Maintaining Company Culture with a Remote Workforce
As companies reimagine where and how work will get done in our emerging COVID-19 economy, more leaders are seriously considering a permanent hybrid workplace that offers more flexibility for both employers and employees.
83% of employers say the shift to remote work has succeeded their company. The majority of employees agree, although 87% say the office is still important for collaborating with team members and building relationships, according to a 2021 survey conducted by PwC.
These findings indicate that the hybrid workplace of the future is likely to transform how office space is used, team member engagement, and even a company's culture.
However, with strong leadership and good coaching, companies can create, maintain — and strengthen — their company culture, even when many or all team members work remotely (it's what we've always done here at Ninety). And while there are many techniques, tools, and processes companies can use to accomplish this (which we will get into in coming articles), they all rely on building a solid foundation based on trust.
Trust: The Key to a Strong Company Culture
Ultimately, the vast majority want to belong to what we call a High Trust Company (HTC), where people feel like they are important and appreciated members of a team that does meaningful work. People who work in HTCs feel respected and cared for. They agree on their values, believe that their product or services improve the world, and believe in the direction the company is moving.
Building a level of high trust requires enlightened leaders who understand that long-term success requires transparency, authenticity, and care. If your company has reached this level of trust, maintaining it in a hybrid or totally remote environment will require nurturing your workforce.
Transparency in Communication
Transparency requires clear, honest, and thoughtful communication among all team members, remote workers included. Everyone contributes, and their contributions are valued. It's easy in video conferences to let the extroverts dominate the conversation. Mindful leaders pay close attention to these dynamics and deliberately make space for quieter team members to contribute.
It's also a good idea to keep various channels open — from email and text to various Slack channels — for different forms of communication. For example, establish agreements with your remote colleagues where serious conversations about business issues occur, casual discussions and team huddles arise, and where people can simply chat around the virtual water cooler.
Communicate honestly and often through multiple channels to team members about the organization's direction, values, and important events and milestones. A single email may be overlooked, and it's easy to misinterpret a text. Include the key messages you need to communicate in video conferences, newsletters, one-on-one conversations, and whatever channels are important to your organization.
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