14 Dec 2020

For most businesses, until recently company culture has been intrinsically linked to being in the office. As we move towards a working model where staff only spend part of their working life in the office, how do employers develop and maintain a company culture fit for purpose for this new way of working?

Kolvin Stone, partner and head of technology, Fox Williams, spoke with Rosie Hewat, chief people officer, PGMBM, Aron Pope, employment partner, Fox Williams, Brett Putter, author and CEO CultureGene, Anna Roe, chief people officer, TransferGo about building and maintaining company culture in a remote working environment.

Please see below for an extract of the conversation.

Differences in culture between a predominantly physical and remote working environment

In the physical office environment, leaders often do not do anything consciously to develop their culture. But most remote working companies invest in building their culture because they have to. The difference is when you are physically together, culture happens by osmosis. Employees sit at the table together, walk into each other’s offices for a quick meeting, are seen working and read each other’s body language. 

With remote working, communication happens differently. Without the spontaneity of conversations, feedback and socializing, companies working remotely need to focus on how to act.

Remote working is not temporary, it will be the new norm post the pandemic and companies need to take a remote first approach and focus on creating their future culture because they will most likely be hybrid or fully remote offices going forward.

Best practices in building a company culture in a remote environment

A remote first approach creates an environment where everyone can feel equal. There are nine best practices to focus on.

  1. Culture – Be deliberate about the culture you create.
  2. Communication – Focus on communication. Employees may not speak up remotely the way they would in an office.
  3. Structure – Create a structure around how things are done.
  4. Process – Create a process for everything. 
  5. Hire – Build capabilities into recruiting and customize your onboarding process. Make up for what is lost in comparison to an in person experience. Explain and demonstrate your company’s work environment. 
  6. Trust – Develop trust and have accountability for remote working to be successful.
  7. Results – Focus on results and output, and not hours.
  8. Connection – Create ways to have social connection.
  9. Document – Write down all business processes. 

You can access the full conversation here.


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