Building Culture ‍with Remote Work

Building Culture ‍with Remote Work

In the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how companies manage their day-to-day operations, the biggest change for many companies is the change in work environment. The increase in companies working remotely has changed the way that companies operate and has changed how organizations build a strong corporate culture.  

Many small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) face the challenge of building a strong corporate culture when the team is fully remote.  

Why Is Culture So Important?

Company culture is important for many reasons; it affects how your employees and customers perceive you, it can increase employee engagement, it can decrease turnover, it helps recruit top candidates, and assists with increasing productivity.  

In our recent blog post, Build a Strong Organizational Culture, we focus on how a strong company culture is invaluable and can create a competitive advantage for your organization.

Now that we know why it is so important, and the next step is to determine the best ways of doing so. While this can look different for many companies, we have identified the key areas to focus on.  

Communication

Working remotely can cause confusion and lead to miscommunication, that’s why communication is at the top of our list. Begin with clearly stating the company’s mission and values, it is important that the employees can refer to that if they are questioning how to approach their work.

A clear policy for remote work should be outlined as well, stating the specific expectations that you as the employer have for the employee while they are working remotely. Examples of this could be regular check-in meetings, introducing workflow management systems, or defining the number of hours spent working online. You should also share as much information as possible in your public communication channels, such as a team decision, or customer feedback.

Another key part of having a communication strategy, is showing your team members that they are appreciated. You can do this in many ways, but it is important to do so publicly and privately. For example: a public shoutout on your communication forum and acknowledgement during one-on-one meetings.

Positve remote work culture
“In teamwork, silence isn't golden, it's deadly. — Mark Sanborn

Psychological Safety

What do we mean by psychological safety? Essentially, you want your team to feel comfortable to freely contribute and express their ideas without the fear of being ignored, rejected, or potentially penalized by management for doing so.

There are many ways you can help your employees feel safe in expressing themselves. Ideally this would start at the top, with management acknowledging their own mistakes and weakness, and being open to feedback and suggestions from teammates.

Encourage direct reports to voice their opinions, when you need to provide constructive feedback avoid placing blame, try to do so over video call so you can both discuss it together and come up with the best solution. Have open discussions for feedback and ask quieter team members for their opinions during virtual meetings.

Cultivate Trust

Being transparent with high-level decisions can assist with cultivating an environment of trust, which helps build a healthy remote culture. Regularly remind your team that you trust them to complete their work, especially when team members that are working from home.

remote worker, at home office

Onboarding

Bringing in new employees has always been a challenge, with remote work, it can seem impossible. You want to create a plan that will help support your new employee and allow them to be sure of what they are doing.

Preparing ahead of time, setting standards, and creating work plans for new hires will help to set them up for success. This can include meetings with coworkers or team leaders, allowing time for casual discussions online, and setting achievable short-term goals for quick wins to build confidence and trust in the organization. Check in on them regularly and start them small instead of throwing them right into the deep end.  

Team Building Exercises

Whether in person, or online here are some suggestions on team building exercises:  

1. Have a group chat to discuss non-work relate topics (food, pets, music, etc.)
2. Virtual Team Lunches or Dinners
3. Monthly Book Club
4. Friendly Virtual Competitions (Company BINGO, Trivia, etc.)
5. Home Office Tours

Avoid Burnout and Work Overloading

When people work from home, it is very easy for work life balance to fall away. It is important for you to set a clear example so that your employees do not feel like they must always be available.

If you need to contact them outside of work hours, include a note saying they do not need to reply until the next business day, or if sending an email, set it up so that it does not send until a later time. Make sure that your employees are aware on how to properly prioritize their work, so that they are not trying to get everything done as soon as possible.  

Regular Meetings

An easy way to help make up for employees no longer seeing each other every day is to have a daily meeting with the full team to check in, provide updates, and make decisions. As a team leader it is also important to check in on the team members individually, you should also schedule one-on-one calls with them periodically to check-in and address any concerns they may have.

“Trust in your employees is essential for remote work success. It also forms the underlying foundation of a great virtual culture.” — Larry English

Never Make Assumptions

Never assume that your system is perfect. Regularly ask for feedback on your remote work process and ask for any new ideas to try. You want to know which aspects of what you are doing is working and what is not. Constructive feedback is essential in doing so.

Developing culture is unique to each company, if you are not sure where to begin, BluePrint CPAs consults with small to medium sized businesses to simplify digital and talent strategies in Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent, London, Sarnia, Toronto, and Montreal. Book a consultation today to find out how you can build a great company culture.

BluePrint CPAs helps entrepreneurs in Chatham-Kent, Windsor-Essex, Sarnia and London that are looking to modernize their businesses. Our digital transformation services focus on your brand, website, management systems and re-training your team.

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Rebecca Scott
Web Designer

Rebecca is a Web Designer at BluePrint CPAs. She is a graduate of St. Clair College’s Internet Applications and Web Development Program and has worked as a freelance web designer before joining the BluePrint team.

BluePrint CPAs is a management consultancy that simplifies digital, financial and talent strategies. Our team helps entrepreneurs and their teams grow profitable and modern businesses.

Kit Moore, BluePrint CPAs President & Lead Tax Advisor
Kit Moore, CPA, CA
President & Lead Tax Advisor

Kit Moore, is an entrepreneur that simplifies digital strategy for other business owners. The team at BluePrint CPAs can assist you with web design, development, analytics, management systems and, more importantly, your overall business strategy. The toughest part of digital transformation is re-training your team - and we have pros to help with that as well.

BluePrint CPAs is a management consultancy that simplifies digital, financial and talent strategies. Our team helps entrepreneurs and their teams grow profitable and modern businesses.

Kit Moore, BluePrint CPAs President & Lead Tax Advisor
Kit Moore, CPA, CA
President & Lead Tax Advisor

Kit Moore, is an entrepreneur that simplifies tax and financial strategy for other business owners. The team at BluePrint CPAs can assist you with financial technology, tax strategies, mergers & acquisitions, succession & exit planning and, more importantly, your overall business strategy.

BluePrint CPAs is a management consultancy that simplifies digital, financial and talent strategies. Our team helps entrepreneurs and their teams grow profitable and modern businesses.

Joe Marra, MBA
Senior Associate, Strategy Consulting

Joe is a Senior Associate, Strategy Consulting at BluePrint CPAs. He is a recent graduate of the MBA Program at the Schulich School of Business and has most recently worked for Bayer Inc and the Ford Motor Company of Canada. His experience in marketing, sales, and human resources spans various industries including hospitality, logistics, life sciences and automotive manufacturing. Joe loves working with entrepreneurs to develop their digital strategies and help them grow their business.

BluePrint CPAs is a management consultancy that simplifies digital, financial and talent strategies. Our team helps entrepreneurs and their teams grow profitable and modern businesses.

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