Cultivating a Global Remote Culture in US-Based Companies

published on 31 January 2024

Transitioning to remote work can be challenging for companies seeking to preserve their cultures across distributed teams.

Luckily, with some thoughtful strategies around communication, collaboration, and social connections, companies can instill thriving remote cultures.

In this post, we'll explore best practices US-based companies can leverage to onboard new hires virtually, build camaraderie through online activities, and enhance cross-team cohesion - key ingredients for cultivating an inclusive, engaging global remote culture.

Embracing Remote Work as a Strategic Advantage

Remote work has become an irreversible trend, offering companies access to top global talent at lower costs while reducing environmental impact. As more organizations adopt flexible and remote policies, they position themselves strategically to leverage these key advantages.

Hiring remotely allows businesses to source professionals from anywhere in the world, greatly expanding their talent pool beyond just local geography. This results in higher candidate quality since companies can select the very best people for each role regardless of location. With a global talent base, organizations can build stronger, more diverse and innovative teams.

Embracing remote work also leads to major overhead savings from reduced office space and equipment needs. Companies can downsize expensive corporate campuses and pass those savings directly to their bottom line. Employees likewise save money on commuting and other work-related costs. These cost efficiencies give remote-first businesses a competitive edge.

There are also sustainability benefits to supporting remote and hybrid arrangements. With fewer employees commuting regularly, organizations reduce their carbon footprint. Promoting work from home policies helps diminish an organization's impact on the environment.

As remote work continues its rapid growth, companies that strategically leverage its advantages will be poised for long-term success. Building globally dispersed and cost-efficient virtual teams creates positive outcomes for both business performance and social responsibility.

How do you build culture in a remote company?

Building a strong company culture in a remote environment requires intention, communication, and embracing the unique opportunities remote work provides. Here are some best practices:

Foster Connections Between Teammates

  • Encourage watercooler chat channels for non-work conversations
  • Host regular video calls for socializing and team building
  • Send care packages or snacks to connect personally

Communicate Early and Often

  • Overcommunicate to combat isolation
  • Provide channels for questions and feedback
  • Recognize great work publicly

Embrace Flexibility and Asynchronicity

  • Support flexible schedules to improve work-life balance
  • Utilize asynchronous tools like chat and documents
  • Focus on output rather than set hours

Onboard Thoughtfully

  • Send welcome kits with company swag
  • Schedule 1-on-1 video calls to mentor
  • Create guides for company culture and best practices

Keep It Fun

  • Occasional virtual happy hours or games
  • Remote movie/game nights
  • Photo contests and team trivia

The key is facilitating human connection while leveraging the unique advantages of remote work. With intention and effort, impactful culture can be cultivated from afar.

How to preserve your corporate culture in a remote world?

As more companies transition to remote or hybrid work models, preserving company culture can be challenging. However, with intention and effort, core values and connections can thrive even when teams are distributed. Here are some tips:

Focus on trust and communication

  • Prioritize open communication through regular video calls, instant messaging, email updates, and virtual watercooler chats. This fosters connections.
  • Discuss boundaries and set clear expectations around availability to prevent burnout.
  • Build trust by encouraging collaboration and being understanding when life happens.

Bring people together

  • Schedule regular virtual social events for employees to interact, such as trivia, coffee chats, or cook-alongs. This maintains bonds.
  • For hybrid teams, organize occasional in-person retreats if possible for face-to-face team building.

Align on core values

  • Revisit or create company values, mottoes, and missions to unite distributed staff.
  • Recognize employees who exemplify these qualities to reinforce cultural priorities.

Onboard thoughtfully

  • Have new hires attend virtual orientations to meet leaders and teams.
  • Connect new staff with culture carriers like mentors to immerse them.

By focusing on communication, connection, and culture, companies can thrive even when working remotely. The keys are intention, inclusion, and innovation.

How remote organizations can instill thriving workplace cultures?

Remote work cultures require intentional effort to build connection, collaboration, and engagement across distributed teams. Here are some best practices:

Define your values and behaviors. Articulate the behaviors that embody your cultural values. For example, if "transparency" is a core value, share information freely and give context behind decisions.

Set expectations around communication. Establish norms like response times to messages, meeting etiquettes, and tools to facilitate conversations. Asynchronous communication is key.

Invest in relationship-building. Schedule regular video calls focused purely on personal connections, not just work. Organize online social events for employees to interact.

Train managers to lead remote teams. Equip them with strategies to coach, motivate, and monitor remote employees through frequent check-ins and setting clear objectives.

Recognize and reward demonstrated behaviors. When employees exhibit desired cultural behaviors, highlight and praise those examples to reinforce the culture.

Listen and gather feedback. Regularly survey employees and act on suggestions to improve engagement, belonging, and satisfaction within a remote culture.

With deliberate efforts to nurture cultural values and meaningful connections, organizations can build thriving environments for distributed teams. The strategies above help instill a culture that resonates across the organization.

How do you create a global company culture?

Creating a global company culture with remote teams across different time zones can be challenging, but embracing diversity, promoting shared values, encouraging collaboration, investing in training, and recognizing outstanding performance are 5 key ways to foster a positive and inclusive workplace culture.

Embrace Diversity as a Strength

Having team members from various backgrounds and cultures is an asset, not an obstacle. Learn about different cultural norms and celebrate unique perspectives. Promote inclusivity by ensuring all voices are heard and valued.

Promote Shared Values and Vision

Align globally dispersed teams by clearly communicating company values, mission and vision. Foster a sense of belonging by emphasizing shared goals. Remind employees their work contributes to something bigger.

Encourage Collaboration and Communication

With remote employees, intentional collaboration is essential. Create opportunities for team members to regularly connect through meetings, messaging platforms and virtual social events. Promote open dialogue and knowledge sharing across regions.

Invest in Cultural Awareness and Training

Conduct cross-cultural training to increase understanding between team members. Bring awareness to different communication styles and values. Setting expectations around etiquette prevents misunderstandings.

Recognize and Reward Outstanding Performance

Notice and appreciate employee contributions through public recognition, monetary bonuses or unique experiential rewards. This motivates staff and makes them feel valued within a remote setting.


Challenges of Transitioning to and Sustaining a Remote Work Culture

The shift to a hybrid work model with both remote and onsite employees can be challenging to navigate. Companies need to put effort into integrating remote staff so they feel equally valued and included. Tips include:

  • Schedule regular video calls for the whole team to connect face-to-face. This helps remote staff feel more engaged.
  • Clarify expectations around meeting attendance and participation for remote workers. Ensure they have meeting access and can contribute fully.
  • Send out recaps after in-person meetings so remote workers stay informed. Share key decisions and action items.
  • Use collaboration tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams to enable casual chat and knowledge sharing between remote and onsite staff.

When managed carefully, hybrid teams can leverage the best of both worlds - the focus and community of office work with the flexibility and diverse talent pools of remote work.

Preserving Company Culture Across Distributed Teams

Fostering a cohesive company culture can be challenging when teams are dispersed geographically. Strategies to help include:

  • Host regular virtual social events for employees to interact, like trivia nights or digital game sessions. This encourages relationship-building.
  • Recognize work anniversaries and employee achievements remotely through intranet posts or video calls. This makes remote staff feel valued.
  • Send care packages with company swag to remote workers so they feel part of the brand. Surprise gifts boost morale.
  • Schedule yearly retreats where possible for remote staff to connect with the onsite team face-to-face.

A strong company culture connects all employees, whether they work remotely or from an office. Prioritizing inclusive and engaging initiatives helps sustain morale and unity across distributed teams.

Mitigating Remote Work Burnout and Promoting Mental Well-being

Working remotely can contribute to burnout and social isolation without proper support. Companies should focus on employee wellness by:

  • Tracking productivity software analytics to spot overwork early and have supportive talks with individuals at risk of burnout.
  • Promoting healthy work-life integration with flexible schedules and boundaries around after-hours work. Make well-being a priority.
  • Providing ergonomic budgets for remote staff to outfit home offices comfortably. Physical health impacts mental health.
  • Sharing lists of mental health resources and reminders that taking sick days for mental health is accepted and encouraged.

Proactive wellness initiatives demonstrate that companies value their remote staff’s health and humanity as much as their work output. This promotes retention and sustainability.

Best Practices for Fostering a Positive Remote Work Culture

Balancing Synchronous and Asynchronous Communication

Effective communication is essential for remote teams. Synchronous communication like video calls or chat allow for real-time collaboration, while asynchronous channels like email or project management tools accommodate different time zones. The key is finding the right balance. Set expectations for response times to emails or messages, while also scheduling regular video check-ins. This facilitates the spontaneity of an office environment alongside the flexibility remote work provides.

Leveraging Video Conferencing and Collaboration Tools for Virtual Teamwork

The right technology can connect distributed teams. Video conferencing apps enable face-to-face interactions during meetings and standups. Cloud-based platforms centralize files, tasks, and documentation. Digital whiteboards foster creativity and collaboration across locations. Providing the right collaboration tools fosters teamwork and innovation regardless of geography.

Encouraging Virtual Social Interactions to Build an Inclusive Workplace Culture

Don't underestimate virtual coffee breaks and social channels. Remote workers miss the organic social connections from the traditional office. Stimulating this culture online requires intention but pays dividends for inclusion. Shared calendars can designate social times. Chat channels, games, or remote activities encourage the watercooler moments that bond teams. A little effort makes distributed team members feel valued.

Adopting Flexible Schedules to Support Work/Life Balance

Remote work enables working from anywhere, but can blur work/life boundaries. Support employees in managing their schedules while meeting deliverables. Set core hours for overlap while allowing flexibility outside designated times. Discourage an always-online culture in favor of one focused on results. Empower people with the autonomy to balance work and personal needs. This improves morale, productivity and retention.

Onboarding New Employees into a Remote Work Environment

Facilitating Virtual Onboarding with Mentors and Buddies

Pairing new remote hires with more experienced team members can provide guidance and support during onboarding. Consider assigning "buddies" to:

  • Welcome new hires prior to their start date
  • Introduce them to key contacts across the organization
  • Answer questions and provide advice adjusting to the remote work culture
  • Serve as the "go-to" person for help navigating systems and tools

Having a dedicated mentor eases the transition and helps new hires feel connected despite the physical distance.

Creating Engaging Virtual Introductions and Team-Building Activities

Creative virtual onboarding activities help remote workers bond with teams:

  • Host a video call welcome party for new hires to casually meet teammates.
  • Schedule 1:1 video conferences for new staff to introduce themselves.
  • Organize a team trivia game using polling software for some friendly competition.
  • Send welcome packages with company swag and handwritten notes from the team.

Interactive sessions allow new remote workers to put names to faces and start meaningful relationships.

Sending Thoughtful Welcome Packages to Remote Hires

Care packages with branded material make new remote workers feel included:

  • Company t-shirts, hats, notebooks, and other swag
  • Handwritten welcome cards from team members
  • Snacks and gift cards to take a welcome break
  • Guidebooks outlining company culture, norms, and how to connect with colleagues

Tangible items bring the company culture to remote staff and show appreciation for new hires before day one.

Welcoming new employees into a positive remote work culture requires human touches like mentorship opportunities, virtual introductions, and care packages. These personal elements get remote workers excited to join the team.

Building Camaraderie with Virtual Team-Building Activities

Organizing Online Games and Virtual Escape Rooms for Team Bonding

With remote teams, organizing fun online activities can help bring employees together and foster camaraderie. Some ideas include:

  • Multiplayer video games: Games like Jackbox, Skribbl, and Among Us allow for casual gameplay and banter. They help break the ice and form connections.

  • Virtual escape rooms: These use video conferencing to immerse teams in an interactive puzzle experience. It encourages collaboration and creative thinking. Popular options are Houdini Room Escape and The Escape Game Remote Adventures.

  • Digital scavenger hunts: Scavenger hunts with photo evidence over messaging apps builds energy. You can craft hunts related to company history, products, etc. to educate employees.

The key is picking activities aligned with company culture and team interests. Schedule recurring game times and incentivize participation to regularly bring remote staff together.

Planning In-Person Retreats for Remote Teams

Annual or biannual in-person retreats allow remote teams to collaborate intensely while strengthening interpersonal bonds. Best practices include:

  • Hosting 3-5 day retreats to allow sufficient time for work sessions, activities, and conversations. Identify key strategic priorities to align content.

  • Organizing team-building activities like escape rooms, cooking classes, sports, trivia nights, and local cultural experiences. This enables casual interactions.

  • Facilitating both structured workshops and unstructured time for organic conversations during meals and free time. Different formats meet different needs.

  • Selecting centralized and inspiring destinations conducive to focus. Provide ample meeting spaces for privacy.

  • Defraying employees' travel and lodging costs to reduce financial barriers to participation.

In-person retreats generate renewed energy, alignment, and relationships. They reconnect distributed team members through meaningful face-time and shared experiences.

Recognizing Achievements with Virtual Celebrations

Remote work can isolate employees from sharing accomplishments and milestones. Virtual celebrations help:

  • Mark birthdays, work anniversaries, product launches, funding rounds, etc. with video calls or mailed treats. This boosts morale and retention.

  • Praise outstanding performances in video all-hands meetings. Enable employees to recognize peers for recent achievements.

  • Maintain digital spaces like Slack channels to transparently celebrate wins and advancements.

  • Send e-cards or small gifts to employee homes after significant contributions.

Public recognition nourishes employees’ sense of purpose and community. Virtual celebrations preserve camaraderie despite geographic separation, motivating and retaining talent.

Enhancing Cross-Team Collaboration in a Remote Setting

As more companies embrace remote and hybrid work models, enhancing collaboration between distributed teams becomes imperative. Warm introductions, clarified objectives, and consistent virtual check-ins can strengthen cross-functional cooperation despite physical distance.

Fostering Warm Introductions and Cross-Team Collaboration

When teams lack familiarity with remote counterparts' roles and responsibilities, misaligned expectations and confusion can emerge. Leaders should facilitate interactive kick-off meetings for mutual introductions when cross-functional projects commence, encouraging conversation beyond merely exchanging names and titles. Discussing team members' backgrounds, skills, and collaborative workstyles humanizes interactions and seeds rapport vital for smooth cooperation.

Schedule additional informal team gatherings focused on social connections, not just project updates. The relationships nurtured during these voluntary touchpoints manifest in greater camaraderie during crunch times. Though seemingly unrelated to hard results, this social foundation directly strengthens team cohesion and effectiveness when collaborating remotely.

Aligning Remote Teams Around Shared Goals and Interdependencies

With limited ability to visually survey coworkers' progress during remote collaborations, clearly delineated expectations become essential. Managers leading cross-functional initiatives should collaboratively map out project plans, clarifying each team's objectives, responsibilities, and hand-offs upfront.

Rather than siloed goals, emphasize the interdependencies between teams' contributions, underscoring how seamless coordination combines strengths and leads to collective success. This transparency around aligned superordinate goals and supportive workflows prevents confusion down the line when questions arise about expectations.

Establishing Regular Virtual Check-ins for Continuous Alignment

Initial alignment around goals and plans can decay without sustained connectivity, so consistent virtual check-ins are invaluable for remote teams. The fluidity of distributed work makes it easy for misalignments around priorities or timelines to emerge silently. Regular informal video calls, instant messaging check-ins, or digital watercooler gatherings provide low-effort opportunities to identify and rectify any mismatched assumptions before they undermine progress.

Both scheduled meetings and open-channel communications nurture the human bonds undergirding smooth collaborations. The resulting continuity of coordination ensures teams progress synergistically towards shared outcomes despite geographical separation. With deliberate relationship-building and sustained transparency, distributed groups can collaborate interdependently.

Conclusion: Key Strategies for a Successful Global Remote Culture

As companies expand their talent pools globally, nurturing an inclusive and engaging remote work culture is key. Here are some core strategies to keep in mind:

Promote Open Communication

  • Encourage team members to overcommunicate, especially when working asynchronously across time zones.
  • Invest in communication tools like Slack and Zoom to enable seamless collaboration.
  • Foster a speak-up culture where all voices are heard.

Build Trust and Camaraderie

  • Schedule regular virtual social events for employees to connect on a personal level.
  • Send welcome packages and local treats to help remote staff feel part of the team.
  • Recognize and praise employees publicly for their unique contributions.

Set Clear Guidelines

  • Provide employee handbooks covering remote work policies, expectations, and best practices.
  • Outline core working hours while allowing flexibility for life circumstances.
  • Enable autonomy balanced with accountability through regular check-ins.

By focusing on inclusion, transparency, and flexibility, companies can nurture a thriving remote culture where distributed teams feel motivated, valued, and aligned behind shared goals.

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