Building a remote culture

Whether you are working remotely or in an office there is always the lingering issues of burnout, isolation, and anxiety. Establishing a culture that acknowledges and recognizes this allows for a more productive and fulfilling work environment.

There are no single players in a team sport. Workplace leaders need to establish a culture that is collaborative, respectful, and empowers everyone. Team leaders need to be able to recognize and respect the diversity of the team.

2020 was a year of short-term response to remote work, but it also opened the pathways towards the long term potential of remote asynchronous work.

Remote work is the future of work; period

  • Talented people who have struggled to find meaningful well-paying jobs without relocating will now have a world of opportunity to do so.
  • Business are being forced to become more agile and better equipped to deal with the growing demand for remote work and diverse teams.
  • Individual voices that have been historically isolated from the team are now being recognized and valued.

In a remote team, culture is the documented values of your organization

  1. Crate a Mental Health Playbook. It is easier to become isolated in a remote environment– particularly for those who are new to the job. It is easier to become anxious and frustrated when are unaware of the resources available to you. Having a remote playbook that is easy to find and easy to follow will help everyone feel more comfortable and less anxious. The playbook should highlight the importance of being mindful of your own health and the health of others, and should be reinforced with regular check-ins and reminders.
  2. Foster a curious and nonjudgmental culture. Ensure that conversations about mental health and wellbeing are encouraged. You should strive to build and sustain the core values of a curious and nonjudgmental culture. This starts by encouraging diversity and inclusivity in all interactions. Foster an environment where team members can be themselves safely and openly. Encourage people to produce their best work in a place where they feel the most comfortable, and on a schedule where they feel the most productive.
  3. Do not celebrate long working hours. Burnout is not something that happens all at once. It takes you by surprise after days, weeks, or months of ever-increasing workloads. The occasional extra hour when necessary isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when those extra hours become a habit or a baseline for expectations, it will become a problem. When you feel that you have to overwork to maintain status-quo, you will be more likely to feel frustrated and anxious. When someone does go above and beyond they be shown gratitude, but you need to be careful not to set the expectation of a new normal.
  4. Encourage rest and time off. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it is important to have a rest day. Resting is a great way to get your mind off the grind and get back to work. Clarity comes through rest.

    Rest does not come at the expense of work; it is a core function of doing excellent work.

    Traditionally, strong work ethics dictated that you put in long hours and celebrate the hours spent working. This is wrong. Finding a balance between work and rest is a key part of being a productive and fulfilling employee and a happy healthy individual.

  5. Encourage a healthy lifestyle. While remote work can offer many mental health benefits, it can also lead to a more sedentary lifestyle. It is important to be mindful of your own habits and encourage healthy lifestyle choices, including a healthy diet, exercise, and sleep. By untethering yourself from an office team members can begin to structure their work around their lives, instead of the other way around. It may take some experimentation to find the best balance.