How to Build and Maintain Culture with a Remote or Hybrid Workforce
After COVID-19 forced organizations to go remote last year, many business leaders recognized that remote work, though it may have had its initial challenges, was actually beneficial for their teams. Both employees and employers saw benefits, ranging from increased productivity to happier, healthier workers. Many organizations are now determining what the “new normal” should look like for both remote and hybrid schedules.
The shift to remote working offers an avenue to rethink culture, boost morale, and increase productivity, but only if companies can navigate the potential headaches as well. Here are some best practices for building and maintaining your company's culture with a remote or hybrid workplace model:
1. Remember to foster a positive work culture.
Your organization has a unique culture with core values that attracted your employees to join your team. Just because your team is dispersed it doesn’t mean that your office culture and those core values aren’t still relevant. Be careful not to lose what makes your culture special. Find ways to foster your culture through purposeful connections and regularly scheduled team meetings. Keep the organization’s core values at the forefront of all you do! Being intentional about your positive work culture will not only help your employees feel connected to the organization, but also to their teammates who have shared values and goals.
2. Recognize unique personalities.
Every organization is made up of hardworking individuals who contribute to the bigger picture. As leaders, we can often set our main focus on the common goals and the team as a whole, but lose sight of the individual. It’s also important to remember that each team is comprised of different individuals with unique strengths, challenges, and personalities. When teams or individual workers are in a remote setting, it’s easier for us to forget this. Remembering to connect with team members individually and making sure your team members are connecting with each other is important. It will allow your employees to utilize the unique strengths of one another, functioning even better as a team.
Most often when your entire team is in the office, your employees are communicating frequently. With remote work, team members are no longer popping over into someone’s office, chatting during a coffee break in the breakroom, or going to lunch together. The communication channels are reduced and that is why it is critical to overcommunicate in a remote or hybrid setting. This includes one on one meetings, team meetings, quick instant message conversations, and casual conversations making sure to frequently communicate expectations, progress, and deadlines, but also to connect as human beings. Some of the teams we work with have scheduled weekly Zoom times just for connecting and catching up. Research shows teams who take the time communicate frequently, openly, and honestly have better success than those who do not.
4. Work as a team.
Many organizations noticed an increase in productivity when switching to a remove or hybrid model. With reduced commutes and less distractions than in a typical office setting, employees were able to work longer and more intentionally. However, working in a physical location away from peers and superiors can also make team members feel like they are on an island. This can lead to siloed decision-making. Prioritizing teamwork and again having frequent, open communication channels allows teams to better work together toward their common goals.
We are still learning about remote and hybrid business models, but one thing we do know is that for many companies, remote working is here to stay. If you’re trying to find ways to keep your team ingrained in your organizational culture, following the tips above should give you a good place to start!
Wishing your team success in a remote or hybrid setting,