We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating—remote work is here to stay. Fully one-quarter of all professional roles in North America will be fully remote this year. Predictions say that this number will increase in the coming year. However, the data also shows that remote work can also erode company culture simply because telecommuting can be an isolating experience. So, the question for your company is: How can you create a better culture even with remote workers? We have answers.
How Can You Create a Culture for Remote Workers?
Why WFH is a Detriment to Culture
This may not be a popular opinion, but remote work makes building a company culture a little harder. (Notice we didn’t say impossible?) The number of remote workers has more than doubled in the past 15-years. Now we must focus on how we can build a better culture from afar with these workers.
Company culture stems from collaboration. Traditionally, this included teambuilding activities during face-to-face meetings that create a sense of “we’re in this together.” But now, companies are in some ways siloed by their remote workforce. While our employees love the freedom of working from home, we must take on a few new processes to ensure WFH doesn’t mean you aren’t part of the team.
How to Build a Remote Culture
1. Start with onboarding.
It’s easy to miss onboarding when employees are remote. But it’s critically important to make sure your remote workers, or any employees for that matter, know what is expected and have the tools to get it done. Working with your new employees to create goals and processes for reaching them is just as important as training them in how to do the job. These goals should include other members of the team. Hiring a group of people in an onboarding class will help these team members find colleagues they can relate to—no matter where they work. You can back these connections up by also establishing a mentor for the new employee.
2. Have a clear mission and connect this to employee goals.
Ultimately, you want everyone to row in the same direction. The company mission lays the groundwork for the goals everyone should be striving towards. How do you connect your company mission to the goals your new (and existing) employees set? Having a mission that permeates the entire organization can help cross geographic boundaries and give everyone an understanding of the “why” behind the work they’re doing.
3. Set some rules for remote work.
We don’t mean you need to micromanage remote employees. You don’t even need to write these rules down somewhere. However, managers should lead from the top by practicing and illustrating the kind of culture that matters to your organization. For example:
- When you have video conferencing meetings, are cameras expected to be on or off? We recommend turning cameras on simply because it lets you see the faces and some of the body language of teammates.
- Too, if you’re using instant messaging to communicate, is it okay to IM a remote employee after hours? Our recommendation is a firm no—even though it’s tempting to let the lines blur between work and home when work IS home. Protect your remote employees from burnout by illustrating a respectful attitude toward after-hours communications.
- Establish regular rituals, like French fry Fridays, where everyone has lunch together (fries optional). Or even daily sprint standups (even if you’re not a developer) can set the tone for the day. Having company all-hands meetings can help remote employees stay connected, as well.
Are You Building a Culture for Remote Workers?
Establishing a stronger remote work culture starts with the right tools to track progress and communicate outcomes. Exelare offers companies a state-of-the-art applicant tracking system (ATS) that follows new employees from application through all the stages of their careers. Our software is the glue that holds together dozens of companies—and we’d like to share it with your team. Call on us to find out how Exelare can help connect your remote teams for a more effective company culture.