Following the rapid move for many organisations to home working during the current pandemic, this could lead to pressure on company culture which, up until now, has been very much based around the central workplace. Moving to remote working creates opportunities which I imagine many organisations will want to continue exploring and benefiting from once life returns to some kind of normality, for example cost savings, improved efficiency, more flexible working models. It can also create challenges, particularly around maintaining company culture, when everyone is working in different locations. What may happen naturally to maintain culture within a central working environment may no longer take place, be it impromptu discussions. team building, effective communication, and this could lead to an organisation's culture becoming diluted. This article provides some really useful tips on how to build and maintain culture within a remote working environment.
1) Use collaboration tools that align to your culture and encourage communication
There is a vast array of technology out there to facilitate communication and collaboration within teams who are separated geographically. It's critical to select tools that match your organisation's culture and will allow the team to develop its own personality. In addition, you need to select tools that make communication easy for team members - anything that is difficult to use will deter this.
2) Build team building into your organisation's culture
It can be very easy when everyone is working remotely to lose the social element of being part of a team, the chats people have whilst making a cup of tea or discussions at the water cooler. One way to encourage this could be to nominate buddies within the team, where two team members are paired randomly and given some time for chatting on a weekly basis. Alternatively, you could match groups with shared interests to encourage this social, non-work element.
3) Create an even playing field
Where some people work remotely and some people don't it's important to embrace the remote culture, as opposed to making an exception for it. Whether someone works in the office or remotely, everyone should be treated as equals. If you don't do this you run the risk of remote workers feeling isolated and out of the loop. Indeed, once the current situation resolves, there could well be a move towards more remote working, as organisations have put in place the frameworks to support this and have started to experience the benefits of remote working. As a result, this point will become more important than ever.
4) Create a sense of shared leadership
It is important to ensure that remote team members feel empowered to show initiative and to drive the team ahead. This will ensure that they feel valued and invested in the success of the team.
All in all a really interesting article which provides some food for thought, not just for now but for the future.
You already know that remote teams are on the rise. As those numbers continue to go up, managers will have a new problem to tackle: creating and maintaining a strong team culture, when your team is scattered across a continent (or several!). Why is culture so important, anyways? Culture can be difficult to define. The easiest way to put it is that your company culture is the experience employees have working at your company or on your team. Think of it as the user experience, but for your employees.