Don’t let remote work rot your company culture

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If your business is anything like ours, you’ve decided to make the shift to remote work permanent.

Once the pandemic hit, we all thought working from home would be a temporary fix. However, over time and ups and downs, we found that our team had reached a pace in which they were starting to really appreciate the remote work lifestyle. And we weren’t alone. 94% of employers say that since remote work, work productivity is the same or better.

The only issue, however, is the cost remote work can have on your company culture. And when you’ve worked hard to establish a specific culture and environment, remote work can be a huge detriment.

But it doesn’t have to. With all the technology we have, we can find ways to maintain and even strengthen the bonds we’ve worked so hard to build within our businesses, even if those walls no longer physically exist.

Here are some ways to make sure your company culture is still strong despite your team working in different locations.

Related: Remote Work Is Here to Stay: Are You Ready for the New Way of Life?

1. Find the right technology

Most companies have already invested in some sort of communication platform, whether remote or not. At Benchmark Email, we use Slack to keep our teams in over six regions aligned and ensure there’s a quick and easy way for people to connect when needed. Slack works for us because if we need to connect quickly (and a typed message won’t do), we can enter an audio meeting or call each other through the platform.

Slack is great for quick work-related issues. However, when it comes to a remote social gathering, there are tons of other meeting tools that you might find beneficial. Zoom or Go-To-Meeting can be great for bringing a group of people together for a digital happy hour, lunch meeting, or team bonding-focused meeting.

Related: 5 Tools to Help Your Business Work Remotely

2. Create a budget and a culture team

A culture budget not only sets aside resources dedicated to cultivating and growing your company culture, but can also serve as a reminder so that company culture doesn’t get overlooked.

With a remote team, it can be easy for individuals to work within their own silos, focusing on their particular tasks at hand, then clocking in when they’re done for the day. But with a group of people dedicated to the efforts of your company culture, you can be sure that these efforts remain consistent.

It is essential that this does not turn into a situation of “forced pleasure”. Nobody likes having cultural events, so they can just check the box and say they did something to bring the team together remotely. Make sure your company culture team takes the time to fully understand the type of virtual events and activities that employees will enjoy participating in, otherwise your company culture can completely crumble.

Related: Remote Team Management: 7 Best Practices

3. Be generous

Don’t let team members feel left out. Large or small, your company’s remote team can feel isolated at times. While some people don’t mind working more independently, others may not think they’re a great asset to the company as a whole.

Keep track of important milestones, like birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. Use them as opportunities to give your employees something special to remind them that they matter and are truly appreciated. You can send them a gift card to their favorite restaurant, a book you think they’d like to read, or a free class of their choice (pottery anyone?).

4. Schedule in-person meetings

Hosting an annual company-wide party is always a great way to get the team together, in one place, to have a good time. It can be as simple as a dinner party or, if your budget allows, you can rent event space and scale it up. Anything that matches the type of crop you’ve been working to grow is what you should be aiming for.

It is important to consider if you have many teammates in the same region or area. If so, you can organize more frequent meetings for these regions, which can help create a sense of community for smaller groups within the company. We plan monthly lunches for our team in St. Louis.

Just because your company has chosen to adopt the remote work structure does not mean that your company culture will deteriorate. You’ve worked hard to establish a strong company culture, and there are things you can do to make sure it stays strong and on track, even if your team isn’t in the same building. Use the tips above to invest in your remote culture to keep your employees happy, engaged, and loyal.

Related: Offering $2,000 to Quit Smoking and Other Innovative Ways for Companies to Keep Employees Happy and Motivated

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