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How to maintain your company culture when working remotely

Top 9 actions to take to create and cultivate your organisational culture online
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We all know that a strong intentional company culture is the foundation for every organisation, and once employees are rooted in it, it perpetuates itself. This is far more easily created and maintained when working in an office environment – coffee and lunch breaks provide time to chat to colleagues; offices have TV screens and noticeboards with key messages including those around culture; team meetings are personal and foster relationship building.

So how do organisations face the challenge of building and sustaining the culture in a remote environment?

Ensuring employees working remotely don’t become isolated and disengaged is essential. Here are our top 9 actions to take to create and cultivate your organisational culture online.

1. Onboarding new team members the right way

Building a remote office culture starts before your new team member even logs in with a well-structured onboarding process – a defined procedure that takes them through each task they’ll need to complete in order to be integrated into the business systems AND the culture. Your onboarding experience is more important than ever before and needs to shape their role and buy-in into the culture.

Besides the tasks required, a vital part of onboarding is being introduced to everyone else on the team. Make their new environment as supportive as possible by initiating introductions via a Welcome to the Team telecon. Keep this light – nothing more than each team member introducing themselves.

Blue Juice maintain company culture

2. Support professional growth

Get to know your remote team members on a personal level to understand what excites and motivates them beyond project expectations. Just as you do with on-site team members, check in with your remote workers to discover their goals, and help them learn new skills to advance their careers. Provide online courses, virtual seminars, and the ability for them to achieve a new certification so they’re incentivized to expand their skills.

Company culture

3. Create connections between teammates

As a manager, schedule online calls about work AND fun. This is time to connect, answer questions, and provide support.

Encourage video hangouts, instant message chats, and other real-time channels such as Slack, Teams or Viva Engage, that provide avenues for teams to connect with each other and collaborate on projects.

Connect colleagues who share hobbies or common interests, and partner someone new to a task or project with an experienced co-worker.

Team meeting

4. Prioritize facetime and prevent isolation

Even if remote employees are well connected, this may not be enough. Combat loneliness and burnout by creating an annual in-person event, or provide some funds for remote employees to join a co-working space in their local area. Exposure to new people and ideas are still key ingredients for creativity.

In person meeting

5. Keep work fun

Plan virtual events to build camaraderie, for example, during March Madness, the Olympic Games, or the World Cup, schedule a 30-minute break to hop on a video call and watch or stream the event together.

watch sport together

6. Embrace gamification

Another great way to inspire camaraderie is through gamification. Adding online multiplayer games with friendly banter to the mix is a great way to make sure your employees are excited to come to their home office each day.

Apart from giving them a chance to interact directly with their remote team members, they’ll have plenty of fun outside work and develop stronger bonds with their peers while working remotely.

gamification

7. Branding for their home office space

Create a sense of belonging by providing remote teams with branded items e.g. t-shirts, mouse pads, pens, mugs and other items they use daily at their home office space. It’s a visual reminder of belonging.

company branding

8. Recognize accomplishments

Recognize the contributions of your team members and ensure that their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.

When everyone is at work in their own homes across continents or countries, it’s important to remind each of them how crucial their roles are. Have a weekly virtual appreciation session where successful results or important projects are highlighted to all team members.

Hero campaigns are also a winner to build comradery. Set up a form and ask your teams to vote for a colleague or another team who have achieved a specific goal or lived the culture. After reviewing the votes award the colleague or team with a certificate and a personal note from their Director. The digital certificate can also be shared via LinkedIn so they can share their achievement with the outside world creating more connection.

Recognize accomplishments

9. Support work-life balance

When your home and office are the same place, it can be difficult to “switch off” to create balance. Encourage flexible schedules and designated time off. If employees aren’t utilising their paid leave gently remind and encourage them to take it.

work life balance