3 Steps to build an awesome remote company culture

If absence can make the heart grow fonder…can distance make the team grow stronger?

Running a thriving remote company requires a thriving remote team. But when your employees work from all over the world, building a strong, positive company culture can be challenging. Fostering a company culture involves bringing people together through common values and aspirations. And while remote-first companies may not have a physical space to come together, thankfully, today’s digital world allows remote teams to collaborate and connect with each other like never before.

With the right tools, practices and habits, you too can build a company culture that motivates, empowers, and unites your remote employees.

 

Why company culture is key

Remote-first companies will often have employees in all different locations and of all different nationalities. So, what really ties these employees together? What makes them a real ‘team’? Without a unifying force to tie them together, your employees may end up feeling distant and disconnected.

Company culture is this unifying force. 

While this still applies in a conventional office setting, company culture is even more important for remote workers to bridge the distances that separate them. It allows them to still feel like they’re a part of something together. Ultimately, workers who share and uphold your company culture are more likely to enjoy their work, be more productive, and stay on longer with your company.

Inevitably there will be sceptics who believe ‘company culture’ is a warm and fluffy concept conjured up by HR professionals.  However, the sheer number of research studies and reports available showcasing the strategic value of building a strong culture should be enough to make them pay more attention.


Let’s take a look at some data

Highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability - Findings from Galup clearly show that employee engagement actually leads to clearly identifiable changes in behaviour, not just an abstract feeling. Those companies who only see employee engagement as a measure of ‘feeling’ focus on feedback surveys and perks in the hope of improving results. However the truly successful companies make culture central to their business strategy, the findings conclude. They offer employees clear guidance, tools and support to do their best work and as a result they build stronger, more profitable teams.  Teams who scored in the top 20% in engagement found a 41% reduction in absenteeism and 58% less turnover. Engaged employees ‘show up’ every day with the drive and passion to perform. 

89% of HR leaders agree that ongoing peer feedback and check-ins are key for successful outcomes - A report on the importance of employee recognition finds clear and regular feedback to be critical. The report also highlights business critical importance of values-based recognition and suggests feedback and recognition should always tie back to a company’s core values and mission. Your workforce wants to be absolutely certain that their work has purpose and meaning. This is another reminder that employee engagement and the building of a strong company culture should not just be the responsibility of your HR department, but instead, be featured as a central part of overall business strategy.

 

So how do you build an awesome company culture when you have a remote first team? 

With the right tools, practices and habits, you too can build a company culture that motivates, empowers, and unites your remote employees.

Read on to discover 3 simple steps to get you there.

1. Over communicate

Successful teams require successful communication. But we all know the struggle of communicating online, with things getting lost in translation or response times being painfully slow. While email may currently be your primary method of communication, it isn’t necessarily the most efficient when it comes to collaboration and regular check-ins. 

Instant messaging tools have revolutionised remote teamwork. Apps such as Slack, Google Chat, Glip, and more provide a virtual office space to create a more personalised, creative, and synchronised way of communicating.

These tools can be used to create a communal space for both employee conversation and project management. Think of it as the perfect combination between the classic office ‘water cooler’ and a meeting room. 

Another must for any good remote team is video calling. Popular video conferencing programs include Zoom (our go-to at Teamed), Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, and Workplace from Facebook. Video conferences allow you to hold meetings in real-time, see your whole team in one place, and discuss projects efficiently and effectively.

To go the extra mile, you could even organise a regular, more casual meeting where your team can socialise and chat freely about things other than work. After all, we all know conversation helps build better bonds between employees, sharing in your company culture even across different regions, time zones and languages!

2. Practise, don’t preach

If your values are clear to you, then ensure that they’re also clear to your team. You can demonstrate these in a number of ways.

Ask yourself: what do I value within my business? 

If it’s work-life balance, for example, then do you offer flexibility for your employees? If it’s going above and beyond at work, then do you reward employees who do so accordingly? If it’s giving back to society, then do you have initiatives or partnerships in place to support any good causes? 

Your company perks and projects make for a clear, tangible reflection of your company culture. And because your employees are directly involved in these, this collective sense of identity and purpose means they will take pride and pleasure in working for you.

 

3. Guide & support

Management plays a fundamental role in developing and reinforcing your remote company culture. It all starts with your recruiting process. Keep an eye out for candidates that not only embody your values but also offer unique ideas and skills that will enrich your business with diversity and direction (towards your longer-term goals). This is the ultimate way to grow your team whilst also strengthening your existing culture. 

And it doesn’t end there. You’ll want to maintain your values and mission after hiring, too. As part of your onboarding process, newcomers should learn about what your company stands for and what they’re working towards. 

Equally important, here, is encouraging staff to bring their own ideas to the table. With remote teams, it’s even more important that everyone gets to participate and feel heard.

This is where your management team can do their part to be open. They should take the time to:

  1. actively check in with employees,
  2. ask for feedback, and 
  3. listen to and action suggestions where appropriate. 

Remember that the good-old open-door policy can still apply, even without a physical door!

 

Leading the way

The best part about being a remote-first company? The fact that you’re part of the future! Your conscious choice to operate remotely and build a virtual team already sets you apart and demonstrates forward-thinking values and practices. Ultimately, your values are already there – you just want to make them clear to your employees so that they can share in your vision, methods, and the perks that come with these. 

By taking things beyond the four walls of a standard office, your company enjoys access to talented workers and business opportunities all over the world!

With distance comes space – space for creativity, open-minded thinking, and opportunity. Thinking of seizing a new opportunity to strengthen your HR processes or hiring talent in a new region? Get in touch with our experts to see just how far you could take your business today.