Corporate culture is the glue that holds your team and your organization together – for instance: regular meetings, joint events, training, a clear ideology, and much more help to develop and instill it in employees.
Consequently, corporate culture becomes a cohesive tool and a source of motivation. It helps employees remember what is at stake, feel responsible for the outcome, and give their best.
But what about corporate culture when your team works remotely? Even if the move to telecommuting is recent, the corporate culture will inevitably weaken away from the office. So is it worth trying to maintain it or develop it anew? Why even need it if both you and others work from home in comfort? Let's find out now!
Why do you need a corporate culture when you work remotely?
As soon as a company moves to telecommute, the manager starts to struggle and often makes the following mistakes:
Failing to keep track of the number of performed tasks. Of course, tracking this online is hard, especially if you don't keep a worksheet or mind map. Therefore, because of this, it's easy to overload your employees or, conversely, to fail to meet all deadlines.
Interrupts an employee's work when they are busy. An employee in a remote job is very often an employee with no days off or breaks. "Could you come to the computer..." - if you call with such a request in the middle of the working day, you risk personally undermining the team's productivity.
Obsessively monitors every "sneeze" of the team. For example, demanding desktop recordings, recording work on a webcam, or simply pestering the team with calls and messages. Naturally, this increases anxiety and, as a result, causes employees to become stressed.
Leaving employees to themselves. Discretion is excellent, but only when your employees know precisely how to use all work programs and services. Ensure they do before you leave them to their own devices.
Avoid holding video meetings five times a day! Short ten to fifteen-minute sessions at the beginning or end of the day are an excellent way to take stock of what's already been done and plan for the next stretch. But everything is good in moderation!
Corporate culture refers not only to the values and dress code shared by all employees but also to the communication rules, organization of work tasks, and feedback methods. Through them, the corporate culture keeps the team motivated. Moreover, as we all know, motivation can be inferior in a remote location! Resultingly, there is a huge temptation to get distracted by household chores or lie on a soft couch!
Often, remote work is a challenge not only for the employer but also for employees not used to self-discipline and working from home. It is why a unique approach to corporate culture is needed during the remote working period because it compensates:
Contact deficit. Because team members cannot interact with each other face to face, issues or grievances can pile up. In this case, the corporate culture establishes a procedure for resolving them remotely and reduces the likelihood of conflicts based on the new work format.
Attention deficit. As we've already said, when you are at home, it is always easy to get distracted! You might want to do the dishes or go shopping. On the other hand, having a corporate culture helps employees stay focused, for example, through feedback from their manager. We will discuss this later in this article.
To get a distorted perception of the work format or tasks. That can happen when employees do not always understand what to do during remote work. They do not know how to perform the tasks they have gotten used to doing in the office. Thus, corporate culture regulates procedures and fixes everyone's competencies.
Corporate culture in a remote job is essentially a tool to systematize it, helping keep the team together and at the right level of professionalism until the work returns to how it used to be. You can quickly build such a culture to optimize your company offline and online with the experts in our short course.
The Remote Team, or Principles of Collaborating with a Remote Team
When moving to a remote working format, transfer your usual office routine online - that's how you get a new, adapted version of your corporate culture. There are a few ways you can do this:
- Maintain transparency
Incentives and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) should remain the same as offline work, but the tools to measure them may change. Explain to employees right away what, as a manager, you will be looking at when evaluating, what the current status of the company is, what the current goals are, etc. Be honest with your team, even if the business is going through a crisis. It is better to say it straightforwardly so that everyone knows their responsibilities.
For transparency, create a separate channel or chat room in a messenger (such as Telegram) where important news, policies, instructions, and answers to popular questions get posted. Alternatively, a single cloud-based document on Google Docs would also work.
- Keep Communication Active within the team
Just because your company works remotely doesn't mean employees should hide in corners and forget their colleagues' names. To prevent this from happening, hold events - yes, online too! It can be video lectures with guest speakers or an informal Zoom video meeting where each employee can show off their 'home office', brag about new hobbies they've been able to learn from working remotely, or just chat. Think of it as a shared lunch or a Friday night tea party.
- Run Engaging Interactions
Challenges and internal competitions are a great way to cheer up the team and remind them that although they work from home, they're still part of a bigger team. For example, ask everyone to share a screengrab of their work screensaver on their computer. Alternatively, they could use an image of their workplace in a chat room. That will put the team in an optimistic mood, which is especially vital if times are tough for the company.
You can also use competitions to increase team productivity. For instance, you could create a table ranking managers by the number of sales, where you can get a special badge on your avatar as a prize or choose a theme for the general chat. In addition to contests and challenges, you can hold brainstorming sessions, theme nights, or a whole discussion club.
Learning by topic
Management During Crises. Effective Team Communication
How to proficiently manage a company, motivate your employees in difficult times, tackle a crisis and get out as a winner.
- Turn Remote Work into a Period of Growth
There is an advantage for employees now that they can work from home and do not have to commute to work. For example, level up new soft or hard skills to expand their competencies and maybe get a promotion soon! Give the team this opportunity themselves: give them access to in-house training at Lectera or make a collection of valuable materials. Help employees make the most of remote work because it has many benefits, including for their careers and the business as a whole!
- Update the Dress Code
It's silly to require the team to sit at home in business suits and blouses, but you can suggest that employees choose to wear uniform corporate colors at home or even special pajamas. A small thing, but a morale booster and a unifying factor!
Finally, here are a few more mini-tips for those who work with a remote team and want to increase their efficiency:
Monitor the mood of the team. For this purpose, use chat rooms, private social media, and anonymous email surveys. Also, please keep track of your employees' challenges and help them solve them.
Build trusting relationships. Excessive control creates tension, remember? On top of that, it ruins relationships with the management. Instead, tell your employees you trust them and know they won't let you down, even if they have to work from the Sahara Desert. Don't make them report to you; instead, they can note their progress on a spreadsheet.
Provide a variety of work formats. Offer employees a choice. Some may be uncomfortable with general chats, and it may be easier to communicate with their supervisor in private messages. Or someone prefers WhatsApp rather than Telegram.
Reinforce company values. Despite working remotely, you must cherish and demonstrate them to your team by example!
Developing a corporate culture is no longer easy, let alone developing it remotely! But anything is possible if you approach the issue responsibly and with a genuine desire to help your employees adapt. After all, they are just as much a part of the company as you are. So take care of their comfort, and the result will surprise you: by experiencing remote working, your team will become twice as strong and united!