and experience.
Remote work culture does just that, albeit in a remote scenario. You would have to help your leaders enforce a remote work culture. You would have to enforce it because a culture, even a remote one, doesn’t get created by accident; it has to be intentional.
However, with organizations shifting to remote working, the older practices for building organizational culture wouldn’t be as effective. So, here are a few methods using which you can create an excellent remote work culture:
Tell your team what remote work means for your organization and team. Communicate how they are expected to interact and when.
Tell them exactly what remote working means to you: whether or not they're expected to stay active for defined hours, whether or not they have to complete certain hours every day, and whether they'll be expected to travel to the office periodically. You must also include this information in your job descriptions so applicants know what they are signing up for.
This would also help you as some may self-select them out, and you wouldn't have to screen and make efforts to recruit them.
Furthermore, it is important that everyone in the team understands company values and vision. Leaders must continue to emphasize them because people feel a sense of connection to the mission they are working towards.
Your leaders are responsible for setting examples. For instance, if your leaders expect the team to stay online for defined hours, they should remain online, too.
If leaders don't follow through on what they expect, team members will feel unmotivated and discouraged to do so.
Moreover, building remote work culture also means translating company values into an online environment. If, for example, one of your values is transparency, you need to set an example of how to introduce transparency in your remote work culture. This could be in the form of daily stand-ups, weekly organizational or department meetings, company town halls, etc. How you're setting examples for your team directly impacts how your team takes them forward.
Hailley Griffis, a leader at Buffer, believes a healthy remote culture is simply one that your employees like and respond to.
Understand what your team is responding to, ask them whether they've been enjoying working a particular way, and try to gauge whether your teammates encourage each other to work cohesively.
There isn't a one-size-fits-all when it comes to remote work culture; it has to be tailored to you and your needs. This involves taking active feedback and understanding how to introduce changes for things that aren't working for you.
A good working culture includes certain rituals, too. This helps in keeping everyone working collaboratively.
For instance, you can establish daily sunrise and sunset stand-ups to know the day-to-day updates on running projects. You can also schedule a weekly or bi-weekly meeting with each team member to understand where they are headed or if they are anticipating any hiccups in the future. Establishing the agenda of each ritual beforehand would keep the communication streamlined and to the point.
No matter how mechanical it may sound to 'schedule' fun, it is important to do so. This would help you establish a sense of camaraderie within your team.
You can do so by conducting periodical award ceremonies and creating celebratory moments. You can even hold certain cultural events online, like gaming or trivia. Even though you cannot force everyone to participate in those events, you'd let your employees know that it is okay to take time to unwind.
Moreover, while working remotely, the line between working hours and personal hours can blur. So, establishing these 'fun' hours would also help your employees feel at ease during work hours.