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Rethinking company culture: The essentials for remote and hybrid teams

By Rachel Flynn

The number of companies adapting to an online era, and the rate at which they are doing it, has forced us to rethink company culture.

The search for an alternative to post-work drinks is ongoing. But what does company culture really mean?

Forbes defines company culture as:

“A shared set of values, experiences, and behaviours that help to unite teams behind a common purpose.”

Though it may be less tangible than other markers of success, a study by Gallup showed strong company culture leads to an average of 85% net profit increase over a five-year period.

Hybrid or remote, communication remains key. With less face-to-face interaction, the responsibility to uphold a positive company culture has increased. Meanwhile, technology and innovation allows companies to work remotely without losing what makes them tick. Here’s how we think you can do it.

Employee wellbeing 🙏🏻

Employee wellbeing is no longer an HR buzzword, but a vital part of retaining staff and maximising productivity. According to a survey in 2021 by the remote work platform Flexjobs, 80% of remote workers reported lower levels of stress since transitioning to remote work — thanks to flexible work hours, reduced commute time and an ability to work in a comfortable environment. It’s no wonder pyjama suits were dubbed “the next big thing.

But remote working offers new challenges; isolation, a lack of motivation, and a difficulty to find a work-life balance. The impact it has on mental health can vary from person-to-person.

To look after employees’ mental health, the World Health Organisation recommends manager mental health training, and initiatives for workers to build skills to manage stress and reduce mental health symptoms, such as leisure-based physical activity. So whether that’s discounted gym memberships, Headspace for the workplace, or mental health training, investing in employees’ mental health sends a strong message about your company’s values.

Simple administration 📝

There is little worse than administrative headaches. Using multiple systems within a company increases workload while decreasing productivity, leaving workers twiddling their thumbs on company time.

What’s more, it disrupts a key part of company culture — communication. Companies should determine one system of communication and include this in the onboarding process, helping employees stay organised and know how to ask for help. Programs like Slack also encourage collaborative work, with project-specific channels facilitating discussion and problem solving.

Regular feedback 💬

Consistent feedback is essential in keeping employees engaged and motivated by their work. When managers schedule time for regular feedback and check-ins, a sense of routine and accountability is offered to both sides — two feelings that can dwindle with less in person interactions. A cancelled meeting may come as a relief at first, but if repeated can threaten an employee’s self-perceived value and purpose.

Companies should also request feedback from their employees — an anonymous space to raise concerns without fear of repercussions from those higher up. Millennials, the largest generation of the workforce, are 11x more likely to leave a company if their needs for purpose at work are not met. So, putting the time in with employees will not only improve retention rates, but create a workforce driven by the knowledge of how to improve.

In-person interactions 👋🏻

Whether you’re a hybrid or remote team, making time for social interactions is important. Entirely remote companies risk losing the je ne sais quoi that in-person interactions create — that Friday afternoon cheer, the Monday morning debriefs. While these small connections aren’t limited to the four walls of an office, it’s important to consider that employees with positive workplace relationships are more attached to their organisation.

Investing in initiatives that encourage in-person interactions can be hugely beneficial for company culture. This could be funding employees to use the same co-working space, or planning regular company retreats. In a post-retreat survey by Doist, 95% of participants said it made them feel more enthusiastic about working at the company. Prioritising employees wants and needs as human beings allows for an effective, productive and meaningful company culture.

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