How to Build Culture If You Don’t Have An Office

Companies, small and large, have embraced work-from-home setups. Entire businesses are operating completely remote. With all the positive points of working from home for both employees and employers, it looks like remote work is here to stay. 

While it is great not having to commute to work every day, it does leave some people missing the traditional office interactions. With everything happening virtually, how do office dynamics translate to the online world?

No, having an office culture isn’t a thing of the past. You can still establish a great work culture even with a remote team. Read on to discover how you can create a virtual office culture with a remote team. 

Why Do You Need Company Culture? 

Your company’s culture should be the reflection of your company’s goals and values. As a group of people continues working together, they start sharing the same common set of beliefs, behavior, and assumptions, Bloomberg explains. As people spend time together, even in virtual situations like Zoom calls, the more work culture inevitably develops. 

Work culture is oftentimes influenced by people in leadership. It is important to have people in managerial roles who promote healthy company culture, especially since not all managers are leaders.

Other influences like workplace practices, systems, and policies also have a heavy hand in how the culture is developed since these determine how employees perform and move in the business. The employees themselves are also big contributors to the workplace culture. Their personalities and values intermingle with their colleagues’.

When a company has a positive workplace culture, it has a significant impact on the happiness and satisfaction of employees. This in turn encourages better workplace retention, and higher employee engagement, as well as promotes productivity and efficiency in teams. Good work culture also attracts talent into the organization that shares and upholds the same values as your team does. 

A negative work culture, on the other hand, can be detrimental to both the employees and the company. Employee turnover rates will be higher, in turn costing the company a considerable amount as they recruit and hire new employees that may end up leaving too, once they’re fed up with the work culture. (Some common complaints of a negative work culture that can lead to employee attrition include not feeling valued, poor work/life balance, being underpaid, lack of opportunities, and lack of confidence in leadership.)

How to Cultivate Your Work Culture Without Having an Actual Office

While employees may no longer be contained in an office like in the traditional workplace of the past, focusing on the other company pillars can help you develop a culture where people can thrive. After all, the company’s culture is more than just the office perks and fun little employee activities. Focus on your team’s mission, values, and goals, and go from there. 

Talk to Your People

Always talk to your employees and listen to their input. No one is as intimately immersed in the work culture as your employees. Get on a call with them both individually one-on-one, and as a team. Layout your plan and discuss the company and team values. Share the kind of culture you want to develop. What can help everyone thrive and propel the team forward? It is important, at this stage, to establish solid and open lines of communication for everyone so you can listen to what they have to say, and vice versa. 

Have Policies in Place

To reinforce a good work culture, have policies in place that support it. Assess your current policies and see what is missing or can be improved. Consider the input of your team when creating or amending these policies. Also make sure that the policies are updated, adapted, and compliant with the current work setups of everyone involved. This just gets rid of any confusion later on. 

It is important to have all of these policies in writing so it is easier to refer back to when the need arises. And just as equally important, have these policies be accessible to everyone. Save it in a folder in your team’s cloud storage that’s really easy to find or pin it in your company’s communication platform. Should anyone need a refresher on those policies, it will be easy for them to pull up.

Adapt your Systems and Processes

Your systems and processes need to be conducive to promoting efficiency and enriching your work culture. Make sure these systems and processes are updated for your remote setup. Keep the company’s values at the core and align your systems and processes to those values. 

Using the lines of communication you established in the beginning, be transparent about your systems, workplace benefits, and other processes that are of interest to the employees. Ask and always be open to your team’s feedback as well. Taking in their ideas can motivate them and possibly even help create an even more positive work environment as a result.

Culture is Always About the People

Your work culture is first and foremost about your people. Encourage, nurture, and develop good people in your team. Support them by reinforcing all the good values of the work culture and taking action and improving those values that no longer serve your team. It all boils down to creating a culture and environment that is supposed to lift and support employees so they can perform their best. 

Listen to your employees and provide them with the proper channels to give you their honest feedback and you can do the same.

Enjoyed this article? Read A Quick Guide to Assembling and Managing Remote Teams for Entrepreneurs on the BRA Blog next!

Katie Pierce is a teacher-slash-writer who loves telling stories to an audience, whether it’s bored adults in front of a computer screen or a bunch of hyperactive 4-year-olds. Writing keeps her sane (most of the time) and allows her to enjoy some quiet time in the evening before she walks into a room of screaming kids (all of whom she loves dearly) the next morning.

Contact Katie via email: [email protected]

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