The pandemic has left a smorgasbord of work environments in its wake. Some brands have fought tooth and nail to return to a corporate office setting. Others have created hybrid workspaces, where employees only need to come to work a handful of times a week. Still others have completely embraced the remote work gospel. They’ve sold off their physical workspaces and invested in cloud-based virtual environments where their teams can collaborate.
There are plenty of advantages for hybrid and especially remote work teams. Flexible work hours and asynchronous workflows make it easy for everyone to invest in their work at times that are best for them.
However, remote work and cloud-based collaboration have come at a cost — particularly where culture is concerned. Here are a few tips and suggestions for those struggling to establish a corporate culture and identity for their cloud-based brands.
Create and Communicate Cultural Standards
This first step is as obvious as it is easy to skip. Too often, culture is a concept rather than a reality. If you want your company’s culture to survive and thrive, even in a remote environment, you need to be deliberate in creating it in the first place.
Forbes Coaches Council offers insights into where to start if you’re struggling to define your corporate culture. The advice from the experts includes:
- Starting with core values
- Defining what matters
- Knowing your “why”
- Clarifying your vision and strategic priorities
- Enabling a no-compromise leadership vision
- Being transparent with your definition
Before you look for remote-specific strategies, make sure you have breathed clarity and substance into your corporate culture.
Invest in Tangible Manifestations of Cultural Elements
Company culture can’t all be idealistic rhetoric. Leaders must find ways to demonstrate their brand’s values to their employees.
For instance, one of the cornerstones of good company culture is that it effectively retains workers and maintains employee motivation. Putting this into action could include something like helping your staff avoid burnout.
Of course, you aren’t in a shared space, so you can’t just gather in the break room for a yoga session. Instead, look for remote-friendly ways to avoid burnout. No, that doesn’t mean booking more meetings. That will only lead to more time crunches.
Instead, look for ways to offload work. A good example could be helping a content creation team with the workload by passing off some of the work. Use a tool like ChatGPT to shorten the brainstorming and outline portions of content creation. Or, outsource tasks to a partner. For example, Boomn provides content creation expertise for services like sponsored content.
Whether it’s relieving your worker’s workloads to avoid burnout or something else, look for ways to put words into action. This quietly helps you build each facet of your remote work culture.
Resist the Tendency Toward Isolation and Stagnation
Finally, in a remote workforce, isolation is a major concern. It may be a convenient way to reduce commute carbon emissions and enable flexible work hours. But it can come at a cost.
The Center for Workplace Mental Health reports that workers who are isolated for a prolonged period of time can suffer from:
- An uptick in absenteeism.
- Physical and emotional stress.
- Lower personal productivity.
Isolation can contribute to weaker overall team performance, too. To top it off, remote working also influences the stagnation of personal career progression. In other words, isolated remote employees tend to withdraw, underperform, and fail to move upward in their workplace — all of which can undermine workplace culture.
To address this concern, remote and hybrid team leaders should emphasize a sense of work/life balance and clear boundaries as part of their company culture. When an employee feels they aren’t continually tethered to their work, it can help them engage with both work and corporate culture when they’re “on the clock.”
Creating a corporate culture for a remote team can be challenging. However, the key lies in focusing on cultural elements that are both attainable and applicable to a virtual or hybrid team. Focus your culture on relevant things like employee care, avoiding burnout, creating boundaries, and encouraging work/life balance. Above all, clearly define and communicate this to your remote team so that everyone understands and can embrace the core workplace values that create the bedrock of your organization.