How to Build Company Culture in a Hybrid or Remote Team
As part of International Leadership Week, we are sharing how we maintain our company culture within a hybrid team.
Changing Workplace Environment
The post-pandemic workplace is undeniably very different to what it was before. Due to the multiple lockdowns, most offices were forced to shut or, at the minimum, greatly reduce their office capacity. This allowed employers and employees alike to see the benefits of this way of working, leading to the increasing trend of employees and jobseekers looking for flexible working arrangements. In fact, a reported 45% of UK jobseekers named flexible working as a motivating factor for applying for a role. However, the impact this has on workplace culture can’t be ignored. Whether you’ve been navigating the remote workspace for a while or you’re new to it, it’s vital to ensure you are promoting a positive company culture amongst your team.
What is company culture?
Workplace culture is essentially a set of shared values, practices and attitudes within an organisation. It is how employees are treated, how people feel about the work they do, the decisions that are made and the leadership styles of those at the top. Company culture doesn’t just disappear amongst a hybrid or remote team, it is still valuable when it comes to employee satisfaction and retention. When colleagues are physically separated, it’s these shared values that keep the team moving forward. Research shows that when employees feel a sense of belonging within an organisation they not only perform better, but they also see an improvement in their well-being and engagement. On the other hand, a lack of belonging and a company culture that does not align with an individual’s values and beliefs can lead to alienation, underperformance and burnout.
Creating Company Culture
At STC INSISO, we have a combination of colleagues working from our Aberdeen office, from home (whether that’s in Scotland, the UK or further afield) and a mixture of both. This means we are experienced in managing and encouraging a positive workplace culture within a hybrid team. Below we share three strategies we implement to ensure our team feels valued and included no matter where they are working from.
Regular Team Meetings
To ensure everyone is up-to-date with what’s going on across the business, incorporate regular team meetings. This gives everyone the opportunity to share what they’ve been working on to ensure departments are aligned and allows employees to contribute to discussions on what’s happening in the wider business. By doing this, you are improving company culture as everyone is working towards the same goals, giving employees a sense of purpose. Virtual team meetings also allow employees to have face-to-face interaction (opposed to just communicating via messages) which can increase feelings of connection.
Teambuilding or Socialising Outside Work
An important part of building a great company culture is ensuring that employees bond and get to know each other. Focusing on work all the time won’t give people a chance to do this, so it’s vital to schedule time for fun!
If you are in a situation where it is not feasible for everyone to meet in person, why not host virtual social events. You can set aside some time to have a coffee and a video chat with a colleague, host a quiz or ‘speed dating’ where you get to chat to a different colleague every five minutes in a breakout room. These activities also don’t have to be outwith working hours. Scheduling time in the working week can allow those who have responsibilities and commitments outside work to participate – making it more inclusive.
Use Technology to Communicate and Collaborate
One of the main challenges that face remote teams is being able to maintain clear and consistent lines of communication. Thankfully, there are numerous platforms available that can help keep teams connected. At STC INSISO we use Microsoft Teams for video calls, meetings and for the chat function. Additionally, some of the team use the instant messaging platform Slack for communicating. This benefits company culture as collaboration builds team morale and commitment, helping improve employee relationships. Having efficient communication channels also help employees feel closer to each other despite the distance.
What can Leadership do?
Many say that company culture ‘starts at the top’. Leaders can help shape a businesses culture by reinforcing values and upholding them. The behaviours and actions of a leader can influence others, so it’s important they lead by example. Leaders can do this by frequently communicating with their team, providing feedback, empowering employees, recognising good work and displaying empathy, to name a few.
Company Culture at STC INSISO
Nikki Wyatt, our Specialist Learning and DevelopmentPartner, is one of our colleagues based remotely within the UK. Here’s what she had to say about the company culture at STC INSISO:
“The culture is very much inclusive as well as positive, warm and friendly. I work remotely, hundreds of miles away from our Aberdeen office yet feel very much a part of the team and feel as though my ideas are listened to as well as taken seriously.”
Learn about iCare, our toolkit for creating a workplace where equality, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of all you do, here.