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Remote Culture 6 min read
Written by Dallin Porter
Communications Manager @ Galactic Fed
Expert reviewed by Ayesha Renyard
Content Writer @ Galactic Fed
Published 09 Mar 2022
Remote work has become one of the most sought-out work environments for professionals worldwide. And post-pandemic, roughly a quarter of the advanced workforce could work from home between three and five days per week, according to McKinsey.
The ability to create and maintain a remote company culture comes with its own set of unique challenges that can make the unprepared leader’s head spin. Creating this remote culture is not only doable; it may soon become the default. Here are some key strategies to implement into your remote culture to ensure you can keep up and keep growing.
In a traditional work setting, culture may have more time to evolve organically, but for remote work, culture is a result of intention that’s incorporated at every level of a business. When it comes to onboarding and the first few weeks of hiring a new team member, setting the foundation of what they can expect is key. At my company, we use the following strategies to ensure our team can feel comfortable and involved from day one:
With every new hire, we assign an “onboarding buddy” who can help them with questions about their role, specific processes or the company in general. Having a go-to team member who isn’t their manager both relieves pressure and provides them with a friend right from the start.
Setting expectations and over-communication are two factors in defining company culture from the beginning. It’s common to have a two-week or one-month plan, but the more specific you can get, the better. In addition to mapping out what the first few weeks will look like, include milestones you expect them to achieve, documents to review and people to connect with (more on that below). A scorecard will also provide expected metrics or key performance indicators by which their success will be measured. Of course, this should all be reviewed with a manager to allow for any questions or clarifications.
This is an effective way to close that gap among colleagues, especially if your team is working across different continents or time zones. As part of the onboarding process, have new team members schedule introductory calls with those they will be working with or stakeholders from other departments. At my company, we have the additional instruction to make this call about anything other than work, giving a chance for people to connect over interests and hobbies. This also immediately sets the expectation that our culture is interested in our staff, not just as employees but also as people.
Traditionally, a sense of community and culture was achieved through tactics like team lunches, offsite retreats or office parties. While these strategies serve a purpose, they need to be adapted to the remote work setting.
Remember that remote work is an asset and can be used for valuable connection with your staff; it just may require some creativity. As mentioned, meaningful connection is most often fostered when the staff learns more than just their colleagues’ titles. What do they do outside of work? What is their family life like? What niche hobbies are they interested in?
Consider running company-wide competitions, such as photo contests or walk-a-thons, that engage staff and allow them to connect with people they might not otherwise. A few other engaging ideas you could try today are:
Have team members submit three fun facts about themselves (the more obscure, the better), and everyone can take turns guessing who’s who. This is a fantastic way to learn a lot about every person on your team and leads to some really interesting and surprising conversations.
Since so many remote workplaces rely on written communication, create channels for your team members to discuss shared interests. Just a few that we have are pets, music, fitness, parenting, books and food. You can foster many mini-communities in your workplace that will be the backbone of your culture.
Because defining a distinct company culture is new territory for many companies, there are some common mistakes. Here are some helpful do’s and don’ts:
Although this may seem counterintuitive to building a great culture, don’t force team members to join or participate in “extra-curricular” activities. The best company culture is the one that forms organically, and when you set up the proper infrastructure, it will happen on its own.
The best corporate culture is consistent and shows itself at every level of the organization. While it may take extra planning and work, ensure that you’re regularly providing these opportunities and ritualizing your remote culture.
Thinking beyond traditional office ideas is extremely important when creating your remote culture. Don’t just schedule a “virtual happy hour” with no schedule or agenda and expect it to be a place where team members will thrive and connect.
As with anything related to your company’s culture, ask for feedback often and adjust regularly. Remember that it’s your employees who set the tone for your company culture, and listening to their ideas and then implementing them is what will turn staff into true brand ambassadors.
With so much of the global workforce making the transition to remote work, the need for strategic yet tangible practices that allow for culture is more important than ever. Incorporating these best practices into your own remote company will not only create a thriving business but will be a key factor in your growth.
Communications Manager @ Galactic Fed