In this virtual world that we live in, it has become increasingly difficult to maintain a company culture while we work remotely. Many have been hired at companies whose employees have never even met in person, and some work completely autonomously and never interact with other coworkers. At Grizzly, it is vital that we maintain our culture through our remote working. Sure, there have been positives to the remote model: we are no longer limited to a certain area for hiring so our talent pool is larger, each person learns to be self-sufficient, and the work that we are able to do has grown significantly. But because of the remote model, we need to find ways to maintain the Grizzly DNA as the team has spread across the country and into Mexico. We make an effort to promote work-life balance with four paid Adventure Days a year with offices fully closed with the expectation to fully disconnect from the work, a weekly meeting with the full Grizzly team with the sole focus of community building and celebrating the work, and we all get together four times a year for our company retreats in various locations. These are just a few of the things that Grizzly has implemented to nourish our company culture. Here are some tips on how to keep your culture thriving even with a distributed workforce:
- Keep individuals top of mind. It is important to lead with trust in a remote environment. Each individual has a different working style, so maintaining that trust with each person allows them to work autonomously and grow as a team member.
- Make employee well-being a priority. In this constant state of uncertainty that the world is in, it can be easy to fall into negative patterns in terms of mental health. With the virtual workplace, it is difficult to separate work and life. Making sure each team member has the space to decompress and the resources to support their well-being is a huge step in promoting a positive culture. Our team has implemented Zoom-free Fridays in order to allow everyone to refresh and avoid virtual meeting fatigue.
- Foster connections between people (Forbes). This is vital to maintaining company culture remotely. Usually, those connections between team members happen naturally in a regular work environment, but virtually, not so much. Take the steps to ensure that team members actually get to know each other, even if it is behind a computer screen. At Grizzly, we embrace hybrid work and make time to get everyone together once a quarter in person, safely, to bond as a team.
- Strong communication is everything. In a virtual environment, over AND under-communication can become a huge problem. This is not efficient and can cause roadblocks along the way. Let’s not forget the power of human interaction. Good communication is good communication, whether we’re in the same room or thousands of miles apart.
- Identify challenges (Forbes). Finding those issues that team members come across in a virtual environment and solving for those makes for a frictionless workstream. This can be childcare issues, time-zones, etc. Solving for these details builds trust and makes team members feel like they are being heard. Weekly check-ins and surveys help the Grizzly team get in front of these issues and hear directly from the team on what’s most important to them.
This is the new reality of the workplace, so it is important to identify where your company will grow in maintaining culture with a remote team. This encourages people to stay and grow with the company, and shows how much leadership cares about everyone individually. If anyone would like to open up conversation about what remote work can look like while establishing a strong culture, feel free to shoot our COO Kelsey Carter an email. She would love to chat about it.