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5 Strategies for Being Remote-First With an Office-Based Team

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to adopt remote work at an unprecedented pace worldwide. However, in-office employees and remote employees can struggle to communicate effectively and operate smoothly together. It’s important to address this issue for a company to function smoothly and remotely in a working world.

In this long-form blog, we discuss five strategies to help employers bridge the gap between office-based employees and remote workers, establishing a remote-first culture.

Emphasize Clear Communication

In a remote-first culture, effective communication is key. Remote workers need to feel integrated and connected with their in-office coworkers. One recommendation for effective communication is to use various communication tools, including email, instant messaging software, and video conferencing among others.

However, merely having these tools in place is not enough. It’s crucial to ensure that the remote employee and the in-office team have access to the same information. This includes meeting notes, internal memos, progress reports, among others. In this way, everyone can keep up with current developments, feel included, and collaborate effectively.

To emphasize clear communication throughout the company, employers should encourage an inclusive approach. This means that every team member, whether remote or in-office, should have equal access to information and be able to share their opinions equally in meetings.

Moreover, despite having multiple communication tools, it’s essential to have proper communication protocols in place. For instance, setting guidelines on appropriate response times to messages or emails ensures that everyone is on the same page. Such communication protocol sets a standard where everyone plays their part in the process.

Encourage Remote Working Among In-Office Employees

In-office employees might feel more included than their remote peers, which can cause division within the workforce. One solution to this problem is encouraging in-office employees to work remotely occasionally. This experience helps them understand the challenges of remote work while strengthening their communication skills with remote workers. This way, in-office employees become more empathetic and can relate adequately with their remote colleagues, ultimately creating a more cohesive team.

Additionally, remote work offers employees a chance to spend more time with their families or work from an environment that provides them with better productivity. Encouraging a flexible work environment sends a message that the company cares about a positive work-life balance.

Establish Regular Virtual Meetings

Virtual video meetings help remote workers and office-based employees feel connected despite being apart. Regular virtual meetings set the tone for effective collaboration, aligning team members’ goals, and ensuring that they are well-informed. Incorporating video conferencing meetings fosters transparency and helps remote workers feel more engaged, and hence enhance their productivity levels.

Moreover, these video meetings should be a two-way communication, i.e., both parties should be heard, whether virtual or physical, thus creating an inclusive environment in the process.

It’s crucial to establish a regular meeting schedule convenient for all team members, taking into consideration time zone differences. Ensure that everyone is updated on the meeting’s agenda beforehand and make it open for anyone to share their thoughts.

These virtual meetings do not necessarily have to be work-related. Encouraging virtual social interaction within the team like remote team-building activities or virtual game nights, helps strengthen the team’s bond, making everyone feel included and valued.

Valuing Resource Flexibility

Flexibility is a crucial value to encourage a remote-first culture. Employees should work comfortably and use the resources that suit them best. For instance, some employees might prefer a quiet space to work when in-office, while others work better in a collaborative environment with higher activity levels.

Remote employees should also have access to the technology they need, from laptop computers to necessary software. This approach ensures that remote workers feel appreciated and motivated in their job, knowing their employers value their flexible approach to work.

Moreover, paying attention to the demands of the job and giving employees an allowance in terms of selecting the ideal work environment gives employees a sense of autonomy, leading to improved motivation, and ultimately productivity.

Create a Shared Culture

Creating a shared culture is a critical value to foster collaboration and build trust within any organizations. A remote-first culture must remain centralized and foster open communication filled with transparency. This creates an environment where team members can share ideas, discuss solutions and feedback among others.

The shared culture should also encourage collaboration within and between departments, regardless of their physical location. Suppose an organization creates an environment where team members feel valued and respected, whether working from home or in-office. In that case, it empowers them to work effectively, maximizing their contributions to the company.

This shared culture does not have to be created overnight. Leaders should establish clear guiding values, working together with the team to identify core values and aligning them with the company’s vision. This approach helps develop a culture with a long-lasting and deep connection within the team.


In summary, the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic has caused most companies worldwide to adopt remote working, whether they are ready or not. A remote-first culture creates a better working environment, promoting inclusivity, engagement, and collaboration while building trust within the company.

By emphasizing the importance of clear communication, encouraging remote work for in-office employees, establishing regular virtual meetings, valuing resource flexibility, and creating a shared culture, employers can foster an inclusive environment despite the physical location of their employees. This kind of work culture can result in improved transparency, increased productivity, and reduced intra-company conflicts.

Although adopting a remote-first culture can be challenging, with the right strategies, it can be immensely beneficial. Remote work brings about more significant benefits in terms of a positive work-life balance, increased productivity, and reduced costs for the employer. Moreover, fostering a strong company culture strengthens team ties, leading to a more robust and productive team.

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