Every company has a company culture. The emergence of remote work arrangements has had a range of impacts on company culture, how workforces communicate and overall employee engagement. As our global workforce makes a definite shift towards the accepted, and in some instances expected, model that includes varying degrees of remote and flexible work arrangements, the challenge for employers deepens to develop an appealing and engaging company culture.

A good starting point for businesses is to understand if and why they are taking on a flexible or remote workforce.

 

Some of the primary reasons that companies across the globe have embraced remote workforces include:

• Expanding on the available talent pool
• Helping to improve employee satisfaction
• Improving employee retention rates
• Improving productivity
• Saving employees in travel time and the expense
• Saving employers costs such as office space and facilities

Technology has unquestionably been the enabler of our increasing flexible and remote workforce. With the influx of high-performance portable devices and improving internet networks, coupled with evolving technology platforms that allow teams to check-in, share, collaborate and submit work from any location has meant many roles can now be more flexible.

The management of people working remotely will also rely on technology to deliver solutions. But it is people, with a great plan, communication skills and the ability to measure outcomes that will ultimately make the remote work culture work.

Building a strong company culture that can be maintained via the remote work environment is essential, as the expectation is not likely to be changing in the foreseeable future. Consider how much employees expectations have changed in recent years around what, why and when they work:

Then Now
Work Hours 9am – 5pm Anytime
Workplace The Office Anywhere
Tenure Whole Career Whatever
Employer Good Boss Great Colleagues
Purpose Retirement Fulfilment

 

Some essential steps in creating and then maintaining a remote corporate culture include:

1. Corporate Values.
Develop your Corporate Values and then clearly communicate these values with your whole team. Make your values available for your team to refer to at any time.

2. Corporate Culture.
Work out what you want your Corporate Culture to be. Develop your Company Culture Code. This will reflect who you are as a company and also what you aspire to be as a company. Once this is clear, document it, share it, talk about it and live it. Remind your team often and publicly.

3. Make Your Welcomes Public.
When a new employee joins the company welcome them publicly in front of the whole team. Be clear to your team who this person is, what role they are doing for the business and encourage welcoming them to the team. Also praise your team publicly, when and where it is appropriate. If someone has a big win, share this with your whole company.

4. Transparency.
It is easy for people to slip into operating as an island when they are working remotely. Encourage as part of the Company Culture and the management teams style that communication is open and transparent.

5. Technology Platforms.
Research, set up and then monitor the key communication platforms to suit your team and the roles that are performed remotely. It is also important to develop the expectations around what each platform is used for and what is an acceptable standard of behaviour within each environment.

6. Develop A Social Environment and Regular Catch Up Program
Being able to socially engage in the work-place is one of the foundations for creating a sense of affinity with a business. It is beneficial to set-up this casual environment online where people can gather and chat about things that they may have in common outside of the workplace. By having this environment company driven, you are also able to establish sensible ground rules such as the use of offensive language, inappropriate humour and an expectation of respect amongst colleagues.

7. Communicate Regularly.
Communicate with everyone on the team clearly and regularly. Communication will form the foundation for either success or failure for any remote team. Ensuring you get this right is essential.

8. Clear Roles.
Be clear about each team member’s role and communication the expectations around performance clearly.

9. Measure Engagement as well as Performance.
Put in place processes to measure each of your employees’ performance, based on their individual role. More regularly, check-in on their engagement levels. Weekly or monthly surveys can be invaluable in establishing personal happiness indicators such as their general mood, feelings of isolation, the expectation around receiving suitable support, or a possible lack of communication.