How to keep the company culture alive when working from home?

Working from home is undoubtedly the word of 2020. Some people enjoy working from home, without distractions. Others can't wait to go back to the office and work alongside their colleagues again. But what are the consequences of working from home for the company culture?

How important is maintaining a corporate culture?

A nice and clear company culture is essential for attracting and retaining new staff. But the biggest challenge of working from home is precisely maintaining that culture. A little 'chit chat' at the coffee machine, going through your weekend with that great colleague or being able to say something about that one project suddenly feels different when this is done via Zoom. In 2021, 2022, 2023 and beyond, more and more companies plan to maintain a working (partially) from home policy. Thus, creating and maintaining a 'remote' corporate culture is an important point of attention.

What now?

In the first months after the outbreak of COVID-19, many companies managed to preserve their culture by sending employees a small gift, such as a bouquet of flowers, chocolate bar or a personal card. Of course, that's a nice gift, but we can’t expect companies to keep sending chocolate bars. So, what should you do to preserve your company culture?

This is how you maintain your company culture

Make sure you encourage informal communication

Informal communication between employees is super important. Research has shown that friendly relationships between employees increase joy, motivation and productivity in the workplace. Informal conversations play a major role in this. But precisely those conversations; those conversations that build a personal connection disappear when you work remotely. As an employer, it is important to keep or initiate these personal conversations. During meetings via Zoom or Teams, employees get to the point faster and it feels like you're slacking when it's not about work. However, these are the moments when you can have a personal conversation with each other.

1. Schedule half an hour every Monday morning for your employees to go over the weekend. This can be in a group conversation, but also as individual meetings, so that there is some privacy if needed.

2. The Friday afternoon is of course ideal for a Friday afternoon drink via Zoom. Open a virtual corporate cafe where everyone is welcome to have a drink when they finish work. There is even the possibility to do so in an augmented reality setting!

3. Another way is to create an informal channel, for example Slack. Here employees can share arbitrary, non-work-related matters.

Make sure to value output over input

We truly believe that working from home as an employer can be quite daunting. It’s hard to know whether your employees are really at work. Who knows, maybe they are sitting on a terrace or enjoying a sangria in the backyard. If you are continuously questioning your employees’ work ethic, it can translate into distrust for employees and that comes at the expense of joy, motivation and productivity. So, try to focus on the output. Is the work that your employee doing of good or even better quality? Then you don't have much to worry about. What’s important is that the work is being done and that the employee is delivering quality material. And if that is so, then working from home is not so bad after all (even if the employee decides to take a little break for themselves).

Protecting your company culture is super important. Especially in these times when it is simply not possible to work in the office. Do you have more ideas for maintaining that informal communication among colleagues from home? Let us know.

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