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Building a healthy culture while working remotely

By Jack Campbell
27 March 2024 | 10 minute read
michelle meurer reb k2omw5

The rise of remote and hybrid work has been a win for employee wellbeing and flexibility. However, culture has taken a hit as the face-to-face human connection has been disjointed.

Employers now have the challenge of building a thriving culture in a virtual setting. This can be tricky, as finding ways to bring people together remotely is easier said than done.

Adapting to the change is what will pull companies through this challenge. According to Litera’s chief people officer, Michelle Meurer, upholding communication is key.


“Workforce dynamics continue to change, and almost a quarter (24 per cent) of Australian organisations expect home or remote working to increase over the next two years. With more teams working remotely and more autonomously, the entire leadership team, the people team, and the organisation are responsible for ensuring connection and contributing to the culture,” said Meurer.

“The foundation of building a strong culture is commitment and alignment around key components mission, vision and values. Our team works closely to align all initiatives in ways to build our culture. We ensure regular, cascaded communication of updates, encouraging regular performance and development communications between managers and their team members, and regular recognition and rewards.”

There are a few important considerations that can make developing company culture remotely more effective. Regular meetings, one-on-one time, remote learning and development opportunities, and consistent employee surveys can all assist in keeping staff engaged while working outside the office.

However, an integral aspect of company culture is the connection employees make with colleagues. This can be challenging, as a face-to-face chat will always beat a Zoom one.

Meurer continued: “It is all about being intentional. When we are physically in the same location, it’s easy to pop by the coffee machine and have a quick chat about weekend plans, holidays or interests; however, we also need to encourage those same interactions virtually, whether through instant messaging, a few minutes of social chat at the beginning of scheduled meetings, or carving out time to set a non-agenda-driven call with teams.”

“For example, each of my team calls begins with a ‘one good thing’ where each team member shares one good thing, personal or professional, that’s happened since the last time we met. We share information about travels, projects, accomplishments, families everything and anything so long as it’s a good thing. These short moments of connection fuel getting to know each other better as human beings, which is the basis of connection. Ensuring everyone in a remote organisation is deliberate about making time and space to know each other better is the key.”

When asked if cultivating a strong culture with remote teams is as important as in a face-to-face role, Meurer said: “I believe it is equally important if not more so.”

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