Maintaining company culture is crucial to an organization’s success. Team members must share key values, beliefs, and general attitudes about how they should behave at the office. This is key to boosting and sustaining engagement.
The problem is, consistently maintaining company culture may be challenging when numerous employees are suddenly working from home. That’s important to understand in today’s context, as many companies have been forced to adopt remote work policies with little preparation. This has resulted in a few challenges, such as keeping an organization’s culture alive.
That’s not to say this challenge is insurmountable. On the contrary, there are numerous steps companies can take to ensure everyone remains on board with the company culture, even if everyone’s working in different places. Read on to learn how.
Before exploring how organizations can maintain a consistent culture among remote workers, it’s important to admit that the culture must change to some degree. These changes will primarily affect how current employees communicate with one another, and they will also affect how companies onboard new hires.
For example, perhaps a company has traditionally required most employees to come into the office, where the open office layout has facilitated a culture of easy communication. With few barriers between employees, coworkers can easily approach each other and their supervisors with any questions or comments they may have. This somewhat casual approach to communication would be a subtle but defining element of the organization’s overall culture.
That would inevitably change when the entire workforce no longer shares an office. The company can adjust, but that style of communication will no longer be possible. The company’s decision-makers must prepare for this inevitable change.
Embrace the Future
This ties into the first point. By accepting certain changes quickly, companies can institute new processes to replace those that are no longer practical. In many cases, it’s best to consider the possibility that these processes will not be temporary. Instead, they will become natural aspects of the overall culture that may persist even after operations return to “normal.”
Before the coronavirus pandemic, many companies were already adopting remote work policies to a greater degree than ever before. The current situation may have simply hastened the process for some organizations. Also, a certain degree of remote work may become a permanent policy in the future.
Accepting that the current situation may foreshadow the future allows companies to prioritize the aspects of company culture that should not change in the long run. While communication and onboarding processes may permanently shift, organizations can focus on maintaining other aspects of the company culture, such as shared values.
There are many reasons why remote work has been growing in popularity for years. One is the simple fact that today’s digital tools make coordinating and staying in touch with others easier than ever. Companies can use these tools to offer alternatives to certain ingrained elements of their cultures.
For example, several Austin-based companies are changing the way they maintain their company culture. These companies have traditionally built trust and friendliness among team members by hosting get togethers after work. Because coworkers are no longer able to go out with one another, the companies are adapting accordingly. Some are organizing virtual “happy hours” in which employees use video conferencing and telecommuting software to “meet up” for drinks after work from the comfort of their own homes.
This example reveals how companies don’t need to abandon certain elements of their culture simply because employees are no longer sharing an office. By using the right tools, they can organize alternatives.
It’s also important for executives to consider how they can ensure the perks associated with the company culture remain in place. For example, many organizations cultivate a positive work environment by providing employees with free snacks or meals. A modification of this perk would be to offer coupons on food delivery services.
None of this is to suggest that all of the changes in today’s work environment will remain permanent. In time, many companies will return to a degree of normalcy. However, right now they have to adapt. The way they do may help them successfully adapt to similar changes in the future.