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Fostering company culture when employees are far apart

Today's office often transcends physical boundaries and even time zones, thanks to the prevalence of remote working technology.

Today's office often transcends physical boundaries and even time zones, thanks to the prevalence of remote working technology. Reward and recognition programs point to the efficacy of maintaining an engaged and motivated workforce. To this end, managers also need to develop a strong company culture and sense of community, but this can be difficult when some employees rarely see each other. Thankfully, there are ways managers can bridge the distance:

  • Develop and maintain strong traditions and norms. An organizations's behavioral norms, values and mission are important components of company culture. When emphasized repeatedly and consistency, they can forge a sense of unity across workspaces, Erica Diehn, a professor of management, wrote in Star Tribune. She suggested using creative virtual engagement, such as holding a competition for the best employee video demonstrating a company norm or goal. 
  • Tell stories and communicate often. Core stories, like start-up tales, can become part of tradition and testimonials can help foster a sense of shared experiences, Diehn said. In an article for The Guardian, Peter Burgess suggested that managers call remote employees to congratulate them or offer support.
  • Bring people (virtually) together in celebration. Diehn suggested creating company-specific events, such as a founders' day, or involving teams in reward programs. This pulls everyone together in a high-spirited context.
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