corporate culture hero

Does Remote Working Dilute Your Corporate Culture? Well, It Doesn’t Have To.

 

“Many companies will struggle to establish a strong culture without adopting an office-centric approach.” Anonymous CEO

“Many companies will struggle to establish a strong culture without adopting an office-centric approach.” Anonymous CEO

This concern was expressed by the CEO of a middle-sized company on the topic of establishing a positive corporate culture in a world where remote working is more and more becoming the norm.

And this CEO is right in that regard, that new working models will pose a substantial challenge for corporate culture if organizations fail to adapt to this new reality. However, where we disagree at worlk is that an office-centric approach is a precondition for a strong culture. Positive examples of companies adapting to a remote-first working culture are Infosys, Alibaba, and IBM (source). What these examples all have in common is that those organizations already had strong corporate cultures before the pandemic hit and doubled down on important elements of those cultures during times of crisis. Also more and more companies are either founded as fully remote companies or switched to hybrid or fully remote work models further down the road. According to a study conducted by Owl labs, 16% of companies are already fully remote as of 2022 and this number is growing fast. Companies such as Storyblok, Zapier, or Basecamp thrive despite not having a physical office space. So how do they do it?

How Do You Establish a Corporate Culture Without Office Walls?

More, and more meaningful touchpoints

“Our ability to connect meaningfully to others is less satisfying when we’re not physically present and that shared understanding is harder to establish” (Harvard Business Review). In response, companies have to reach out to their employees more often and establish more interactive meeting formats that emphasize collaboration and creative thinking. A well-known creative meeting format from the IT/software sector is the Hackathon. Hackathons are however not limited to software development but can be quite effective in other settings as well such as Marketing and HR. Other examples of more engaging meeting formats are huddles (tools such as Slack already offer virtual huddles) or fishbowl meetings. For more information on this topic check out Fellow.

Hybrid is the future

The key to a successful remote working culture is giving employees choices. People want human interaction but not necessarily every day. There is a time for bonding with your team and there are times when employees will be more productive working without any distractions. Companies should also invest in making office work more attractive. It’s not enough to have a Nintendo Wii and a darts board. How does your company connect your employees in a meaningful way? Even fully remote companies understand the value of events that physically bring employees together. Barbecues, company retreats, or any other form of social events are more important than ever and should be planned diligently as they are highlights for your employees.

More meaningful touchpoints

Processes that worked in an office setting might not work in a remote setting.

Change your processes

Processes that worked in an office setting might not work in a remote setting. Did you ever hear of Zoom fatigue? Turning all your previously in-person held meetings into virtual calls is a sure way to exhaust your employees. Fewer and shorter meetings might be a better alternative. And because managers are no longer physically around anymore they should ensure that they provide employees with enough opportunities for one-to-one conversations, for example via virtual office hours. Changing processes might also be a good time for empowering employees by giving them more direct responsibility for results. Now is the time to question the status quo.

Monitor your employees’ mental health

Working from home over longer periods of time can negatively impact employee happiness. On one hand, companies have to find ways to engage meaningfully with employees as described above. On the other hand, monitoring your employees’ happiness is crucial for spotting health problems early. You should therefore check on your employees more frequently, not to just talk about work stuff but to check in on their wellbeing. Do they struggle with distractions at home? Do they feel isolated? A combination of surveys and in-person interviews has proven to be most successful in both identifying company-wide issues as well as addressing individual challenges. Technology can help monitor employee happiness and provide the help necessary to prevent or tackle mental health issues. Over the last years, we have seen a surge of highly sophisticated mental health apps such as BetterHelp or MoodMission. An overview of potential solutions can be found here. Also, think about giving your employees a change of scenery with the help of worlk. Being stuck at home or going through the same office routine every day can negatively impact employee motivation as well as happiness.

Monitoring employee happiness is key

How can worlk help your company create a more positive remote working experience?

New experiences enhance happiness and resilience

“Our results suggest that people feel happier when they have more variety in their daily routines—when they go to novel places and have a wider array of experiences” (Catherine Hartley, an assistant professor in New York University’s Department of Psychology, source). There is scientific evidence that exposing employees to new experiences positively correlates with employee happiness. New experiences however not only make us happier but also increase our resilience. Meeting new people, and being exposed to unused situations force our brain to cope with different settings. After having been stuck at home for such a long time many people feel a little bit unease when getting out of their comfort zones again. They so to speak have to train their social muscle. So, you can think of worlk as your training program for your social muscle ;)

Worlk helps your employees grow

Immersing into new cultures is not only good for the soul but also helps your employees develop new skills or sharpen values and competencies such as self-awareness, perspective-taking, humility, and compassion. Those are values and competencies that are key for developing the next generation of effective leaders. Sending your employees on a worlk adventure might be just the thing to unearth your employees’ leadership potential.

New experiences enhance happiness

The best business partnerships are built on friendships.

Making meaningful connections

At the core of worlk is the business community. During their stay with the hosting company, your employees have the chance to meet new people or potential new clients. They might identify intriguing synergies between organizations which then may lead to new strategic partnerships. But most importantly, they might make new friends. One of our goals at worlk is humanizing business networking because we believe the best business partnerships are built on friendships.

Streamlining the remote working process

Last but not least, worlk provides HR teams and organizations with an easy-to-use platform. Rather than starting from scratch with every remote working request, worlk provides an easy-to-use platform that saves organizations time and money. Worlk makes making employees happy easy.

Remote working is an opportunity, not a threat

For smart and progressive companies the shift to new working models is a huge opportunity and if the challenges of remote working are addressed head-on and with the right approach, it will put those organizations in the pole position for retaining and attracting top-level talent.

Find out how worlk can help you get your remote working strategy to the next level: worlk.com