How to Preserve Company Culture and Effectively Manage Collaboration in Remote Work

In this article, we discuss the respective importance of maintaining company culture and ensuring smooth collaboration.

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First things first, remote work is not a new practice. But at the same time, it has never even been so prevalent ever before, until covid-19 turned our collective lives upside down. As global lockdowns took effect, organisations had to shut their offices to try and contain the virus. And thus, we dawned into a new age of remote work.

What started as a necessity, a reaction to the testing times, is slowly developing into a newfound alternative and supplement to office work. Even as offices are reopening, the demands for hybrid work culture (a strategic mix of office and remote work) and partial remote working arrangements are echoing in the corporate world.

Remote work has assumed a place in the zeitgeist and our daily lives. Given that, it’s only natural that organisations want to make the best out of it. In the same sequence, the two biggest concerns organisations have regarding remote work are:

• How to preserve and nurture company culture in remote work environments?
• How to ensure collaboration across teams in remote work environments?

If you want the answers to these questions, you have come to the right place!

In this article, firstly we will discuss the respective importance of maintaining company culture and ensuring smooth collaboration. Secondly, we will discuss how you can sustain company culture with remote teams. Finally, we will discuss ways in which you can help employees collaborate efficiently in remote work environments. So without further ado, let’s begin.

Why Is It So Crucial to Preserve and Sustain Company Culture?


Before we discuss the importance of company culture in an organisation, we must define what company culture is.

Company culture is the way things operate within an organisation. It is a sum of various systems, values, goals, behaviours, and attitudes that you expect everyone in the organisation to adhere to. The cumulative effect of these factors dictates how everything gets done in a workplace.

Company culture also defines how different people inside an organisation interact with each other. Additionally, it dictates how you approach decision-making. Some other elements of a company’s culture include leadership style, company’s mission, ethics, expectations, and more.

Moreover, it is crucial to note that you cannot build a company culture overnight. It is a continuous and time taking process and takes a collective effort from employees, management, HR, and the top leadership.

Now, coming back to the main discussion. Why is it that company culture is so vital for an organisation?

Maintaining company culture is important because of the following reasons:

• It ensures that everybody in the organisation is living up to the core values of the organisation.
• Your organisation’s company culture goes on to define its internal and external identity. More than your outreach ideas and marketing efforts, it is your company culture that sets the tone of your public identity.
• You can retain more people and keep them happy in their job roles if your company’s culture creates a sense of community and belongingness.
• Strong company culture can play a huge role in transforming individual performances into team efforts. In short, a desirable company culture helps in team building.
• When you have a well-functioning culture, it acts as a guiding light for new people on board. Your company’s culture can play a vital role in onboarding new employees and making them feel comfortable in a new environment.
• If you have a strong company culture, it can turn your employees into advocates for your company. On the other hand, if the culture is not up to employee expectations, they can quickly become your worst critics.
• Everything said and done, company culture can play a significant role in ensuring employee wellbeing and performance. A friendly, uplifting, and healthy work culture creates a balance between the work and personal lives of employees.

Why Is It So Crucial to Ensure Smooth Collaboration in an Organisation?


It is no secret that the success of any given organisation relies on how well its employees can work together. Collaboration is the practice where multiple people work together towards a singular goal. It enables a group of individuals to work together to make unified decisions.

When it comes to collaboration at the workplace, it amounts to employees and team members working together and agreeing on the processes required for achieving the end goal. Collaboration is an essential practice for the success of any organisation and remains a cornerstone of efficiency in the office and remote settings alike.

Some of the major reasons why it’s crucial to ensure collaboration in a company are as follows:

• Collaboration is a great asset to aid problem-solving. When employees with varied skill-sets work together to achieve a singular end goal, their combined efforts can solve problems easily.
• Collaboration plays a huge role in connecting a team to the bigger picture at play. It means that collaboration helps break silos within an organisation and fosters a feeling of working together to achieve a bigger end goal. In short, it helps shift focus from short-term goals to long-term ones.
• Collaboration also helps with innovation. When employees with diverse expertise and knowledge closely work together, they can brainstorm more and come up with new ideas. These new ideas have the potential to turn into creative solutions for a range of problems.
• With collaboration, an organisation can improve its proficiency in guaranteeing employee satisfaction. A collaborative work environment ensures that employees feel heard and valued. When that happens, employees feel happy and give their best efforts. Happier employees feel more accountable to the company.
• Collaboration becomes even more important when it comes to remote work. You need to take all possible measures to create a sense of collaborative environment between team members sitting at different places. Your remote teams can stay aligned, involved, updated, and connected if you ensure healthy collaboration between them.

Ways to Preserve Company Culture in Remote Work

By now, we have learned about the invaluable importance of having a strong company culture. So, let’s look at how we can preserve and sustain it in remote work environments.

1. Ensure Honesty, Openness, and Complete Transparency in All Interactions


Transparency in operations is arguably one of the most crucial facets of maintaining company culture with remote employees. You need to reduce confusion, doubts, and fears by sharing information with remote employees. The idea is to ensure that your employees can trust you even in a tumultuous job environment.

Transparency is something that holds immense value for employees at various levels, be it the top-echelons or the lower ones. It is crucial for business owners and bosses, to be honest, and open with their interactions and actions.

In remote work environments, a lack of face-to-face communication may cast various doubts about the intentions of decisions taken by the management. This is where transparency, openness, and honesty help allay those fears.

Disseminating information to remote employees helps them become relieved about their positions. Trust in the intentions of the company is a vital element of healthy company culture. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the management of a company to maintain full transparency with employees working remotely.

2. Define the Culture: Explicitly Reiterate and Focus on What Culture You Expect

Since company culture dictates how everything operates within an organisation, you can reimagine certain aspects of it in remote work environments. Company culture indeed takes time to build, but you can base the new factors on the foundation built by your pre-existing company culture.

You need to sit down with team leaders and other top executives of the management and discuss what new aspects can add to your culture. These new aspects must complement remote working environments. The senior leadership needs to be proactive in evolving the company culture with changing times.

Once you have arrived at a consensus, explicitly reiterate and inform the remote employees about the new changes in how things need to be approached. You must bring the remote employees on the same page and focus on defining the work culture you expect them to follow.

The idea is that regular reiteration and reminders help employees adopt at a faster pace. For example, if you want your remote team members to have lunch together virtually, do it regularly to make it a part of the remote work culture.

3. Build Trust and Show Faith in Remote Employees

Transparency in operations is probably one of the guiding factors in building trust between remote employees and an organisation. Any company’s culture can only be a healthy one if it values trust-building with employees.

You can ensure that employees uphold the company culture when you respect and trust them. You can maintain a positive work culture in remote work environments by showing faith and confidence in your employees and their abilities.

A lack of trust and faith can create unnecessary stress among remote employees. Stressed employees will find it hard to adhere to the company culture and work to their full potential. Stressed employees will get demotivated to be accountable to the company, which in turn is detrimental to the company culture.

Therefore, it’s crucial that managers have faith in remote employees and don’t try to micromanage their work. A little trust goes a long way.

4. Reiterate the Core Values of the Company: Enforce Them

You must ensure that everything your remote employees do is based on the core values of the company. The core values of your company are an indispensable part of the company culture. Be it the sales tactics, recruiting methods, marketing strategies, you name it, the core values of your company should shine through all aspects.

For remote employees to work around these values, you need to reiterate these values continually and create a subconscious impression in their minds. These values should be the anchor that holds all processes together. Everyday decision-making across all remote teams should be supported by these values.

5. Pay Attention to Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance

A healthy company culture values and prioritises caring for its employees. Your employees are the life force behind your company, and a crucial part of your company culture should be to pay attention to helping them stay happy.

You can preserve and sustain company culture in remote settings when you pay close attention to ensuring a healthy work-life balance for your employees. You can enforce a better work-life culture by doing a range of things which include:

• Offering flexible leave policies.
• Creating virtual activities to engage them better and relieve work-related stress.
• Acknowledging the remote work-induced challenges and helping them navigate through them.
• Ensuring that remote employees spend quality time with their families without being stressed about work.

6. Maintain Flexibility

Adding to the work-life balance aspect of remote employees, the flexibility of working conditions also plays a vital role in maintaining company culture. When you allow your remote employees to have flexibility in their work schedules, they can better manage their personal and professional life.

Flexible remote working environments offer much-required freedom to employees. When employees have that freedom, they start looking at work from a new, positive perspective. The ability to define their own schedules helps them take control of their life in general.

When your employees feel that they are in the driver’s seat, they feel more productive and strive to stick to the values of the company. Therefore, flexibility in remote work is a great catalyst to preserving and sustaining company culture.

7. Attend to the Mental Health of Employees

Several trends show that remote working environments may adversely impact the mental health of employees. Therefore, in addition to helping remote employees strike a fine work-life balance, you must pay close attention to their mental health.

Loneliness, stress, missing interaction with coworkers, and other factors can combine to hamper the mental health of remote workers. Mental health issues can be detrimental to their normal lives, job, and future.

Therefore, you should create employee assistance programs(EAPs) to lend a helping hand to your employees. Take them into confidence and create an environment where they can share their mental health issues with someone in the team. Again, trust-building is very crucial in this aspect.

You can’t expect to uphold the company culture without ensuring that remote employees feel healthy in their minds.

Ways to Ensure Collaboration in Remote Work

Collaboration between teams is an essential part of the efficient functioning of any organisation. Therefore, let’s look at some ways in which you can ensure healthy and fruitful collaboration in remote work.

1. Be Clear in Setting Goals

You need to ensure that the team members are all on the same page about the bigger picture. In other words, each team member should effectively know what is expected of them. Setting clear goals helps you do that.

When you set solid goals, it becomes easier for different team members to perform their job roles keeping in mind those end goals. As a result, the remote team members can work in close collaboration to achieve the final goals.

2. Leverage the Latest Tech Tools: Ensure Real-Time Communication

Remote work requires you to make the best of available technology to ensure healthy and effective collaboration. Virtual collaboration requires integrated workflows and cloud-based solutions such as Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive to deliver the same.

Collaboration also requires one on one interaction between team members. Therefore, you must rely heavily on video conferencing tech tools such as Zoom, Skype, and the like. Video calls give a better sense of interaction than simple voice calls or text messages.

You can ensure collaboration between your remote team members if you know how to integrate the best technology solutions to your remote workflow.

3. Recurring Meetings Go a Long Way

Set online meetings for team members on a fixed time recurrently. When employees are aware of the meeting time in advance, they expect to be free at the time of the meeting. Recurring meetings push employees to schedule their work calendars accordingly.

Virtual team meetings can play a vital role in ensuring collaboration between team members. Team members can brainstorm, discuss, engage, agree, and disagree to make better decisions in the pursuit of the end goal.

4. Rely on Time Management Systems

In the sequence of using tech for better remote collaboration, you should start relying on time management systems. Any organisation can only be efficient when they manage their time and keep track of processes.

A time management system is a boon for remote time management. It is a wonderful resource that helps you stay on top of your goals. It does so by tracking the time spent in each step by all remote employees. You can better manage your remote teams when you know how they spend their time as they work. Better time management helps improve overall collaboration in the organisation.

5. Communicate More

Any organisation can only thrive when various levels of employees communicate effectively. Communication is one of the cornerstones of collaboration. Especially in the case of remote work, good communication holds the key to efficient and favourable outcomes.

You can ensure better collaboration in remote work by establishing multiple communication channels between employees and managers. You should use tools such as Slack, Whatsapp, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc., to create multiple communication channels.

6. Track Team Progress Without Micromanaging

Ensuring collaboration requires you to track the progress of various teams in the organisation. We often see that managers end up micromanaging minute aspects of how remote employees work in the garb of tracking progress. But instead of creating a collaborative atmosphere, it ends up having a negative effect.

That said, you must track employee progress but not at the cost of snatching their breathing space. Trust your employees and take a balanced approach towards tracking.

Conclusion

We have established the inherent importance of company culture and collaboration for the success of an organisation in remote work settings. You can learn from this article how you can preserve your company culture and ensure collaboration in your remote teams.

Author Bio

Vaibhav Kakkar is the Founder and CEO of Digital Web Solutions, a globally trusted agency with a full suite of digital marketing services and development solutions. Vaibhav believes in building systems over services, and has helped scale up agencies from scratch to niche-leaders with million dollar turnovers.

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