C ulture is defined, in Merriam-Webster, as: “The customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social groups.” Remote culture is not just how the people on your remote team talk to and interact with individuals on the rest of the team or within themselves.
It’s how the company conducts itself around the idea of “being remote” and what it means to everyone as a whole. For your company’s remote culture to be good, even the people who aren’t remote need to care about it and recognize it as something important and integral to the business. So, how do you do that?
First, there are differences in the cultures of entirely remote and partially co-located companies. When an entire company is remote, everyone is on a level playing field, and it doesn’t feel like any one team (whether that be the remote team or the in-office team) is at a disadvantage. Basecamp was one of the original companies to pioneer remote working and have created many of the policies that whole-remote companies use to function.
When you have both co-located employees and remote employees it makes for a complex situation where you need to ensure that both groups are treated similarly and offered the same types of benefits and perks. For example: if your in-office employees get lunch catered to them every Friday, what perk do your remote employees get that is comparable?
These types of considerations are incredibly important when considering building a remote team, and creating a culture that is representative of your company values. Building remote culture means taking the same time and effort that you would for an in-person team to ensure that the traditions, practices, and values that you hold important are carried through, even though they are not physically in the office.
Making traditions and values stick when people aren’t always together can be really tricky, but creating regular practices, like a weekly video chat where everyone hangs out together, or a special treat that the remote employees get when there is an in-office party can go a long way towards creating something strong and lasting.