Why You Should Prioritise Culture When Leading Remote Teams

As the old saying goes, how much effort you put into something will determine what you get out of it. This is certainly the case for your company culture. Yet even before people had heard of Covid-19 and were still working in the office, building a thriving company culture was a challenge for many businesses. In fact, just 19% of CEOs and HR leaders surveyed believe they have the “right culture”, despite 87% saying that company culture is important. Something, it seems, is amiss.

A poor company culture isn’t just costing staff happiness and morale; it’s also costing the UK economy. £23.6 billion is lost every year according to research by software company Breathe, who found that 34% of staff surveyed had quit their job because they were dissatisfied with their organisation’s culture.

On the other hand, businesses that invest time and effort into a great company culture are yielding endless benefits, including higher employee engagement, happiness, and retention. It also gives organisations a solid foundation on which to navigate challenging times, as it aligns staff with the company’s objectives and helps them work together. If ever there was a time when this is essential, it’s now.

Given that many of us are now working remotely – whether out of necessity due to the pandemic or because demand for home working is growing – putting effort into prioritising company culture is vital, especially one that’s built for dispersed teams. Here are some ideas to help you give company culture the attention it deserves:

Set up a company culture task force

When building a remote company culture, make sure you involve the very people that it will affect on a daily basis – your staff. Understanding your teams’ outlook and experience of your organisation will help you determine what your culture should look like, and how you can meet your employee’s needs.

Start by sharing a post on your internal social media to generate interest, and set up a collaboration area on your intranet to collect employee ideas. Allow contributions from everyone, and encourage as many people as possible to get involved – the more representatives from across the company the better. By having a diverse task force to lead your company culture initiatives, your organisation can create a culture that truly reflects your staff.

Create a collaboration area for your task force to share ideas


Dedicate time to social activities

Remote teams work best when they feel connected to each other, and this is especially true in the middle of a crisis. Rather than focusing solely on meeting goals and targets, business leaders should proactively encourage teams to dedicate time to social activities that link back to the company’s culture. Try meeting virtually every Friday afternoon to summarise the week’s highs and lows, sharing a public “thank you” to individuals or teams who have aligned with your company’s mission, or posting a weekly intranet news article that celebrates staff successes. By making deliberate connections to your company culture, this will help teams see how their work impacts your organisation’s mission.

Don’t overlook the importance of social events that focus purely on team spirit and fun either. Get your company culture task force involved in creating activities that will bring some light-heartedness and positivity to the table, such as weekly quizzes, bake off-style challenges, or virtual happy hours. Be creative and provide different options, so that team members can jump in and out of social events that interest them most. After all, there’s nothing less fun than forced fun!

Remember that non-work related social activities are just as important for building team morale

Get feedback on what is and isn’t working

Many organisations have been thrown in the deep end by having to switch to remote working in record time, so it’s completely understandable if you didn’t get everything right from the get go.

Utilise your task force to collect feedback on what aspects of your culture are working, and which areas need improvement. Based on the suggestions, keep making little tweaks to your culture and send regular pulse surveys to your staff to see if your changes are making a difference.

Your business – and the world of work- are constantly evolving, so getting into the habit of refining your company culture will put you in a good position for the future.

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