Commentary: Maintaining the corporate culture in the age of remote work

While team members can usually work from home, they should be required to meet in the office from time to time in order to maintain the corporate culture. For example, all members of a team might come to the office on the same day one or two days a week, or the same week every month. Through these in-person experiences, the team can create camaraderie, develop interpersonal relationships, and collectively make key decisions.

Likewise, it’s much easier to get new employees to adopt the corporate culture if they spend time in the office first. When new employees are recruited, they really need to be educated about the standards and mores of the company. Thus, they should be required to spend a few days in the office each week for their first or two months, even if they will later work mainly from home. Back in the office, new hires can meet colleagues, observe veterans behavior, and ask questions.

In the new world of remote working, some companies will have multiple offices spread across the region, country or world. In these situations, it is difficult to keep the culture of a company away from headquarters. Thus, senior company executives should visit satellite offices regularly and meet with as many employees as possible. Companies should also hold annual events for employees from all offices, virtual or in person, to generate support for a shared vision, discuss key issues and recognize top results.

Whether remotely or in person, managers must communicate often and honestly about the situation of the company to their teams. According to Glassdoor, the average cultural scores in the first six months of the pandemic were the highest in the past five years. The reason: transparent communications from senior company executives. If managers are transparent communicators and follow the four steps outlined in this article, they will build trust among their team members, the foundation of any positive corporate culture.

Robert C. Pozen is Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management. He and Alexandra Samuel are co-authors of the forthcoming book, “Remote, Inc .: How To Thrive At Work … Wherever You Are”. He is based in Boston. This content represents the views of the author. It has been submitted and edited according to P&I guidelines but is not a product of the P&I editorial team.

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