Remote work culture is essential to attract new hires in a candidate short market
Employer, People + Culture

How to build great remote work culture

Work culture is the single biggest factor that predicts company attrition and can also be a sway factor to key employees from leaving.

Behind salary, flexibility is the number one request from candidates. But without a great remote work culture propping up your business, offering flexibility alone just won’t work.

It’s up to employers to understand how to build great remote work culture to ensure they can attract candidates and make a hire that sticks.

Why is workplace culture so important?

Workplace culture has long been the key for companies to attract and retain great talent.

It is the single biggest factor that predicts company attrition and can also be a sway factor to key employees from leaving:

  • A 2019 Glassdoor global survey found that 77% of respondents would consider the company culture before accepting a job.
  • 2022 research from MIT Sloan found the single most important predictor of attrition is a toxic work culture. They found a toxic work culture is 10.4 more times powerful than compensation in predicting an attrition rate.
  • Lever’s 2022 Employee Retention Report found that Gen Z attrition rates sit at 65%, compared to the average of 40%, and this group is more likely to leave a job to find one that better aligns with their wants. Lever also found that the second biggest motivator to staying in a position was flexibility.

While the future of work has changed—with opportunities to work entirely remotely or in a hybrid work arrangement now commonplace—the requirement to provide and nurture a positive work culture has stayed the same.

Set team goals to build remote work culture

Characteristics of a great work culture

Whether the team is remote or in the office, the characteristics of a great work culture are the same:

  • Engaged employees: workers are enthusiastic and feel aligned with the company’s values and goals. They are motivated and mostly enjoy coming to work, save for the odd bad day.
  • High levels of collaboration: there are several opportunities for cross-department teamwork and groups operate largely without conflict.
  • Individual recognition: workers are seen and heard as individuals. Their strengths and weaknesses are understood and celebrated.
  • Pathways for growth: there are opportunities for individuals to evolve in their careers within the company.

Challenges to building a remote work culture

Flexibility is a bargaining tool for employers and employees to negotiate an arrangement that’s suitable for all parties. It’s especially important for those companies that can’t compete in salary-driven negotiations.

Unfortunately, while you might have a great culture in the office, if you’re new to remote working, this doesn’t translate to remote workers without tweaks to your existing processes.

There are a few hurdles:

  • Visual cues, such as body language, signalling how an employee feels may be missed.
  • There are many individuals who work in different ways, which will affect the frequency of communication and medium. Managers must invest in a discovery process to understand what’s required, which can be time intensive and may not be prioritised as a result. (See: DiSC styles and working from home: How to manage your team)
  • Different working hours, with little overlap.

Three tips to build a great remote work culture

  1. Focus on team goals rather than attendance requirements

Employees may work in non-linear ways, and this focus on a team goal creates accountability without dictating a set path to achieve the goal. Keep lines of communication open and transparent, so progress is maintained and can serve as a motivator for your remote team.

Remote work culture is essential to attract and retain talent

  1. Be proactive in documenting and sharing knowledge

Most organisations have an onboarding process and documentation to support this. When employees work remotely, as we mentioned in the first point, they may discover new ways to work that are more efficient. Ensure you have a way for this knowledge to be shared quickly with the team, as well as recorded somewhere for future employees to use.

In the same way, if you have any company announcements, don’t wait for the next scheduled meeting to share this. The news will travel. Be on the front foot and ensure everyone feels included and they hear any important updates from you directly and asynchronously.

For small businesses, you might utilise Slack. For a larger business, you might use Guru.

  1. Be open to feedback

When you release any company news and updates, allow your employees to process, and provide feedback. Culture is a two-way business. If they feel they are being dictated to, rather than accommodated, your remote work culture will suffer.


Related insights

Access the latest on hiring trends, people + culture and putting your best foot forward.