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4 Keys to Maintaining Company Culture with a Remote Workforce
Good company cultures don’t happen by accident.
It takes proactive work and communications to foster a workplace where employees believe in the company’s principles and enjoy their jobs. But even with that framework in place, company culture will always be partly organic. It’s driven by daily interactions between team members — the inside jokes and shared experiences that come with working at the same place every day.
How do you maintain those critical interactions without the proverbial watercooler?
Getting a remote culture right can have a significant impact on the bottom line. Eight in 10 CEOs and HR leaders say culture is a competitive advantage. “Culture can determine success or failure during times of change,” according to Deloitte.
Case Study: Buffer Makes Virtual Work a Value
Buffer, makers of a software tool for scheduling and posting to social media, got a head start on remote culture. The company shifted to a 100 percent virtual workforce less than a decade ago. The challenges of maintaining company culture in the transition to remote work and onboarding new team members was top of mind for the tech-focused company.
Rather than try to adapt brick-and-mortar policies for their remote teams, it took a fresh approach. It built virtual work into its operations and made it a core value.
Virtual work enables the company to solve customer challenges 24/7 across time zones without interruptions. It creates recruiting and hiring opportunities around the world. It cuts down on operations costs, which can be passed on to customers and fund new product innovations.
For Buffer, remote work isn’t a privilege or an emergency option, it’s a competitive advantage.
Building a Remote Space for Company Culture
Organizations across industries are figuring out how to empower their remote staff to do their best work while maintaining accountability and productivity. They’re looking at internal communications strategies to help get there. According to Buffer’s own research on remote work, collaboration and communication are the two biggest challenges for employees in working from home. Here are a few keys organizations can follow to maintain culture and build connections in a new remote work reality.
- Virtual happy hours. Virtual happy hours bring a whole new meaning to BYOB, but they’re a terrific way to connect and keep up the critical team building that happens in between meetings and projects.
- Build a brainstorming place. Watercooler talk is all well and good, but the real value of a physical space comes from the brainstorms and quick idea exchanges that make work better. Create a virtual place for that, whether it be chat rooms or a video conference for remote workers to share their lunches together, and empower your workforce to tap the shared knowledge of their team.
- Video > Phone. Encourage video calls over phone calls. When in doubt, grab a little face time with a quick video chat over a phone call.
- Pick a social platform. At Braithwaite, Slack is where socializing happens. Email tends to stay pretty professional, and lots of work gets done on Slack. But Slack is where we share recipes, a quick joke, cat photos and other updates that keep us connected to our company culture and each other.