How to build and maintain culture when going remote

How to build and maintain culture when going remote

Matt Davey by Matt Davey on

Workplace culture may not feel like your priority right now. But your culture is defined by how you handle difficult situations – these are the moments it’s both tested and formed. We hope our experiences will help you build a remote culture that empowers your team to do great work.

Be kind and empathetic

We recognise that our folks are all dealing with a spectrum of exceptional circumstances – family sickness, financial pressures, childcare issues, and more. Even though we’re 14-year veterans of remote work, we’re aware that right now we have to slow down and prioritise mental health, and give everyone the space and time they need.

Leaders need to take the helm here. During our all-hands call, Jeff (our CEO) let everyone know it’s absolutely okay that productivity isn’t going to be 100%. Our focus should be staying safe and healthy. When important messages come directly from the top, there’s less room for misinterpretation and teams are more likely to take advice on board. If you’re new to remote working, this is more important than ever.

Trust your team

Remote working lays the groundwork for a real cornerstone of healthy culture – trust. Working flexible hours means we can work when we’re at our most productive. We trust each other to show up and do a good job, and no one wants to break that. Ultimately, we all want to make 1Password as good as it can be.

Even when the world is more testing, we trust that everyone is doing their best. And, right now, everyone’s best looks different. If your team is newly remote, encourage people to experiment with different ways and schedules of working. There will be an adjustment period, but it’ll quickly pay off as people figure out what works for them. In more settled times, you’ll see a more productive workforce. Today, hopefully, you’ll have a healthier one.

In short, relax. If you trust people, they’ll feel valued and respected, and want to keep your trust.

Encourage connections

We’re lucky to have the opportunity to meet, work (and then hang out with) folks from diverse backgrounds from all over the world. Yes, this happens while working together, but often, it’s the informal, unstructured chats that hold the most value to team wellbeing. We have happy hour video calls where colleagues can shoot the breeze with a beer, play online sessions of Settlers of Catan, and share endless Animal Crossing screenshots in our #topic-gaming chat in Slack.

These are the kinds of interactions that happen in bricks and mortar workplaces (or in the pub after work) but they can be supercharged using remote-friendly technology. Your teams will find their rhythm. Focus on cultivating a culture where communication between team members is encouraged, but not mandated.

When connections form naturally, they’re real and long-lasting. And teams that communicate well will work better together, be happier, and love their jobs. You’ll see lower staff turnover, more engaged team members and potentially even find it easier to recruit new staff because of your company culture. That’s been our experience at 1Password.

TL;DR

When it comes to culture, what matters most is intent – and that needs to be genuine. Build a work environment that encourages productivity rather than enforces it; one that fosters communication without demanding it; and one that is thoughtful, inclusive and, above all, kind.

COO (Chief Operations Optimist)

Matt Davey - COO (Chief Operations Optimist) Matt Davey - COO (Chief Operations Optimist)

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