Remote Work: How to Boost Your Company Culture

by Joe Fuld (He/Him)

Remote Work

Remote Work Can Create a Robust Company Culture 

We are now three years from the start of our remote work journey, and we have built a company culture based on remote work - we are not a hybrid workplace - we do have access to offices, but we are still focused on making remote work a vibrant experience for our team. But it takes time and effort. Remote work is both a blessing and a curse. Virtual workplaces can allow your folks to have greater flexibility, have a more diverse employee pool, and reduce overhead. Telecommuting can also be a challenge. Keeping a good remote work culture and building job performance and mentorships remotely means having a discipline and multifaceted approach to a flexible workplace.

So here are our thoughts on how we can continue to make remote work, work for us and our clients.

Don’t make folks go to an office - Often, bosses miss the office more than their employees. We looked at it and found that for us— from a management and productivity perspective, working all together at one office was more of a habit than a necessity.

Add an office if you need one - Okay this may seem counterintuitive to the first point, but younger staffers live in smaller places and the social aspect of working in an office is a big deal— our solution is access to a daily co-working pass, bringing easy and cost-effective office flexibility. Going to an office is a personal choice, at The Campaign Workshop we have office arrangements based on the employee and as their needs change, we will continue to adapt.

Make it easier for folks to get what they need - Removing the paperwork and hassles for small office expenses has been a game changer for us. If you want to buy something small, you don’t need prior approval.

Skip step meetings - Get in front of employees you don’t supervise and learn about their successes and challenges. Also, get employees in front of managers they are not supervised by for different projects.

Weekly check-ins - Make sure all employees have a weekly check-in with their supervisor. We are a big fan of The Management Center and use their check-in system.

Make the salaries clear - Salary bands and clear job functions, as well as clear paths forward can help empower employees and make their growth well-defined. It sounds simple, but it takes some focus and attention to detail to create the bands and stick to them.

Define your culture - We have a four-page culture doc, beyond a typical human resources manual, that defines expectations for the employee and employer. This has helped us define our virtual workplace beyond a typical HR manual.

Don’t expect folks to come out and say what they need - You must ask employees what they need and keep asking in different ways. Surveys can help a lot, just because you ask once about what employees need does not mean they will respond. You need to ask the questions in ways that empower them or empower others to ask the same question. We do short surveys a couple of times a year and occasionally have staffers call each other to ask questions beyond a survey— some folks will answer questions more directly when asked verbally than in a survey.

Some of our benefits - At TCW we have a unique package of benefits that we have built with our employees over time. We have over 25 benefits- incurred a charitable giving match, free design for life events, meal stipends, and more

Here are some highlights of our benefits:

Give employees access to coaching - We have a coach that we love and that has made a big impact in the work of our employees.

Schedule your vacation - Getting our team to schedule their vacations can be complicated but it makes a big difference for us to get folks the time off they need and for us to be able to plan around employee breaks. So, we give folks an extra day of vacation if they schedule their time by April.

Train employees - We have ongoing training at TCW for our team. Often, there become assumptions over time that everyone knows all the systems of a company, especially in a small company. That assumption is usually wrong and unfair.

Make work more fun - We have tried a lot of things that have been fun and some that have not worked— gone is the Zoom happy hour. Virtual escape rooms have been hit and miss, and so have virtual games but we keep trying to find ways to team-building.

Here are some things that have worked:

Cooking classes – This has been a big hit and is a nice way for folks to share an experience while being remote.

Guided meditation - We do guided meditation as a team twice a month during the workday. Meditation has worked great for our team and has been a big stress reliever for team members at all levels.

Care packages - We like food. It is not the only thing we do for team members, but the occasional soup delivery or food care package is a nice morale booster.

Work from anywhere stipends – During the pandemic, we started providing staff a stipend to fly and work from a friend’s house or a different location. This was so popular we have permanently added this to our list of benefits.

Grief-at-work policy - We have been working on a grief-at-work policy that helps our employees get the time they need around grief events.

Camera-free Fridays - We have a culture of having cameras on for calls most of the time, unless folks have a health need (migraines, etc.), except for Fridays when most of our team has the camera off. Yes, we call these camera-free Fridays. It is a nice relief from the week.

Make it easier for employees to leave - This is key, if a staffer wants to go or is not a long-term fit, give them a structured way to leave that meets both their needs and the needs of the company. This means having direct conversations about whether the company is still a fit for the employee.

Update your benefits – You likely have limited windows of time when updating benefits makes sense. Make sure you use that time and be efficient about what benefits you can enhance when it works for you and your employees. Some changes to benefits take time, others can be done quickly— figure out what works for you.

Have a point of view about company culture and benefits - This is the most important thing I have learned about company culture. As the CEO or department head, you need to have a vision for the company you are building and its benefits. Putting your stamp on what you are doing and why is a way to build dynamic organizations and companies that people want to be a part of. Your benefits don’t have to be boring or stale, they can reflect the organization you want to build.

Is remote work working for you? if you have questions about building a remote culture and making remote work, work for your team - drop us a note.