Shaping culture in remote organizations


Imagine you have a meeting with your colleagues, like every day, but in a coworking space near your home; Juan is in Argentina visiting his family, Eduardo is on exchange in Rome and Andrea is visiting investors in Colombia. However, they all connect at the same time, define their activities, and expose their problems, it is a workday like any other, only that they are all thousands of miles away, all the time.

Why (and what) to work for strong, quality cultures in remote organizations ✋🏽

The challenges of remote work involve a clear line of management that arises from the need for effective communication and the productivity that provides the hands-on collaborative teams. Other challenges are the ways to foster remote engagement, a sense of belonging to the organization and promoting self-management. On the other hand, the benefits of enhancing the culture of remote organizations are similar to those of a traditional organization (align strategies, generate ownership, engagement, and motivation) but we must also know that this will imminently favor teamwork, agility, and success of each project that the company embarks on.

How to enhance organizational culture in a remote environment (and that is of quality):

  • The collaborative work platform is technically an office in the remote culture, therefore you should extract as much information as possible from the open dialogue spaces.
  • Communicate the values of the organization at all times, as it is always very important to constantly transmit the values of the organization, both in the process of recruitment, selection, and Onboarding, as well as in the day-to-day of the collaborators through announcements and daily news.
  • Establish a commitment to interaction opportunities, and for that, we must schedule (and attend) meetings and dynamic instances in collaborative platforms to meet the whole team in different contexts in order to promote team building. Some organizations have exclusive instances for off-topic.
  • Initial handbook as a letter of introduction: it will be very useful for the Onboarding process to explicitly contain the company's best practices as an "introduction" to its culture and also the expected behaviors, regardless of the time/space dimension in which these behaviors are carried out.
  • Integrate the remote team beyond the "task" that corresponds to their work, this is important so that the identity and belonging of its members are reflected in a transparent way and they also have the perception of being part of it.
  • Promoting good (quality) communication is important. In fact, we conclude that remote workers must be good communicators because communication situations must be as clear and helpful as possible. Effective communication must be an expected behavior in the remote organization's culture to survive.
  • Make the most of the geographical/cultural diversity of your talents... because if there is a virtue of the fact that your company is remote, is that it allows you to get talents from different parts of the world that you could not always access if the roles were face to face; this point in itself is a determining factor in your culture because both the language and beliefs will be influenced by their different roots and locations so that each collaborator integrates something of their culture!

The fact that an organization (or part of it) is remote is precisely the basis of its culture: the tools and dynamics of work will always arise from the challenges imposed by the physical/temporal variables of working remotely. Building culture in this type of organization is a challenge that must be taken seriously, no matter where the work is managed from and going far beyond physical barriers: seeking to extend the organization's good practices, sense of belonging and motivation, as well as forging a relationship of mutual trust wherever the collaborators are on the planet.

Latest on Blog