Every successful tech company or startup has a well-defined software development cycle. Yet, few utilize this same depth of planning, prototyping and iteration when it comes to their remote work culture.
Creating and refining your company’s remote work culture is essential to your teams’ well-being, relationships, and productivity. Let’s discuss how to create a successful work environment by treating remote culture as a software development project.
Why is remote work culture so vital?
Building culture is tricky under any circumstances, but according to Harvard Business Review, remote work doesn’t have to dilute your corporate culture.
Your remote company/startup will just need to be more intentional about creating culture, because you don’t have a physical space to reinforce values and habits.
There are plenty of reasons why you should focus time and energy into building culture remotely. Companies with great remote work culture often enjoy results such as:
- Increased employee happiness and commitment
- Improved work relationships
- Greater productivity
- A shared sense of company goals
- Enhanced trust and communication
- More professional development opportunities
- Higher retention rates and reduced attrition
- Better defined recruitment and onboarding processes
Of course, creating a company culture is much more than a mission statement or a list of benefits. To truly shape your remote work culture, you’ll need to thoroughly plan and develop how your business will put its values into practice and engage with team members every day.
Creating remote work culture via the software development cycle
The best part about regarding remote work culture as a software development product is that every team member becomes a product owner. In this way, everybody can thrive in your remote work culture.
But unlike a software project, it’s not as simple as modifying lines of code. You’ll have to get every team member on board and be patient as you go through the cycle of building remote work culture.
To get started, you’ll need to define a plan. What’s your vision for remote work culture? What do your team members imagine? How will you measure progress towards this end goal?
Schedule focus groups and/or in-depth interviews with your team members to find out their initial thoughts and weak points in your current culture. From here, you can start defining the big picture.
Often remote companies will measure company culture by taking in-house surveys about work environment factors, stress levels, team engagement, productivity, worker retention, and more. Your company should think about the factors that matter most to you.
2. Define milestones
Now that your company has a vision for its culture, it’s time to define the actions that will get you there. Just like with software development, you should put together milestones for your remote work culture.
Remember that these actions should always be feasible and take into account where your team currently is with culture. Some typical milestones and/or areas to consider include:
- Crafting a shared virtual office space on an Intranet or other tool, such as Slack
- Creating a joint remote work policy
- Delineating a work culture manifesto
- Defining Professional Development and Team Member Recognition Programs
- Scheduling regular virtual team-building events
- Organizing a company-wide retreat to meet up in person
- Getting regular feedback from team members
- Sharing results and iterating
3. Prototype & develop
Next, it’s time to dig into the development phase. This is where most of the hard work happens in enacting your plan.
For example, if your teams are keen on prioritizing communication, you might invest in collaboration tools, building relationships, scheduling regular 1-on-1 meetings, creating clear workflows, and actively listening to employees.
Remember that the key to creating company culture is to follow incremental design practices. Otherwise, your teams may push back against so much change and/or feel like an outsider is commanding them what to do.
Consider all these actions in an incremental way –just like a prototype where you go step by step, getting feedback and iterating over time.
4. Iterate & maintain
Iteration is key to building a remote work culture that actually works. Be sure to keep updating and refining your culture over time. In this way, you’ll be able to enhance your people power and retain your best talent.
For example, it's a great idea to document your remote work culture. By doing so, you can work together on how to update or refresh it over time. Schedule when you will collect feedback and survey team members as a first step, but also consider how your culture may evolve over time.
With remote work culture, you should never “arrive.” Challenge your teams to continue to grow and iterate to build an amazing work environment.
Build your remote work culture like a product
Creating a company culture doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, you’ll have to build it over time, just like you would a key software development project.
At Nexton, we’ve seen the importance of remote work culture firsthand, as we connect talented developers with remote opportunities in the U.S. Leverage these tips to help you better define your company culture and retain top tech talent!