March 10, 2020
Company culture is more integral to remote platforms than it is to traditional bricks-and-mortar enterprises. In a disjointed setting, culture is what holds a team together, and marries it to the company’s values. Not only is this a boon to getting work done, it’s a formula for business success. Consider the main challenges to many people working in concert from different locations: accessing information, clearly communicating, making decisions that reflect an organization’s mission. When we optimize these actions, we’re more productive and better able to serve customers and meet objectives.
These things can be facilitated—or suppressed—by our virtual workplace environment and operating policies. We can communicate quickly and effectively, working from the same set of facts and making choices in line with our shared goals. If company culture is the social basis for productivity, then how we manage people from afar is how we build a foundation that feeds all of our business moves.
Great cultures set workers up for success by giving them the tools they need to do their jobs. While there are many rationales for business transparency, the availability of background information to all who need it is the most compelling in remote situations. A central clearinghouse for company details—anything from who does what to the organization’s financial records—will put everybody on the same page.
File-sharing systems make this a breeze from multiple locations. Dozens of employees working from home can be granted access to what they need to know in order to make informed decisions or pass along accurate details to vendors and customers. An updated roster of roles and goals for every team member lets staff quickly locate the right people when they need help, answers, or authorization.
How transparent should a company be? That depends on what leaders want to get from it. For instance, sharing as much financial information as possible with employees becomes a motivational tool. Understanding the bottom-line impact of their own good work and that of their department illustrates how individual performance affects the organization’s viability in the marketplace and, therefore, individual job security. Knowing why isn’t just a cultural luxury, but a means to engage employees in moving the company forward.
The personal is professional
Isolation and difficulty connecting with colleagues can literally stymie remote workers. Having a cohesive communications policy and technology solves those problems and forms the basis for a culture of teamwork. With distance between workers, teams need to be clear on who the key players are, so they know who to contact when they need help – broadcasting internal company roles is a quick way to do this
Slack integrated communications system is a way to reach people in the most convenient manner. You can email, text, chat, and hold virtual teleconferences as the situation demands. Knowing that coworkers are a few keystrokes away allows teams to work efficiently and confidently. It also gives a sense of team camaraderie and downs the walls of isolation and further engages teams—as individuals, as project members, and as part of the larger company.
Branding is bonding
Identifying as constituents of a larger effort is an important motivator, and a big job performed by company culture is to bring folks under the big umbrella. In a sense that goes beyond marketing, your corporate brand is that umbrella. The image a company projects—to customers, to prospective talent, and to competitors—is the shared vision that brings team members together.
In a practical sense, aligning everyone with your organization’s mission and the core values from which it operates works twofold: it gives employees a personal stake in their work, and it helps them make day-to-day choices that reinforce your brand. Think about top companies with strong brands, like Google and Apple. Their people want to be part of that brand because they approve of values like innovation and serving people.
When remote staff clock in from the comfort of their home offices, they need to know that they’ll have what they need to excel at their work. They can get advice or intel from a colleague at a moment’s notice. They can feel good about their efforts to achieve the company’s agenda.
We can see how these cultural elements tie into one another and form a sort of safety net that employees can rely on. These aren’t just nice-to-have assurances for people who are expected to be self-starters. They are everything.
Image by Engin_Akyurt