The recent surge in remote work has brought up a lot of questions around the most efficient methods, data security, video conferencing and collaboration tools, and more. But there’s one topic critical to success, productivity, and employee happiness that tends to be overlooked: maintaining company culture despite the physical distance across teams.
At Maven Wave, building a partially remote workforce that feels just as much a part of our close-knit team as the onsite employees have been integral to our success as a company. Every year, we win awards for our culture and growth, and we’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way. Below are a few quick tips for building and maintaining a positive, supportive, productive company culture even when some or all of the team is working from home.
1. Trust & Autonomy. This first one is often the toughest for organizations that have been mainly office-based for years. Interestingly, Gartner finds that 93% of organizations let managers decide whether to allow their employees to work from home, but only 56% of those managers allow the practice, even when policy greenlights it. Some of this can be boiled down to a trust issue – the common concern to the tune of, “If I can’t see them working, how do I know they’re actually working?” From our perspective, the answer is to trust the employee and their work.
We also put a lot of time and energy into our hiring process, which is in-depth and practical. For example, we ask employees to “test drive” their potential new role during the hiring process with presentations, whiteboard exercises, and more. Our recent hires truly prove themselves early and often, and we feel confident in their abilities from the beginning – so it’s safe to say we trust even our newest employees right off the bat. (Read more about our hiring process here and our new IGNITE Graduate Development Program here.)
2. Safe Environment. In order to retain great employees and award-winning company culture, we need to create a safe workplace where our team feels a sense of belonging and acceptance. This is imperative always – whether the team is remote or onsite – but it’s a point that bears repeating, especially during what has been a very tough time for many employees around the world. Team members should feel comfortable being open and honest about their concerns and needs, and they need to know they have the support of their colleagues.
In fact, at Maven Wave we’ve placed an emphasis on diversity and inclusion efforts because this topic is so important to us. While our Talent Acquisition team focuses on recruiting diverse talent, our employees have also started subgroups within the company, including one focused on driving women into tech (WAM) and another focused on the LGBTQ+ community (Wavelength).
3. Chat Rooms. One of the aspects of the workplace that’s hard to replicate remotely is “water cooler talk” – the non-work-related conversations that come up naturally among colleagues in physical proximity. G Suite can support company culture from a distance by bringing employees together virtually via Google Chat to have a space to interact on a more personal and casual level. These “Water Cooler Talk” chat rooms can encompass a range of interests. At Maven Wave, we have a cooking room to share our favorite recipes, a recognition room to spotlight the great work of a colleague, and a family room where we share photos of our kids and pets, to name a few!
4. Virtual, Casual Meetings. Building and maintaining friendships with coworkers is still very possible regardless of location. You might not be able to grab lunch together or head to happy hour after work, but you can have occasional “coffee meetings” just to catch up. At Maven Wave, we bring the team together for morning coffee breaks and happy hours virtually, leveraging Google Meet’s expanded tile layout to see up to 16 Mavens at once!
If you’re interested in learning more about Google Meet, join us for a complimentary live digital Q&A session with an expert on May 15 to learn more about the primary functions of Meet and the new features. Full details are available here.
5. The Right Technology. According to a recent Gartner poll, 54% of HR leaders reported that poor technology and/or infrastructure for remote working is the single largest barrier to its success. This “technology” category encompasses everything from email to internal messaging platforms to video conferencing tools. At Maven Wave, we’ve built a collaborative, inclusive, and close-knit culture that’s supported by G Suite. We were fortunate to be well-versed in all things Google Cloud even before the rush to telecommuting, but it’s not too late: if your team is struggling to collaborate remotely, G Suite makes all the difference.
Check out our demo below from our webinar, How G Suite Empowers Remote Productivity Across Roles to see how we maintain company culture remotely through our virtual happy hours.
For more examples and insights from our experts, stream the full webinar.
Get the latest industry news and insights delivered straight to your inbox.