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How to Create Rich Remote Culture

We’re two years into remote work, but that doesn’t mean we’ve perfected it. Our productivity is up, but culture can slip when we’re not together. Learning what works and what doesn’t is a curve we’re still on.

Culture doesn’t vanish with remote work – it’s just created by different systems and forms of interaction. To make sure that your company’s culture stays rich, it’s important to set up clear communication about what you want to foster. 

In the current job market, holding onto talent is competitive. Making it a point to create a welcoming and human experience is key to holding onto employees. The more valued they feel and richer your culture becomes, the happier talent will be staying on. 

But how do you make that happen?

Hold weekly virtual WIPs/quick chats

These meetings let employees stay connected to their Manager and upper leadership. Beyond creating time to discuss projects, they’re a chance for employees to connect to what’s happening in the company, giving them a chance to offer their own insight. If we’re alone at home and disconnected, it’s hard to know what we’re contributing towards or why. The more we know and included we feel, the more we connect with an organisation.

These meetings and chats are also a chance to recognize accomplishments. A 2018 Deloitte survey found that the majority of employees prefer a verbal thank-you. Taking five minutes on Zoom to acknowledge someone’s work helps create a sense of positive community. Managers don’t need an office to check in – they just need to reach out.

Celebrate the wins AND the losses

Celebration and recognition create a sense of purpose – it acknowledges how employees positively affect the larger company.

Some projects go awry, though. Not every customer comes away happy, but a rich culture celebrates the fact that that’s okay! Employees need to know that it’s okay to fail – it’s a chance for their team to learn and grow. Making the time to recognise accomplishments or valuable lessons in a weekly team meeting, over email or with tools like Kudoboard communicates a company’s values and celebrates employees’ wins.

Create systems for feedback

Whether it’s anonymous feedback pages on your company’s intranet or surveys, regular reports can make a huge difference in shaping culture. What gaps exist? What’s working? The culture you think you’ve created may not be the same one your employees experience.

Regular feedback ensures that everyone is on the same page and everyone’s opinions matter. It highlights problems that are overlooked and signals which direction Managers need to move in.

Win of the week!

Win of the Week is a great initiative to recognise talent for doing a wonderful job.

Awards can reflect what’s important to a company: earning a new client, helping team members or thinking out-of-the-box.

Employees can win a funny trophy or gift certificates. The prize doesn’t need to be big – these can be fun moments that celebrate a member of your team, letting them know that their work is seen. It reinforces that they matter and fosters the best parts of your company’s culture.

Peer-to-peer feedback

Acknowledgement shouldn’t just come from Managers – peer-to-peer celebration strengthens teams. Creating an environment where praising coworkers is common binds everyone closer.

A great way to do this are “appreciation walls” ­– virtual spaces where notes of appreciation can be posted for colleagues. Setting this up sets up an environment where coworkers feel connected and seen.

Make sure that’s it’s not just about the work

The best work culture often happens when we’re not actually working.

Make sure there’s time set aside for fun, whether at the start of meetings, afternoon team trivia or after work, guided wine tastings. Volunteer-led initiatives or wellness programs can also create opportunities for coworkers to bond over something beyond work, while online yoga or dance classes can promote health and friendships. 

Taking time to experiment with creative methods strengthens bonds, creating a culture that’s not just about work, but people.