The COVID-19 pandemic ushered the world even further into the digital age. Companies in all industries had to adapt to remote working conditions with little time to prepare.
This presented many challenges – communicating effectively with employees working from home, monitoring progress on key initiatives, ensuring deadlines are still met, continuing to grow as a company, and many more.
This article takes a deep dive into what remote work culture is, why it’s important in today’s corporate climate, and how to create and maintain a strong remote work culture over the long term.
You will also learn about some of the best tools to manage remote teams and optimize their output.
Table of Contents
- Why Is Remote Work Culture Important?
- 10 Tips For Creating And Maintaining a Strong Remote Work Culture
- The Best Tools For Creating Remote Work Culture
Remote work culture is the foundation of successful business operations in the digital age.
Let’s find out why.
Why Is Remote Work Culture Important?
Here are some statistics to ground our discussion:
- 74% of professionals surveyed expect remote work to become standard.
- 97% of employees surveyed do not want to work in the office full-time – meaning they would prefer to work either fully remote or a hybrid of both.
- 61% of employees surveyed want to work remotely full-time.
- 30% of employees surveyed say they are highly likely to quit their jobs and work elsewhere if their employer eliminates remote work.
- Two-thirds of employees surveyed believe long-term remote work will either have no effect or a positive effect on workplace culture.
It seems remote work is here to stay, either in a full-time or hybrid format.
Companies that choose to continue offering remote work must establish a company-wide remote work culture if they wish to stay organized, work effectively, keep remote employees happy, and continue to grow.
What Is Remote Work Culture?
Remote work culture includes the values, attitudes, and expectations a company has regarding remote teams and their work. It includes how remote employees stay connected, how they work together, what actions are rewarded, and what systems are in place to facilitate employee engagement.
Remote work culture extrapolates the company culture into the digital landscape. It also helps companies maintain the cultural standards they have in person and adopt new standards for digital work.
For example, let’s say part of a company’s culture is to encourage open communication between employees and higher-ups. In-person, this would include an open-door policy and frequent facetime.
To adapt this aspect of company culture to remote work, the company would need to create online best practices so employees and higher-ups could maintain a similar level of accessibility to one another while keeping workflows efficient and effective.
Why Having Strong Remote Work Culture Is Important
Especially for high-value skills, most employees consider workplace culture more important than salary when considering joining or leaving a company.
If we expect this trend to continue, a strong culture is important for attracting talent and keeping it. It can help a company stand out and attract employees who resonate with the remote work culture it has created.
Positive cultures are also key to employees’ sense of belonging, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. A strong remote work culture can counteract the negative effects of remote isolation and help build long-term relationships within the company.
If an employee can still feel valued and connected to the company without seeing coworkers in-person, that can help foster increased workplace satisfaction and more productive employee output.
On the other hand, if employees don’t have a positive day-to-day experience working remotely, this can have the opposite effect. Employees can feel less valued and less connected to the company. Ultimately, this can hinder job satisfaction, productivity, and employee retention.
Simply put, strong remote work culture is good for business all around. It helps facilitate communication between all interested parties, it maintains and can improve morale, and it can help retain employees over the long term and lower the attrition rate.
10 Tips For Creating And Maintaining a Strong Remote Work Culture
We know a strong remote work culture can have far-reaching benefits, but how do you create one?
In addition, how do you maintain a strong remote work culture while working either part-time or full-time in the digital landscape?
Here are some tips companies can implement to create and maintain a strong remote work culture in 2022 and beyond:
1. Frequent Communication
Frequent communication is a vital part of well-oiled remote company culture. It can be easy for companies to fall into the trap of organizing fewer meetings and facetime.
While this can reduce micro-management and increase productivity in some cases, the lines of communication need to be open, so relevant stakeholders can stay on the same page.
To make sure the lines of communication stay open, try establishing an “open inbox” policy with the higher-ups in the company. Let employees know that your email or direct message inbox is open for questions or concerns regarding projects and other company matters.
In an office setting, employees can walk over to another person’s desk if they need to have a conversation.
In a virtual environment, communication methods change and need to integrate into the remote company culture. This way, everyone knows how much communication is appropriate or not.
One way to do this is to create a set of communication best practices and send them out company-wide. This helps every employee understand what types of remote communication methods are available and what is expected of them.
These best practices can also be adjusted and improved to adapt to changing work conditions over time.
2. Invest In Remote Work Culture Tools
Remote collaboration tools were already gaining more traction in corporate culture before the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, now companies are finding them critical to maintaining efficient and effective business operations.
Investing in remote work culture tools can positively impact the bottom line. These tools help team members communicate better, transfer necessary files back and forth, share screens, and manage their time effectively.
They can even help companies reward employees for their remote work. These tools are a godsend for fostering a positive workplace culture for virtual teams.
3. Empower Your Team With Relevant Information
The keyword here is “relevant.”
In the transition to remote work, companies may feel like they need to feed employees an avalanche of information to compensate for not being in person.
However, it’s best to relay the information that is most relevant to them. This includes new policies, updated digital workflows, and new expectations moving forward.
Most corporate employees can be self-motivated when given the proper tools and information to do their work effectively. Supply team members with the information they need to get the job done, and they will most likely do the rest without unnecessary oversight.
4. Mentally Stimulate Your Employees
Corporate employees are natural problem solvers. Therefore, job satisfaction tends to include mental stimulation.
If projects feel stale and lifeless, highly skilled workers are less likely to stick around.
To keep employees mentally stimulated, make sure tasks and projects are thoughtfully delivered to keep employees engaged and invested in their work.
5. Build Traditions
Most employees want work to be fun in some way. Corporate traditions, even in the online landscape, can make work more interesting.
Maybe on Fridays, everyone orders pizza for lunch and eats it together on a video call. Maybe everyone does the Wordle every Wednesday and competes to see who can figure it out in the least attempts.
Little traditions like this can increase remote employee satisfaction and help develop social bonds within the company – even if employees never see each other in person.
6. Develop An Events Calendar
An events calendar is key to remote work culture.
People need to know what is happening and when. When are regular meetings scheduled? When are new events coming up? What do people need to prepare for, and how long do they have to prepare?
Developing an events calendar will often lead to better individual and team productivity. This is also a useful starting point for maintaining good calendar management practices.
Keep running documentation of events so employees can stay in the know.
7. Be Open To Feedback
Remote work is no place for egos to surface and become bottlenecks to company growth. While working online, employees and higher-ups should still be open to receiving feedback on their work.
A huge part of company culture is dictating how feedback is given and on what types of work. Remote work requires employees to be more active in how they communicate with one another. Feedback needs to be given at appropriate times and through the appropriate channels.
As a company, you need to decide whether certain types of feedback should be made public to other team members or if it should be sent privately through email or direct message.
This ensures the proper respect is given to the employee or employees receiving feedback. At the same time, it makes sure managers deliver necessary feedback on time.
8. Reward Employees
When employees feel valued for their work, they are much more motivated to do even better work for the company.
When employees are regularly rewarded, workplace satisfaction increases enormously, and people generally enjoy their jobs more.
It is not different in a remote setting. Employees want to know their work is valued.
Set parameters for rewarding work, so team leaders know how and when to give it, and let employees know how their work can be rewarded.
9. Establish Connections Between Employees
Defining corporate culture can be difficult as there are various types, but the main principle of corporate culture is that it centers around employee connections.
A person interacts with their coworkers as much as, or sometimes more than, their friends and family members outside of work.
In other words, those connections are important.
To create and maintain a strong remote work culture, put processes in place that help employees establish connections with one another.
10. Promote A Healthy Work-Life Balance
Finally, one of the aspects many employees like about remote work is the increased work-life balance that can come with it.
Not commuting means they can wake up later and get a better night of sleep. They also have more time to take care of their family and household duties. They also have more time to take care of themselves with healthy meals and exercise.
However, some employees may not take advantage of these benefits. Therefore, promoting a healthy work-life balance through your remote work culture can show employees you care about their well-being. It can also remind other employees to take care of themselves.
The Best Tools For Creating Remote Work Culture
A remote work culture cannot function properly without the tools necessary for efficient and effective business operations.
Here are the best tools to make sure your remote teams function to the best of their abilities:
1. Time Doctor
Time Doctor is a software that helps companies track how employees spend their working time. Some of the key features include:
- Track time spent on each task, project, or client
- Track how long breaks last
- Daily and weekly summary reports
- Online timesheets and payroll features, fully customizable
- Create tasks, assign projects, and track progress on projects
- Track budgeting for each project
- Track which websites employees visit
- Keystroke logging
- Employees can view their own time statistics and make adjustments accordingly
- Distraction alerts if the software notices you’ve gone off-task
- Available on all devices
- Integrates with popular project management and accounting tools, like Slack, Trello, and QuickBooks
- Highly customizable – meaning most options can be turned on or off by managers
- Work-life balance monitoring. Time Doctor can spot signs of burnout in individual employees
- All information is encrypted for privacy and security
- White labeling for client access under your domain
Companies that require detailed time management can benefit greatly from a tool like Time Doctor.
Time Doctor’s value centers around the availability of features and its customizability. Managers have a range of time tracking options to choose from to fit their management style and what is best for their teams.
The tool comes with a 14-day free trial. The Standard version for one user costs $10 per month, while the Premium version costs $20 per month. Time Doctor pricing scales up as more users are required.
Awardco is an employee reward and recognition platform. The software can be customized and automated to suit each company’s workflow and priorities.
The reward network includes Amazon Business, which offers discounts, free shipping, and recurring delivery tailored to business operations.
Awardco points can be used for hotels, event tickets, company merch, gift cards, or charitable donations. Employees can even choose their rewards.
Awardco lets you automate birthday celebrations, service awards, company milestones, and more. Employees can also earn points for completing a survey, a quarterly goal, or even a fitness challenge.
A rewards platform, like Awardco, can help companies integrate employee recognition into their remote work culture and improve employee retention.
flair has various useful features for remote teams like payroll, time tracking, and recruiting, to name a few. Although, for the purpose of creating a strong remote work culture, their performance and goals feature is very useful in this regard.
By providing ongoing feedback, employers motivate employees by valuing their work. Furthermore, employers can mentally stimulate their employees by reviewing performance and setting goals.
Lastly, as the HR manager, you can be open to feedback by customizing your own questionnaires. You can effortlessly do this by using the right online form builder tool.
flair’s pricing starts at €3 per employee per month (billed monthly). There are three plans to choose from Essential, Growth, and Performance.
Nectar is another employee recognition platform that helps companies improve employee retention.
It offers features that help companies build an environment of trust with employees, promote cultural values, and foster team building.
Teams can choose the core values they want to promote and recognize other team members who exemplify those values. This helps employees not only feel valued by their bosses but also by their peers.
The Nectar rewards suite includes Amazon items, branded swag, digital gift cards, and more.
Managers can also set up the software to reward employees for completing challenges, like taking additional remote training or writing a company review.
It has a robust free option that allows for unlimited users. They also offer Standard and Plus options for additional features.
Slack is one of the most popular tools to increase employee productivity. The platform allows teams to easily message one another, transfer files back and forth, organize chat rooms, and more.
Slack’s messaging platform is organized into channels that allow teams to separate conversations and foster daily interactions. Slack Connect also allows teams to collaborate easily with teams at other companies.
Slack integrates with popular corporate tools like Google Drive, Office 365, and 2,200 more.
The software has a free option, and its pricing scales up with increased users and features.
6. The Go Game
The Go Game puts on team-building activities and events for professionals. They specialize in utilizing play to turn skeptical employees into enthusiastic team players.
In 2020, they launched Weve, a virtual meeting platform to connect remote employees and help build team cohesion.
This gamified video-conferencing platform lets employees enjoy fun and engaging virtual events. These events include trivia, brainteasers, Pictionary, fact matching, lip sync battles, and more. You can even get a live host from Weve.
Weve is priced on a per-event basis, starting at $299 for a single room that can host up to 10 people.
Monday.com is a versatile project management tool. Managers can use it for:
- Creative and design management
- IT management
- Software development
- Marketing management
- Sales and CRM
- Task management
It is a work operating system for customizing workflows and promoting team alignment and efficiency.
Monday.com has a free plan for up to two users, and its basic plan starts at $8 per user per month.
8. Let’s roam
Let’s Roam lets an entire team host virtual game nights. Users are broken up into teams using built-in video conferencing.
This platform is perfect for remote work cultures that want to help with building trust and connection between employees.
Let’s Roam has a 7-day free trial. After which, it is priced at $19.99 per month for unlimited games.
Assembly helps teams create customizable workflows that help teams stay on schedule with what needs to be accomplished daily.
These workflows can include casual check-ins, employee engagement, productivity, team communication, employee feedback, recruiting, and more.
Hypercontext is a meeting application geared towards high-performing teams with clear goals. The app helps streamline meetings, goals, and even morale into one workflow to keep teams operating at a high level.
Hypercontext is great for remote sales teams. Their basic plan is free, and their Pro and Business plan is to scale up based on team members and additional features.
Zoom is the most popular video conferencing platform on the market right now. It allows teams to conduct video meetings, text chats, phone meetings, and online events.
It is the first video conferencing platform most remote teams turn to due to its reliability and popularity.
One of the best things about this tool is that there are valuable integrations available for Zoom apps that can help you focus on the meeting at hand and truly be present, rather than toggling between tasks.
Zoom has a free option for meetings up to 40 minutes long. Their Pro, Business, and Enterprise options scale up based on meeting length and additional features.
Remote work culture is one of the most important initiatives for companies to prioritize moving forward.
Many tools and resources are available to make the transition seamless and increase overall productivity.
Tools like Notion and Asana are also available to help managers and employees keep things running smoothly in their professional lives.
This is not likely the last time a momentous shift will happen in the corporate world. However, companies and employees have ample resources to adapt and take advantage of the changing landscape.
Darya Jandossova Troncoso is a photographer, artist, and writer working on her first novel and managing a digital marketing blog – MarketSplash. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, creating art, and learning everything there is to know about digital marketing.