Most of us are still working remotely, and with more and more companies delaying a return to the office, the reality is we’re likely be working from home for the foreseeable future. Not being face-to-face makes building and maintaining company culture more difficult, but certainly not any less important.

Here are some important considerations for sustaining your company culture while dealing with the physical distance of working remotely.

  1. Keep company values front and center. Your work environment may have changed, but your values shouldn’t. Think about how to bring your company values to life digitally. Establish digital peer-to-peer recognition processes to award kudos to deserving employees. Create a weekly round up email recognizing employees who are living the company values. Be proactive and consistent in reminding employees who you are and what you stand for, in practicing what you preach, and in rewarding those who model the desired values and behaviors.
  2. Communicate. There’s no question – it’s harder to remember to reach out to people when you aren’t accidentally bumping into them on your way to the water cooler. And on the flip side, it’s sometimes easy to overcommunicate to try to compensate for the lack of in-person interaction. Be mindful of both of these potential scenarios and find the right middle ground so that your team feels informed but not overwhelmed. And if you’re not sure what is or isn’t working, ask, and then adapt.  
  3. Be flexible. The lines between work and home have been blurred, and despite saving commute times, many of us are actually working longer hours than we did pre-COVID-19, while also juggling responsibilities like caretaking and schooling. Give employees clear guidelines and expectations but be as flexible as possible in when and how the work gets done.
  4. Leverage technology. Zoom fatigue is real, and the virtual lunches and happy hours don’t have the allure they once did. But, having the right tools in place can help your team stay connected. Think about how to use the platforms you have in new and different ways. Case in point – at Padilla, we use Microsoft Teams and started a new channel called “Way to Go Wednesday.” Every Wednesday, anyone in the company can give a shout out to a colleague for the entire company to see.
  5. Honor traditions. New normal, now normal – whatever you want to call it, things are far from the norm. Traditions, however, often provide a sense of comfort, normalcy and a spirit of togetherness. To the extent you can, honor your company traditions, or look for ways to implement them with a creative new twist. Annual golf outing or bowling tournament? Create a virtual competition this year.

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