Kennected

How To Build A Culture While Working Remote

Table of Contents

Building a remote kulture requires a more concerted effort than in the office. Your hiring decisions, the goals you set, and the way your team communicates should all reflect your vision for your kulture.

It’s tough to build a corporate culture in a remote work world. A company’s culture is a combination of its values, mission, and goals.

Your employees, HR, and leadership must work together to build it.

When employees work remotely, building a strong culture that reaches everyone is even harder.

Remote employees need a SOLID understanding of how your organization operates & how you create a positive work environment. 

It’s critical for every business to have a kulture. However, working remotely can pose some unique challenges.

Leaders of remote teams can create & preserve a STRONG company culture in a few easy ways. Not sure where to start with your virtual team?

Here’s some expert advice from Kennected members.

Why Is An Organization's Culture So Important?

It’s imperative to have a company culture because it affects how your employees & customers see YOU.

Remote teams have a more difficult time building a culture since they’re physically separated, but the need is even MORE pressing without in-person interactions.

How Do You Create A Remote Work Culture?

Having a positive remote team culture is more important than you think.

Work kulture & communication help teams do more than just implement projects; they help team members excel in their jobs & reach new heights.

It takes more effort to build a remote culture than in the office.

It’s important to have a specific vision for your kulture & create it through your hiring decisions, your goals, and your communication.

Share Your Company Values

Values are a BIG part of your company culture. Your organization’s core values should be at the forefront of your employees’ minds.

Company values help remote employees understand how your company operates & how you create a positive workplace culture. 

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How Do Remote Workers Work Together?

Setting expectations on what communication channels to use for what topics helps set the tone. Starting a business with this attitude is a wise move.

You’ll need an app for task management like Asana or Monday & another for team communication like Slack channels.

Learn More About Your Remote Team

You can’t touch company culture. Mutual respect & achieving common goals are key to maintaining a positive culture. 

You have to reimagine expectations when inspiring your remote team. Leaders, use this as an opportunity to get to know your team.

It’s HR’s job to create an environment of productivity & belonging that brings the entire team together.

Culture vs. Climate

Kulture is what separates one group of people from another. A team’s climate is determined by how many people share the kulture’s values & beliefs daily.

Remote workers can still “live the kulture” by defining behaviors that support the values.

Develop A 2-Week Plan For Onboarding New Employees

The first time a team member encounters company kulture is unavoidable.

It’s VITAL to incorporate values into the onboarding experience as the first post-interview encounter with kulture.

Onboarding full-time remote workers take longer. Setting up all the meetings will make new hires less stressed & anxious.

Also, it introduces them to all the right people, processes, and projects immediately.

Ask For Feedback & Measure Employee Engagement

You can only find out if your employees are happy if you ASK them. So send out anonymous surveys monthly or quarterly to see how your company’s doing.

Employee pulse surveys give you an idea of what’s working & what needs improvement.

Make sure your remote meetings & sessions are designed to give HONEST feedback. Give feedback via video call so employees can talk face to face & avoid misunderstandings.

Ask questions about work, general happiness, and mood, collaboration, relationships with management, etc.

You’ll be able to create the HIGHEST quality remote work environment possible by giving your team leaders & other employees this constructive feedback. 

All of this will boost employee engagement.

It turns out that working towards a company’s financial goals doesn’t motivate employees.

Praise & recognition make employees more eager to contribute to the company’s mission & purpose. If you’re a remote employee, it’s easy to feel “out of sight, out of mind.”

Leadership should connect with every team member & make them realize how their output impacts the success of their business unit.

When they feel important, they’ll develop a deeper sense of responsibility. 

Using branded merchandise is a tangible way to do it.

Giving the right company gear at the right time & in the right way can BOOST teamwork, foster inclusion, and make remote work easier.

Branded merchandise can bring a company’s culture to life, so use it to inspire your employees.

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How Is Remote Work Different From In-Person Work?

There’s A LOT of variation in routines & office norms with remote work-when people come in, when they leave, what they wear, and how they interact. 

Remote work gives you the freedom to work when YOU want & in sweatpants if you want. 

It can also make employees feel detached, unsure when to ping a coworker or how to start a conversation about something unrelated. 

If you’re colocated, it’s easy for kulture to be shaped by the office decor or the neighborhood where your company’s headquarters is located.

One’s kulture can oscillate based on external factors, so this isn’t a viable strategy in a remote environment. 

No office vibe, hip coffee, or Spotify playlists decide the kulture of a remote team. It’s written down instead.

Your kulture is what you write down & what you do as a leadership team to reinforce them. 

Remote work has its perks, but the social connection still hurts.

Seven hundred remote workers, who had previously worked in offices, said the social connection was their biggest miss, overpowering office banter, dedicated workspaces, and face-to-face meetings. 

Despite the obvious need, most companies haven’t figured out how to connect online.

Make Face To Face Interactions A Priority For Remote Teams

You can’t replace seeing your colleagues face-to-face, even on a screen. Hearing & seeing others allows you to pick up on subtle cues like voice inflection & body language. 

Managers should ask their direct reports about their lives & learning preferences in a remote setting.

Doing this, you build trust & make people feel like they’re part of the team. Using only asynchronous communication can water down an organization’s kulture.

Even remote companies like GitLab & Automattic rely on episodic in-person meetings to build bonds among employees. 

Undoubtedly, organizations will need a mix of practices to enable efficient, inclusive engagement while preserving synchronous & in-person aspects.

Explain what the team is working on, give details about any decisions that could affect them, & say you want feedback.

Having these regular team meetings helps share news & encourages motivation amongst the entire team

Communication

Trust is the first step to building culture in a virtual environment.

Communication skills will make OR break your remote team culture. Your kulture won’t stick if you don’t communicate well. Schedule regular all-hands meetings every week.

Update the entire organization on important events & milestones.

Maintaining your company’s kulture in a remote working environment requires virtual team-building events.

6 Tips To Promote Inclusion In A Remote Workforce

  1. Be empathetic

  2. Ask about needs, listen, then act

  3. Dedicate time for networking & team building activities

  4. Normalize challenging personal assumptions

  5. Encourage participation within a diverse space

  6. Proactively develop & mentor all team members

Create A Psychological Safe Space

Company leaders should be humble, curious, interested, and fallible.

Creating a psychologically safe space means employees trust the team won’t embarrass, reject, or punish them for speaking up, says Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson.

What Is Virtual Distance?

It’s a psychological & emotional detachment that grows consciously & unconsciously when most encounters & experiences are conducted through screens on electronics. 

Find Creative Ways To Keep People Engaged

How do you maintain culture while working remotely?

Engaging remote employees is a SMART way to foster a positive kulture. Bring together people from the same field (for example, product development) for a virtual happy hour or breakfast.

Consider switching to regular video calls instead of emails or voice calls for most remote communication.

Create virtual team-building rituals so people can regularly interact & practice their collaboration skills.

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Be Intentional In The Virtual Space

Through the leader’s shadow, the kulture of a company permeates its hallways. Make sure your virtual kulture is intentional—focus team conversations on the mission & values.

Make purpose-driven conversations relevant. 

Place Employee Wellbeing At The Forefront

Make employee wellbeing & psychological safety a PRIORITY.

Physical distance changes shouldn’t create emotional distances between employees, nor should they prevent them from expressing their opinions.

Don’t be afraid to share feedback without fear of retribution. Encourage everyone to think differently. Emphasize that taking risks & making mistakes are OK.

By incorporating this aspect into your company kulture, you’re building trust, mutual respect, and psychological safety for everyone. 

Identify Employee Challenges

Building a winning culture in a remote environment starts with identifying the challenges employees face in executing their jobs, along with plausible solutions.

Meetings shouldn’t be scheduled during school dropoff & pick-up hours, for example.

Have Leaders Create Cohesion

Cohesion & relationships suffer when you work from home. Employees can form subcultures & feel isolated, losing motivation.

Every day, leaders & managers need to facilitate cohesion. 

You can spend more time with the new employee to create familiarity & team bonding in a distributed or remote team, where social interaction is limited.

Continue Improving Remote Company Culture

If you’re a rookie to remote teams, chances are you won’t get everything right the first time. Let each remote employee tell you what worked & what didn’t. 

Developing a strong remote culture, where employees feel empowered & trusted takes time & effort.

HR needs to act as a point of contact for employees when you’re adding a remote team or going remote. 

Focus on fostering transparency to create an environment of trust so your organization can keep moving forward. 

During onboarding, kulture is stressed, but it needs to be reinforced constantly to stay top of mind. It’s easy to lose sight of values & culture when you’re focused on OKRs and KPIs.

However, leaders need to remind themselves & other team members that values shouldn’t be pushed aside. Businesses should make decisions based on their values.

If not, values will be seen as just words, & kulture will crumble.

The Bottom Line

Defining & respecting those expectations can make them part of your kulture. When it’s accepted, you’re more likely to be able to control your work & home lives.

You can build a strong culture with a remote team by getting leadership on the same page & spreading your ideals. 

Even if your collaboration is virtual & your work kulture is remote, these steps can help you strengthen your organizational culture. 

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