How to Make it Work When Company Culture Goes Nomad

Shefali Vasave | November 12, 2021 | 17 views

Now that all the buzz about work-from-home is settling, it’s time to take a stock of things to come. Organizations must now look back and assess the significant shift to remote work and discover the things that work and the things that need to be fixed.

Undoubtedly, remote work has made many things more manageable. It has allowed organizations to maximize their resources and introduce new ways of doing things that don’t keep employees stay put to their desks. But this flexibility and convenience come with a cost. Cultivating an influential company culture was always a challenge, but this challenge has increased manifold with a remote workforce.


What is Company Culture, and Why Does it Matter?

Company culture is an essential factor in the success of any company. It is the environment that people work in. The way people behave, communicate, and interact with each other will determine an organization's culture that can be good or bad. It determines the work environment of your organization. The culture can either motivate or demotivate employees. Companies need to communicate company values to know what they are working towards. This is to create a common goal for achieving value. Strong company culture will lead to efficient collaboration and happier employees.


Workplace Collaboration in the Work from Home Era

Previously, remote work was the domain of industries like tech and customer service, where the gig economy flourished unbounded. The past couple of years became the only viable alternative to work in a health crisis. Many other industries have now warmed up to the advantages it offers. Remote work is an excellent route for organizations that can manage it well - it's cheaper, allows people to avoid the stress of commuting and no need for extra office space.

On the other hand, the growing number of remote teams (currently 45% of U.S. companies) has introduced new challenges to the traditional office culture practices.

For organizations that are only now integrating remote work, the challenge is to revitalize company culture. With boardroom meetings being replaced by Zoom calls and face-to-face interactions being sidelined by online chats social media channels like Slack or Discord are becoming very popular.

It is imperative for companies that want their employees to be a part of the team to provide specific tools. Increasingly, there is a need to keep up and stay ahead of the curve. But more than adopting fancy tech and the newest communication channel, keeping things simple and focusing on the big picture may do more good.

“What the past year has shown me is that the basics matter more than ever. Yes, Covid-19 has driven us to use new technologies, but it hasn’t changed the core nature of good business development.”

- Jody Sutter, Founder, The Sutter Company


Remote Work Best Practices that Can Help Preserve Company Culture

Remote work is becoming a widespread practice. It may seem counter-intuitive but remote work offers many benefits for organizations that can manage it well.

The growing number of remote teams (currently 45% of U.S. companies) has introduced new challenges to the traditional office culture practices. For example, remote workers need to find ways to interact with their colleagues - they can use online chat, phone calls, video conferencing, or social media channels like Slack or Discord.

There are many ways that organizations can explore to make their remote work culture more engaging. However, best practices are proven and can help you immediately shift into delivering a more dynamic culture that is agnostic of location.


Tips to Build a Thriving Company Culture in Remote Teams

Remote team members are essential to the company and should be treated with respect as office employees. This will increase their morale and make sure that remote workers don't feel alienated or ignored.
  1. Encourage remote employees to participate in office breakfasts, company lunches, and other events. It will make them feel more connected to the rest of the company.
  2. Invest time developing a good communication culture with your remote team members using Zoom or Slack tools. For example, share organizational updates, brainstorm new ideas and discuss challenging projects via chat.
  3. Show appreciation for your remote workers! Send virtual gifts, cards, and text messages with congrats for a job well done - it doesn’t have to be big.
  4. Find out what they need. This is crucial to managing an effective remote team. One way to find out what your remote workers need is by making sure you have a space for them to give feedback on their experience.
  5. Invest in training and developing them. Over 60% of employees say they consider staying longer at organizations that invest in their learning and development. This concept holds up for remote teams who want to boost their skill sets now more than ever.

Effective communication can make things simple, and it is the key. It is the common thread that will bind your employee engagement efforts with your remote workforce.


Conclusion:

Establishing a Remote Work Policy That Fits Your Company's Values. Organizations realize that remote workers are not only productive but also more engaged with their jobs. With this in mind, it has become more critical to establish a remote work policy that fits your company's needs and values. To maintain company culture remotely, a business should clearly understand what they need from their employees and what they can offer to these employees in return for this flexibility. Remote working should not be viewed as an inconvenience or burden on the company; instead it should be another way for businesses to show value and appreciation for their workforce members' contributions. This is the only way to upgrade your company culture truly and not just ‘make it work.’


Frequently Asked Questions


How does remote work affect company culture?

The collaborative culture which is nurtured in an office environment - the exchange of ideas, the socialization between colleagues, and the opportunity to work closely with others are all lost when working remotely.

How can companies maintain company culture when working remotely?

A company will need to create a list of guidelines for remote workers because it is inevitable that there will be time differences and issues with communication. The company's core values should also be shared with remote workers to ensure that the culture stays intact.

What are the drawbacks of remote work culture?

The main drawback is that people might feel disconnected from the workplace. In addition, they might feel like they are not a part of the team, which can lead to misunderstandings.
Additionally, there are no in-person office interactions, which means no socializing or opportunities.

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Microsoft Releases New Research to Simplify Hybrid Work

Microsoft | March 17, 2022

On March 16th, tech giant Microsoft Corp., released the Work Trend Index Report. The annual report this year, “Great Expectations: Making Hybrid Work Work,” focuses on hybrid work and identifies employees’ evolving expectations of their workplace. The research is clear, going home to work is no longer the same. The challenge for organizations is to keep up with the new expectations of employees. The index report has uncovered five trends that organizations must adopt. The study consisted of 31,000 people from 31 countries. In addition, to the productivity signals analysis in Microsoft 362 and labor trends from LinkedIn: 53% of employees reported that they are more likely to put their health and well-being above work now in comparison to before the pandemic. 52% of Gen Z and millennials are likely to switch employers in the coming year. 50% of leaders said their companies will return to working full-time from the office in the coming year. 54% of managers however, feel that company leadership is not in touch with employee expectations. 74% say they don’t have the power or resources to change that. The biggest challenge for 38% of hybrid employees is knowing when to come into the office and for what reasons. However, only 28% of leaders have defined these norms. The weekly meeting time for Team users is up by a whopping 252% after 2 years, while the number of chats sent per person every week is up by 32%. As 51% of hybrid workers consider a complete shift to remote work in the coming years, organizations must look to building workplace relationships. 42% of leaders say that it is their biggest challenge when having employees work in a hybrid or remote set-up. "There's no erasing the lived experience and lasting impact of the past two years, as flexibility and well-being have become non-negotiables for employees. By embracing and adapting to these new expectations, organizations can set their people and their business up for long-term success.” -Jared Spataro, corporate vice president, Modern Work, Microsoft

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