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How to Build a Supportive Company Culture in a Remote Environment

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Last Update: August 21, 2023

With more and more companies transitioning from physical offices to working remotely, it's important to make sure your organization continues to foster an engaging and supportive culture – even when you're miles apart. 

Remote work can be isolating, so making sure employees feel connected is imperative for higher job satisfaction, productivity, and a successful work environment. 

Even if your team can't meet in a physical office space, you can still create a strong, supportive company culture. Establishing ideas and processes for fostering good communication, collaboration, and feedback is key to forming positive relationships among team members – no matter where they are located in the world. 

Read on to learn some of the best practices for building a remote work environment that promotes strong company culture without compromising productivity or morale.

Develop Clear Communication Guidelines 

The most important part of creating a remote team is setting up clear communication policies for each team member. This includes deciding on which communication methods are preferred (like video meetings or Slack), how often they need to check in with supervisors or other members, and what kind of response time should be expected from the team.

Doing this helps establish trust between everyone involved since people know what’s expected of them – providing much-needed structure and direction at times in which it might otherwise be lacking. Staggered scheduling can also be helpful here if both sides agree that it's beneficial.

Allowing workers certain periods of the day for uninterrupted focus followed by regular check-ins outside those hours creates more attainable goals within set parameters while still allowing flexible working hours overall.  

Offer Regular Feedback 

To develop a supportive work culture when you’re working remotely, you’ll want to prioritize being open and honest in conversations with colleagues about their performance. 

This helps prevent any misunderstandings further down the line if issues aren’t addressed as they arise because it allows people to take responsibility for their actions sooner rather than later on.

Try setting regular meetings dedicated to talking through employee progress, successes, and even feedback from each other. You’ll find these useful in gauging how teams are doing while also giving employees a chance to reflect or suggest any changes needed internally for better communication flow.

Positive feedback where due can make workers feel more incentivized and develop a sense of solidarity and camaraderie within the organization. 

Check Up on Mental Health 

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people to feel isolated or overwhelmed as they adjust to working remotely for extended periods of time. 

A study from The Harvard Business Review back in 2017 found that so many remote workers are struggling, feeling “left out” of the workplace’s social circle.1 Depending on the size of your team, organizing small virtual check-ins every so often can be particularly helpful for fighting off employee stress.

Having an open dialogue about workplace stressors also encourages those who might feel hesitant to speak up and provides non-judgemental guidance for any issues brought up by both sides. 

If appropriate, it may be wise to offer your employees access to necessary mental health resources such as therapy, mindfulness apps, or Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).

Offer (Reasonable) Leniency

Creating a supportive work environment means being patient and understanding when it comes to unforeseeable opportunities or circumstances. People’s lives are rarely predictable. If someone does need to take extended time away from work, flexibility should always be an option at any company, even in remote environments.

Keeping an open mind and remaining willing to compromise is key, as this allows employees to approach work feeling supported and reassured – both of which go hand in hand with levels of trust that working conditions will be all the better for everyone involved.

However, this should not translate to no repercussions for workplace violations or poor work performance. It’s entirely possible to combine leniency with professional accountability, and doing this ensures that overall expectations and goals aren’t overlooked in the process.

Provide Guidance and Counseling

You may not be in a physical office, but there’s still plenty of value in providing guidance and mentorship for your team.

According to Forbes, roughly 70% of Fortune 500 companies have shifted towards pairing younger employees with experienced mentors, increasing the likelihood of employee retention and promotion in the process.2

Companies can be certain that new hires can access resources when they need help rather than try tackling problems all alone. This builds trust between each person involved and keeps everyone on the same page if discussions get more technical, as well.

Outside of employee mentorship programs, your company may find it helpful to establish a help forum or chat room that’s open to everyone. This encourages employees to share ideas or concerns while providing more streamlined way to find solutions.

If you want to create a supportive culture, make sure your employees have a channel to support one another, too.

Offer Benefits and Perks 

Finally, some of the best ways to create a supportive atmosphere in a remote team is by making sure your employees are taken care of and feel appreciated. Providing benefits like parental leave, health insurance coverage, and 401K matching reduces the burden on individuals, resulting in both employee productivity and retention.

If you're looking for a large return on your investment, consider professional development training and counseling. Not only are these beneficial during difficult times, but your employees' heightened skill set will also come in handy when tackling important company objectives. 

Note: Financial Wellness

Something often overlooked when people talk about creating a supportive company culture is financial wellness. Because money affects nearly every aspect of our lives, it’s important that employees have access to financial resources as well. 

Financial stress is a tangible threat to the general well-being of your employees. Offering services like Enrich's Financial Wellness Platform can help employees gain a proper financial education and achieve personalized financial wellness.

With resources like budgeting and savings tips, tax advice, automatic investment tracking, financial coaching, and more, Enrich’s platform is a great way to set your team up for financial empowerment and stability in this new remote economy. 

The techniques your employees will learn are integral to not only ensuring their own financial success but to cultivating a secure and positive work environment for in-person and remote teams alike. 

What to Avoid

No matter your approach to building company culture, it's important to know what to avoid when it comes to remote work. Tackle these problems early to avoid communication breakdowns later on:

Unrealistic Standards

Don't expect workers to be available 24/7. Setting reasonable deadlines and expectations will help avoid annoyance, burnout, and a lack of trust between employees.

Unclear Roles & Goals 

Make sure your team has clear knowledge of their responsibilities, roles, and objectives so that there's no confusion over who does what. This gives your team direction instead of an aimless attitude that can lead nowhere fast. 

Negativity & Criticism 

Fostering a supportive culture requires open communication – but make sure it remains constructive. Avoid derisive or negative language and instead provide clear feedback for growth that makes everyone feel heard, respected, and validated. 

The Bottom Line

Building a supportive remote company culture isn’t so different from building one in person – it just requires mindfulness and extra effort, given the added challenge of dealing with distance.  

Ultimately, a positive and efficient team culture requires support and recognition from the top down, so taking the extra time to implement some of these practices is well worth it. 

At the end of the day, finding what works best is all about connecting with your employees, understanding their needs, and providing them with the resources they need to stay motivated and successful.

Through the right structure, communications, and expectations, you can ensure that even when you're miles apart, your work life carries on just as productively online as it did in your office.



1 - https://hbr.org/2017/11/a-study-of-1100-employees-found-that-remote-workers-feel-shunned-and-left-out

2 - https://www.forbes.com/sites/nazbeheshti/2019/01/23/improve-workplace-culture-with-a-strong-mentoring-program/?sh=7276fac876b5

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