Ever since the COVID era of 2020, ‘remote work’ has been a popular buzzword for employees looking for ideal employers. Across the industry, we’ve seen employers push back on the fully remote culture, nudging employees to get back into the office occasionally, whether it’s for the sake of productivity, camaraderie, or other motivations.
However, many employees love the lifestyle of remote work due to its unmistakable perks of no commute times, asynchronous work allowing for more flexible schedules, or the ability to hang out with their pets all day.
This shift has caused a disconnect between employer and employee.
The employee seeks as much freedom as possible and expects that their employer trusts them completely. On the other hand, employers want peace of mind in knowing that their people are being as productive at home as they were in the office and want to be able to keep a finger on the pulse of the company’s culture, which is impossible to do with a fully remote company…
…or is it?
Over the past three years, a new company skillset has emerged: creating an empowering, trusting company culture that the employee actively wants to be a part of in a 100% remote environment.
One major benefit that underscores the importance of cultivating a thriving remote work culture is the impact it has on employee happiness. When employees feel connected, engaged, and valued in a remote work environment, their overall job satisfaction and well-being soar. In turn, this leads to higher retention rates, increased productivity, and a sense of belonging that contributes to the long-term success of the company.
At Artisan, we have doubled down on building a positive and supportive culture in a fully remote environment.
What does a healthy remote company culture look like?
There is one key thing that remote companies need to focus on if they want to replicate or even improve the rich culture that can come with in-person company structures - relationships.
When a remote company focuses on empowering employees to build solid professional relationships with each other, the rest of the culture tends to fall into place.
As we know, humans are social creatures by nature. Introverts and extroverts alike are inherently drawn to some sort of human interaction – more importantly, human connection. When we spend 40 hours per week in an environment that could otherwise be somewhat lonely (i.e. a home office with the house to ourselves), we, as employees, need to know that we are empowered to find a way to connect.
The biggest piece of the culture flywheel
Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of company leaders to empower employees to build an engaging culture. The goal in doing so should be to fill the proverbial cup of everyone in the company so they can go out and confidently provide the best possible service to your customers.
One major culture-focused initiative we have adopted is a company-wide retreat. We all interact regularly via Slack but rarely get to be in the same physical space in person. Our annual company retreat, coined Artisan Connect, allows everyone in the company to do exactly that. We spend a long weekend in a different city each year doing team-building activities, listening to engaging speakers on focused topics, participating in workshops, and enjoying leisure time - all alongside our beloved colleagues from across the globe.
The foundation of this culture-centric ecosystem is the company-wide retreat, an initiative that not only bridges physical gaps but also strengthens the bonds between employees. By investing in such initiatives, organizations can create a perpetual motion machine of a positive, engaging culture that benefits both the company and its employees.
Artisan Connect requires months of planning and a sizable financial investment, but it has proven to be one of the best decisions we have made as a company. People come out of that weekend engaged and having established a firm bond with many of their coworkers. When they return to work, they tend to be even more engaged in Slack conversations because they know who they’re talking to!
This starts the flywheel of a positive, engaging company culture spinning quickly and zealously.
Because bonds are established and relationships are strengthened, people organically want to form stronger relationships with their colleagues after returning home. The company retreat results in more company-wide engagement and activities throughout the year. These connections make employees, both tenured and new, want to attend and give more energy to the next company-wide retreat. They end up getting more out of the retreat the following year and want to be involved in the culture at Artisan.
Thus, we have created a perpetual motion machine that only requires caring about employees enough to empower them to connect in a real way.
To recap, here are some useful highlights to help leaders and employees navigate engagement:
- It’s the job of the leadership team to build an engaging culture that creates an environment where the employees can be the best versions of themselves.
- One way Artisan implements this is through our company-wide retreat. Take the time to listen to what your people need and want out of the retreat and curate it the best you can to create an overall enjoyable experience.
- If your company’s leadership is open to the idea, set a meeting to have a budgetary discussion to explore the idea of a company-wide retreat. Try to find a way to make it fit into the budget - this has a remarkably large ROI over time when you consider long-term employee engagement, productivity, retention, recruiting, and other benefits.
- If you’re able to work it into the budget, set a meeting with a small group to begin discussing what a retreat might look like at a high level, before eventually starting to plan the details.
- If you need help with the structure of the retreat, reach out to me at email@example.com, and let’s talk through how Artisan has found success with our retreats!
The remote work landscape is evolving, and the need for a vibrant remote work culture is more significant than ever. The key to a thriving culture lies in prioritizing relationships, empowering employees, and investing in initiatives like company-wide retreats. By doing so, organizations can create a work environment where employee happiness, productivity, and job satisfaction thrive, ensuring their long-term success in the ever-changing world of remote work.