How to build a remote company culture
A company culture impacts every aspect of a business. It helps define your identity, makes it easier to attract and retain the best talent, and assists in shaping your brand.
Since Timeular’s inception in 2016, we’ve focused on finding ways to build a culture that enables our employees to achieve a rewarding work-life. From day one, we adopted a fully remote working model, introduced tools to foster collaboration, and strived to continually improve the ways in which we work.
Here we share our tips for building a remote company culture and how your business can successfully transition to the future of work.
1. Develop core values
At Timeular, we believe that the future of work is about much more than just making as much money as possible. Defining a clear set of values and effectively communicating them with employees is a core foundation of building a remote company culture.
Our values of respecting time, focus, and quick and simple solutions, helps ensure that employees remain aligned with our vision and goals, guiding their approach to work.
2. Trust in your workforce
As with any human relationship, when managing a remote team it’s important to assume good intentions from the outset. The ability to foster an environment of trust and collaboration can be the difference between an organization’s success and failure. At Timeular, we’re open with employees about all aspects of the business – whether it’s salary calculations, strategic decisions or investment plans. We also provide employees with the autonomy to continually shape their roles to their own strengths and adopt a flexible approach to how and when we work.
By continually looking for opportunities to develop openness, individual accountability and cultural awareness, a spirit of mutual respect and trust is developed and becomes embedded in the remote culture.
3. Nail asynchronous communication
Adopting a flexible approach to communication gives employees the space to respond in their own time. At Timeular, our team is spread across 10 countries. Everyone will have different times in the day that they set aside for focus time. By encouraging asynchronous communication in your remote organization you can develop more efficient dialogue, allowing employees to create better-planned responses that bring value to everyone.
4. Choose the right tools
Effective communication helps foster workplace engagement and collaboration, especially when your team is working across multiple time zones. Selecting the right tools for communication helps ensure efficiency. At Timeular, we use Slack for daily communications, with channels for different departments, projects and themes. Our CEO also shares a weekly update on Slack detailing the company’s financial performance, with the previous week’s update archived in our digital playbook. This makes it easy for all staff to track our progress.
5. Create a digital playbook
Developing transparency is crucial for a remote organization. At Timeular, we’ve developed a digital playbook using the Notion platform, accessible by all our staff. The playbook documents what we stand for, our vision, mission, roles and responsibilities, ways of working, and how we value our time. Because transparency is so important in building trust, we also list staff salaries and how we’ve calculated each one.
6. Ensure everyone’s voice is heard
To keep a remote team engaged and inspired, it’s important that everyone has a platform to share their progress and views. At Timeular, we hold bi-weekly company meetings using Zoom, with all staff having the opportunity to present progress of their work and help shape the company’s strategy.
When it comes to big decisions about the company, we always build a consensus. Whether it’s deciding what our tagline should be, how holiday allowance should be allocated, or where our next retreat should be held, holding a vote on Slack ensures transparency and accountability in the decision making process.
7. Foster relationships
It can be challenging for staff to build relationships with colleagues when their only time together is online. However, it’s still possible to find ways to bring people together. At Timeular we hold bi-weekly ‘Donut’ calls on Zoom, with staff randomly selected for a social call to talk about anything except work. We also hold quarterly summits. Over the years, these have been in-person retreats at different locations across Europe, but since the pandemic struck we’ve temporarily moved them online. Retreats are a great opportunity to bring the team together, ensure alignment with future plans and help everyone get to know each other more.
8. Empower employees to design their own jobs
Everyone wants to have the dream job. By embedding principles of job design within your remote culture, it’s possible to allow employees to tailor their role to their specific needs. As a remote organization, allowing staff the flexibility to work hours which suit them helps build trust and autonomy. Enabling them to help develop the company’s quarterly performance objectives (OKRs) also fosters empowerment and empowers them to adapt their role to their strengths – increasing job satisfaction and workplace happiness.
9. Make remote work…work
Working from home isn’t without its challenges, but providing remote employees with relevant support will make it easier for them to succeed. Timeular operates a Sunray Program, allowing employees to share in the financial success of the company. A quarterly allowance is provided to employees to help them level-up their home work setting. Whether it’s investing in a new laptop stand, a wellness subscription or a new WiFi mesh system, helping remote employees invest in useful tools will benefit them and your organization.
10. Apply a different mindset to hiring
Adopting a remote working model automatically opens your organization to a global pool of talent. Our hiring process at Timeular doesn’t involve CVs, in-person meetings or time consuming cover letters. We care about the individual who is applying and discovering how they will fit with our culture, asking people to respond to a series of questions before having virtual interviews with our team. This approach has helped build a unique team of different talents and interests, closely aligned with our global user base.
11. Provide remote employees with enough time to refresh
Now, more than ever, it’s crucial that remote employees have the time and space to relax and recharge. The global pandemic has created a huge amount of uncertainty in people’s lives as well as additional challenges like homeschooling.
Our vacation policy at Timeular allows all staff to have 50 days of paid holiday each year, giving them plenty of time to unwind and recharge their batteries. Whether it’s time on a beach or learning a new skill, by providing remote employees with the time and space for the important things in life, they’ll return to work refreshed and energized.
Making a remote company culture work
It’s inevitable that in building a remote company culture there will be a degree of testing and learning. There’s not a ‘one size fits all’ model, and what works for some companies may not be practical for others. By adopting an open approach that allows employees to help shape the culture, you will be better placed to help your organization successfully navigate this new landscape.
Above all, it’s important to retain a sense of curiosity and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. This will ensure you remain open to new ideas, new methods and new ways of working that can set your company up for success.
Our remote working guide is full of tips to help you and your workforce thrive. From how to plan your day, to ensuring virtual meetings pass without a hitch, the guide shows how to work remotely and ensure that every minute of your time counts.
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