We won't teach you anything by saying that a strong work culture is key to attract, engage, and retain people. Some even say that a company’s culture is one of its most valuable assets. A strong company culture not only gives teammates a sense of purpose and motivation but also increases productivity and make people less likely to quit.
According to a Glassdoor survey, 56% of employees prioritize a healthy workplace culture over salary. Although most companies recognize this, very few have been able to maintaining a company culture that was as good in person then it is remotely.
After the pandemic of 2020, over 90% of organizations shifted to some form of remote work. Few companies managed to make their remote work could as good as their in-office culture. That is to be expected as it requires a completely different mindset.
In physical offices, company culture tends to be strong in teams that have frequent social interactions - through morning coffee chats, team lunches or greeting a colleague in the hallway. These small opportunities to engage with team members allows employees to build genuine bonds and connections with teammates they may not interact with on daily basis, providing a sense of belonging.
Companies freshly transitioning to remote work may attempt to maintain their company culture by replicating all physical activities through Zoom meetings or “informal” Slack/Microsoft Teams channels. These platforms, however, are primarily designed for work-related structured collaboration and communication. They were never built for employee engagement and as such fail to recreate the comradery of being together in-person.
Existing platforms are primarily designed for work-related structured collaboration and communication. They were never built for employee engagement and as such fail to recreate the comradery of being together in-person.
Without a true alternative to in-person interactions, company culture has quickly eroded as remote work has become the new norm. 53% of people working remote feel less connected to their colleagues, and 1 in 5 feel lonely in a remote work arrangement. In addition, 45% of employees have considered leaving their current organization because of these challenges. It’s clear that remote company culture cannot be ignored if companies want to survive--and thrive--in the new normal.
The first step to build a remote work culture that is enjoyable yet productive and not intrusive is to recognize that not everyone socialise in the same one. What may work for engineers may not work for sales people.
To help remote teams build a great virtual company culture, we looked at the hundreds of interactions that happened in the office and tried to bring the most important ones within a virtual space. By allowing teams to engage with the right mix of work and social activities, not only does everyone benefit from working remotely, but they also do so in an enjoyable, fun and fulfilling way!
We’ve put together 7 practical steps to help you revive the culture within your team, regardless of where you!
Building a successful virtual culture is more than selecting the right online tools or doling out perks. . Instead, companies need to create an environment that helps employees feel as connected to their colleagues as to their companies. This is key to help employees achieve both their personal goals and the company vision. Here are a few practical ideas to get you started:
Back in the ‘real world’, you’d be able to tap your colleague’s shoulder and ask them a quick question. This was great for quick and effective problem solving. We tend to find innovative solutions to complex issues by talking things out and the more we tall the more innovative solutions we can come up with.
Working remotely has removed our ability to hold these frequent quick bursts interactions, resulting in a bigger disconnect and silos within teams. On the flip side, it’s had a positive impact on individuals’ autonomy and productivity.
Although building a strong remote work culture requires a more than a few initiatives, starting with frequent coworking and more frequent quick conversations can show surprising benefits
By coworking with your teammates, you will be able to promotes tap-on-the-shoulder moments to stay connected and aligned while every single person has flexibility to get in and out of the space, dependent on bandwidth. This allows people to support and feel supported – which is even truer for new joiners – without hurting productivity.
Coffee chats or “watercooler” conversations are a lot more valuable than we first thought. Connecting with teammates personally such as sharing what your baby did over the weekend or how you are feeling builds rapport and empathy - which are critical to good working relationships. These interactions that used to happen naturally ceased to exist in a remote environment. This has led to an increase of feeling isolated and lonely when working remotely
With Kosy, you can create a social lounge where people working remotely can catch-up and have hearted conversations. Time in the social lounge can be even more engaging by launching icebreakers or your favourite game of two truths and a lie!
Communicating online misses a lot of important elements of conversations that we take for granted in person like the tone of voice, visual cues and body language. This can make effective collaboration difficult. In addition, long email chains are inefficient, if the same result can be achieved through a quick discussion.
Encourage employees to interact on video as often as possible. For example, some organizations have released video-first policies that encourage employees to interact first by video. If the video doesn’t work, you could then try a call, a chat message, or email as a last resort. This may be uncomfortable for the first few weeks, but it significantly pays back at scale.
When working remotely, teammates tend to work in silo and rely more heavily with their direct teammates. Although sometimes uncomfortable, chance encounters such as spending a 5 minute elevatr ride with a colleague from another department are gone, removing the opportunity to create bonds across departments.
To ensure cross-functional collaboration, find ways to encourage employees to get involved together. For example, invite a salesperson to your weekly product roadmap meeting or marketing campaign brainstorm. Better yet, invite employees from other departments to participate in job candidate interviews. These exchanges will create stronger team bonds and encourage new perspectives that increase creativity.
We've all been in a boring virtual event where we were half paying attention to a teammate rambling and half browsing the web. We've all quickly grown tired of the monotony of Zoom calls for the workday and don't want to have another one for social purposes.
Instead of conducting events on the same video conference platform used for most meetings, you can try to create a social calendar with a variety of activities and events across different platforms. Organise a speed-dating 1 on 1, an escape game or bring in someone from your network that you know is interesting to give a TED Talk presentation. Following this session, organize a virtual happy hour where your team can discuss the event or simply catch-up.
Be intentional about giving your employees time and access to engage with your CEO and top management team. Create transparency about where your business is heading and reserve time for employees to ask questions, crowdsource solutions, and drill down into points of interest.
An open-book approach has the power to create a high level of trust and provide value-driven autonomy. At Kosy, we’ve seen CEOs jump around between co-working spaces to welcome new hires and have quick chats with various employees.
Celebrating positive moments together is still important for remote teams. The equivalent of the gong in physical offices when a new deal is signed or popping a champagne bottle is harder to replicate when working remotely. Creating virtual spaces and rituals for celebrations and socializing can strengthen relationships and make teams closer and more collaborative.
At Kosy, one company made it a habit for top leadership to personally congratulate any big milestone or deals that comes in. Creating moments where you can celebrate successes and promote social connection is important and will do wonders for team morale.
Remote work is here to stay, at Kosy, we strive to help remote teams be happy, connected, and productive.
Our virtual office platform is built to recreate the social interactions teams are craving. Try Kosy for free today to see how a virtual office can help.
Kosy is a virtual space where you and your remote team can work and hang out together. Kosy makes spending time with your remote team fun & productive.