“Culture represents the ‘social glue’ and generates a ‘we-feeling’, thus counteracting processes of differentiations that are an unavoidable part of organizational life. Organizational culture offers a shared system of meanings which is the basis for communications and mutual understanding” – Significance of culture, Furnham and Gunter (1993)
Nowadays, numerous companies have been forced to adapt to the “new normal” – remote work model while this was already figured out for a lot of them. However, under the current circumstances during the pandemic, maintaining company culture has been the biggest challenge. Since its start Keitaro has been a remote working company, operating with a globally dispersed international team.
Remote working has its own advantages and disadvantages. My remote working experience in Keitaro had a huge positive impact on my productivity. Another advantage is the possibility to work anywhere. I can choose to work from home, the coffee shop, office or wherever and whatever set-up I have in mind. On the other hand, you can feel the lack of communication while working remotely, even though we all try to connect as much as we can. So my question is, how can we improve this?
Company culture or the “social glue”, as Furnham and Gunder described it, depends heavily on communication and collaboration. How do we maintain company culture while working remotely? Here are few areas that should be considered while setting up the internal strategy.
Communicate, communicate, communicate!
Transparency is a key factor when communicating company culture. It helps employees build trust and feel engaged. When communicating company culture you need to ask yourself the question, ‘Can people really see the big picture ?‘. It is very important to repeatedly communicate your company’s values, goals and vision and make sure you live and breathe them. People won’t believe your words if you personally don’t believe them!
Teams need to connect to the ‘Big picture’ as well. They need to be reminded why and how they’re contributing to the overall success of the company.
“The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” – William James
Take your time to recognize people’s values and the effort that they bring to the company. People want to be valued, it is a basic human need. Don’t give recognition just because you’ve heard that it motivates people, give recognition to make sure that the team is valued for who they are and what they bring to your culture. We are all here to get our job done, but what’s more important is HOW getting our job done contributes to the big picture. We need to make sure and demonstrate how everyone’s work and effort affects not only the project that they’re currently working on but also the overall success of the company.
Create a virtual workplace
Remote culture changes the “normal day” in every workplace. The onboarding process, welcome and goodbye parties, coffee and lunch breaks are a bit different in the last year or so. We need to adjust to the ‘new normal’ but how do we do that? Here are some ideas from our experience:
- Communication; As previously mentioned, communication is the key! Encourage employees to communicate. Communication connects people, improves collaboration and helps everyone feel included.
- Virtual team building; Just because we are physically separated does not mean we can’t get everyone together. Organizing welcome and goodbye parties and game nights can improve communication and bonding among the employees.
- Random slack channel; Fun slack channels create a place for conversations other than work and a place where you can learn more about your coworkers. Also having interest-based channels can improve connection and deepen ties across your team.
These are the main points that I would like to share with you in this blog, even though the list is never-ending. Finding a way to rise through unexpected challenges and situations is what makes professionals a team. Therefore I truly believe that joined forces and input can turn marvelous ideas into reality. Share your thoughts or ideas in the comments on how you maintained the company culture while working remotely!