The rise of remote work has been a major trend in the past decade, with more and more companies allowing their employees to work from home. According to recent research reported by Zippia, 26% of U.S. employees work remotely, which is expected to rise to 36.2 million by 2025. This is primarily due to technological advancements that have made it easier for teams to stay connected and collaborate.
However, while remote work offers many benefits, it also presents unique challenges when nurturing a solid company culture. In an office setting, employees can build relationships with each other through daily interactions and shared experiences.
When working remotely, these opportunities become limited and require extra effort to create an environment that encourages collaboration and innovation. Companies must make it a priority.
What is company culture?
Company culture refers to the values, beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes that shape the working environment in an organization. It’s the company’s personality, and it defines how employees and management interact with each other and clients. Company culture is a vital aspect of any organization, and it plays a significant role in determining the success or failure of a company.
Types of company culture
Every company has its unique culture that defines how work is done within the organization. These cultures vary based on different factors, including the organization’s size, industry, leadership style, and the company’s mission and values.
Here are a few different types of company cultures:
- Innovative: Encourages employees to develop unique ideas and solutions.
- Customer-focused: Fosters the development of products, services, and experiences that customers love.
- Collaborative: Emphasizes fostering a supportive environment for sharing, collaborating, and seeking feedback.
- Hierarchical: Ensures employees know their place in the hierarchy, while decisions come from the top.
- Process-driven: Helps employees work together to form efficient workflows and streamlined processes to maximize outcomes.
- Results-oriented: Emphasizes achieving goals through a highly focused measurement of outcomes.
Depending on the nature of work, these cultures may benefit your team.
Characteristics of a successful remote company culture
Several key characteristics can help organizations create a thriving remote culture. These include:
- Communication: Remote employees must have access to effective communication tools, clear communication channels, and regular meetings to keep all members aligned.
- Trust: Remote employees must feel trusted and empowered to develop a sense of ownership in their work.
- Flexibility: Providing employees with freedom and the time to take care of personal responsibilities can lead to a healthier work-life balance.
- Accountability: Establishing clear performance targets, goals, and KPIs ensures that all employees know performance expectations. This also provides a sense of direction in their work and helps team members hold themselves accountable.
- Inclusivity: A sense of inclusion and belonging is crucial for remote team members to feel valued and respected. Ensure they’re wholly integrated into the company culture and have opportunities to socialize and participate in team-building activities.
- Recognition: Celebrating wins and rewarding employees who have achieved goals is essential, especially remotely. This is one way of building trust, loyalty, and commitment among remote employees.
- Continuous learning: Developing a learning culture helps remote employees stay updated on new developments while building new skill sets.
Embodying these values can boost employee engagement and the organization’s overall growth.
Benefits of developing company culture for remote teams
Developing and maintaining a strong company culture can provide remote teams with many benefits, including:
- Retention of top talent;
- Increased productivity;
- Improved communication;
- Higher employee satisfaction;
- Better alignment toward goals;
- Enhanced creativity and innovation.
All these benefits go a long way in establishing a positive and productive work environment.
Challenges of developing company culture for remote teams
Developing a company culture for remote teams comes with its own set of unique challenges, including:
- Employees in a remote team may never meet in person; thus, it’s a challenge to develop interpersonal relationships and trust that would typically occur in an office setting.
- Working across multiple time zones can lead to workdays spanning 24 hours, causing issues with workflow and communication.
- It can be challenging for managers to monitor productivity remotely, resulting in difficulty in evaluating employee performance.
- Remote employees may feel lonely or disconnected from colleagues, further complicated by a lack of social interaction.
- Misinterpreted messages and misunderstanding tone or subtle cues can be challenging.
Companies must anticipate and address these challenges effectively.
Common mistakes related to the development of company culture for remote teams
There are a few common mistakes related to the development of company culture for remote teams:
- Not investing time and resources to ensure communication is effective, efficient, and timely can lead to misunderstanding, disappointment, and disengagement.
- Allotting too much time to mundane tasks can lead to burnout and, ultimately, decreased productivity. Tools, like call forwarding services, can help streamline processes and make them more efficient.
- Failing to set expectations regarding the culture, values, goals, and objectives can result in employees lacking direction or a sense of purpose, leading to a lack of motivation.
Avoiding these common mistakes is crucial.
Tips for cultivating a remote team culture
Every company is different, but there are a few tips that can benefit all:
- Schedule regular video meetings and meetups: Regular interaction and team-building sessions are crucial for building relationships and creating a cohesive remote team culture. Live video meetings provide face-to-face teamwork, improving communication and building trust.
- Develop strong leadership: Good leadership is crucial in a remote environment. Leaders in remote team environments should have excellent communication skills to manage teams effectively and develop a culture of mutual respect, trust, and recognition of achievements.
- Invest in third-party services: Inbound call centers, virtual assistants, or live call answering services are a way to free up time for managers and team leads, allowing team members to keep their focus and improve productivity, all while keeping communication lively.
- Encourage collaboration: Utilizing tools that allow document sharing, instant messaging, screen sharing, and video conferencing provides easy communication and idea sharing, fostering a collaborative spirit.
- Plan team social events: Team meetups allow members to socialize and engage in team-building activities, thus enhancing relationships, communication, and morale.
These tips will help ensure remote teams can cultivate a culture of collaboration.
How should company culture for remote teams be different?
Because remote teams are typically more dispersed geographically and don’t have the same face-to-face contact as traditional in-house teams, it’s important to tailor the approach to establishing a company culture accordingly.
Remote team culture should:
- Establish remote-specific policies;
- Implement digital team-building activities;
- Provide support for remote work challenges;
- Celebrate achievements virtually.
With the right approach, everyone can successfully contribute to the same culture.
Tools and resources to support the development of company culture
Remote teams have access to several tools and resources to support the development of company culture. Here are some examples:
- Video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Hangouts allow team members to connect in real time, building relationships and encouraging collaboration.
- Team chat solutions such as Slack or Microsoft Teams allow remote teams to stay in contact.
- Team-building platforms like TeamBonding offer online activities that help strengthen relationships and build trust.
- Virtual event software such as Eventbrite or Meetup is great for organizing social gatherings to keep team morale high.
With the right tools and resources, remote teams can create and maintain an engaging culture over the long term.
Want to learn more about building and maintaining a strong team culture? Get in touch with our team to book your free consultation today.