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How to Build a Thriving Culture with a Remote-First Model

In recent years, remote work has become increasingly popular as technology has allowed people to work from anywhere in the world. And then came 2020, which saw an acceleration in the move to remote work, driven by the pandemic. As companies embraced remote work to keep their employees safe, many discovered the benefits that remote work can have on their operations, including cost savings, increased productivity, and better work-life balance for employees.

As a result, many companies have made the decision to switch to a remote-first model, serving as a catalyst for culture change. With so many employees working from home, creating and maintaining a positive culture can be a challenge. However, with the right approach, it is possible to build and maintain a thriving culture with a remote-first model.

In this article, we will dive deeper into the tips for building a thriving culture with a remote-first model:

Create a strong sense of community

One of the key challenges with remote work is the feeling of isolation. People miss the daily interactions, the watercooler chats, and the sense of community that comes with working in an office. To create a thriving culture in a remote-first model, companies need to create a sense of community among team members.

The sense of community helps to create a feeling of belongingness and fosters a collective sense of purpose that drives team members towards working together to achieve common goals. The team member can connect, support each others’ goals, share their knowledge and skills, and support in achieving demanding targets.

a. Group activities

Group activities are essential for developing strong bonds among remote teams. There are plenty of activities that can help build trust and camaraderie amongst members. These activities range from virtual coffee chats, happy hours, and other events where team members can interact and collaborate. You can organize activities that allow team members to interact and learn from each other while also having fun.

For instance, you could introduce challenges that require the team to work together to solve or invite team members who are looking to share their interests such as cooking, painting, or writing. Additionally, team members can engage in healthy competition like contests, trivia games, and video game battles.

b. Personal interactions

It’s essential to encourage team members to get to know each other on a personal level by sharing their hobbies, interests, and even family members. You can dedicate a section during team meetings for members to share individual accomplishments or personal updates like birthdays, anniversaries, or graduations. These updates can help create a more relaxed atmosphere and create a sense of belongingness among remote employees.

c. Team collaboration

Remote-first models require synchronized collaboration among members to produce high-quality work. Therefore, it’s essential to encourage teamwork by encouraging members to take the lead in different roles, share their knowledge or skills, and appreciate the team’s efforts. This approach engages team members, enhances communication, and fosters a feeling of inclusivity for everyone.

By creating a strong sense of community through these activities, remote teams can build trust, nurture strong relationships, and foster a sense of belongingness even when they are miles apart.

Establish clear communication channels

Communication is the lifeblood of a remote-first culture. By having open and transparent communication channels, teams can stay on the same page, collaborate effectively, and build trust in one another.

a. Team Meetings

Establish regular check-ins that provide a forum for each team member to update their colleagues on their projects’ progress and communicate regular feedback. Encourage everyone to be open and honest about how they’re feeling and make sure to address any issues that arise promptly.

The set schedule for routine video conferencing enables members to share critical updates, provide confidential feedback, and set short- and long-term goals. You should request an agenda before each meeting to ensure compliance among members and identify each member’s contribution.

b. Optimize communication channels

Optimize team communication by choosing the right communication channels for the job at hand. Video conferences, email, text messaging, chats, and project management tools are essential tools for setting up reliable and frequent communication lines. By opting for the best communication channel, the team can synchronize their communication standards, leading to error-free tasks.

c. Communication etiquettes

It’s fundamental to set communication standards like replying promptly to emails, acknowledging any questions addressed, and notifying the team of any upcoming changes. Additionally, everyone should have the authority to communicate, keeping everyone abreast of any updates or challenges faced during a project.

Incorporating regular communication spaces and channels will ensure team collaboration is intact.

Offer flexibility

When working remotely, team members often have different lifestyles, workloads, and personal obligations that make a rigid work schedule a challenge. Offering flexibility can help to boost productivity, reduce stress, and promote work-life balance.

a. Set working hours

While it is important to establish clear working hours or time zones for team members to be reachable, be flexible with how the time is utilized. Allow team members to work their best hours, whether that is early morning or late at night. Make sure that each team member is following preset time zones to ensure comfortable working hours.

b. Autonomy in workloads

Provide team members with the autonomy to balance their workloads on their own terms if they are meeting targets. It’s important to trust that team members will meet their deadlines and that they can create a balance between the number of projects assigned to them and their level of productivity.

c. Flexible time-off policies

Offer flexible time-off policies that allow team members to take time off when they need it without compromising the quality of their work or their team’s productivity. Notably, you should encourage members to recharge and clear their heads by granting short breaks where necessary.

Emphasize the importance of downtime, vacation planning, and proactive leave requests. This approach ensures the smooth operation of the teams’ workflow, notes consultation regarding the leave request, and manages the handover ahead of the employee’s time off.

Invest in technology

Technology plays a vital role in remote-first work culture. With the right tools and technologies to support remote work, teams can collaborate seamlessly and work more efficiently.

a. Project management tools

Invest in project management software that can help team members stay on top of their tasks and deadlines. It will help everyone monitor how far each of their team members has gone with their projects and advise accordingly.

b. Document sharing platforms

Invest in a document-sharing platform like Dropbox or Google Drive to store documents and files that team members can access from anywhere. It guarantees convenient and secure file-sharing with remote team members and easy access to relevant project documents.

c. Social and Team Communication tools

Invest in social and team communication tools that can help team members interact and collaborate over multiple time zones. Examples include Slack or Asana, where team members can share the work that they contribute daily and communicate effortlessly.

By investing in technology, remote employees can have a reliable and convenient virtual office workspace that enhances their collaboration and effectiveness. It eliminates confusion of trying to reach members, provides efficient data sharing, and boosts the general operational task list for the team members.

Leadership is essential!

Leadership determines the extent and efficacy of the team’s collaboration, effectiveness, and success in a remote first culture. It’s essential to lead by example if companies want their teams to thrive in a remote-first environment.

a. Leading trust-building

Demonstrate trust by allowing team members to work autonomously without micromanaging them. One effective way is by setting clear expectations of the employees’ role and deliverables, highlighting the benefits of everyone being respected and trusted to complete their tasks autonomously.

b. Open Communication

Encourage open and honest communication by sharing information transparently and being receptive to feedback. Team members will reach out more frequently, share work that isn’t yet complete, and then say why they are struggling. By establishing an error-free protocol in communication, remote workers can enjoy the benefits of feedback and have the surety of people listening to them.

c. Show empathy and understanding

Show empathy and understanding by recognizing the challenges that remote work can create and offering support and resources if needed. For example, it’s important to acknowledge that remote workers may feel isolated, lonely, and stressed from prolonged working hours. Seeking advice from seasoned members or healthcare professionals can help promote employee well-being and morale in the long-run.


In conclusion, building a thriving culture with a remote-first model is not always easy and requires effort, creativity, and innovation. By creating a strong sense of community, establishing clear communication channels, offering flexibility, investing in technology, and leading by example, companies can create a thriving culture, even when working remotely. A thriving culture helps to promote employee engagement, inspire loyalty and trust, and drive success over the long term.

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