How to Keep a Strong Company Culture When People Cannot Meet In-person

Gone are the days of cubicle farms or even centralized organizations, where every employee works out of the head office, or a few satellite offices across the globe.

 

Teams can now be spread across co-working spaces, their homes, the next street over, or the other side of the world. But how do you foster a strong company culture when everyone is in a different corner of the globe?

 

Here are some tips from the Devoteam playbook.

Start with Policies

 

Set clear guidelines on the Working From Home regulations. Don’t have a WFH policy? There’s no time like the present to create one! Our tip: keep it simple, allow everyone to WFH as they see fit. When in doubt, “use your head.”

 

Over Communicate

 

At Devoteam we had an online meeting dedicated to this subject, posted to our internal chat rooms, and our intranet. Our leadership presented their expectations from all employees while they are working from home and then opened the virtual floor to let them ask questions.

 

Continue rituals and traditions

 

Most companies have created their own rituals and traditions. Shifting these traditions online helps maintain company culture. At Devoteam we have family breakfast every Thursday in the Stockholm office and every Tuesday in the Singapore office. So we started digitizing these traditions when most of us work from home. An open video call channel over lunch or fika (Swedish for coffee break) is a good starting point.

 

Nurture your company’s culture in a remote work environment

 

We have different channels for people to share their love of work and non-work-related topics. A simple thing like an Out-of-office (OOO) chat channel, where you announce if you will be OOO, in a meeting or perhaps at home with a sick child (we call it VAB). When things do get hard, people on the team tend to be really compassionate with each other—sharing a particular struggle in your life won’t be met with silence, but rather support and likely someone else who feels similarly. We work hard to keep things positive, limiting discussions that can spiral into negativity.

virtual-fika
hangouts-meet-invitation

Reinforce culture through ongoing connections

 

In-person meetings and events are important, but they’re not always convenient or possible when working from home is mandatory. To avoid the potential sense of FOMO (fear of missing out), there are other ways to make them feel like they’re included and have a voice. At Devoteam we use Happeo, our social intranet, to keep everyone updated on relevant departmental and company news. Celebrate individual milestones and big wins.

 

Keeping up the good spirits

 

Either in the office or working from home, we all need to be in a good mood. There is a strong correlation between happiness and productivity. The well-being of employees should be therefore the main concern of each manager.

 

You can increase the mood just by implementing some simple actions. Encouraging kindness, recognition, and willingness to collaborate and help to engage more to work.

Written by:

Irem Wedekind, Senior Change Management Consultant – a passionate biology enthusiast, fascinated by genetics and mutations

and

Jimmy Jigmo, Area Director APAC – Huge fanatic and advocate of company culture.

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