Join Digital Nomads and Remote Workers to Ask Questions, Share Experiences, Find Remote Jobs and Seek Recommendations.

Remote-First Workforces: Cultivating Company Culture from Afar

Over the past few years, there has been a significant shift towards remote work. Driven mainly by technological advancements, globalization, changing attitudes towards work, and now, the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work is becoming the new normal. According to recent research by Buffer, 98% of remote workers would like to continue working remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their careers. As a result, companies are increasingly adopting remote-first workforces as a means of staying ahead of the competition and attracting the best talent.

However, remote work comes with its own set of challenges, such as communication barriers, feelings of isolation, difficulty in cultivating company culture from afar, and cybersecurity risks. In this article, we will unpack what a remote-first workforce is, its advantages and disadvantages, and explore strategies for cultivating a strong company culture within a remote-first workforce. We will also look at the current state of remote work and the future of the workplace in the post-pandemic world.

What is a Remote-First Workforce?

A remote-first workforce is an organization that prioritizes remote work as its primary mode of operation. It could mean a team that has flexible remote work options, is entirely remote, or a hybrid model that balances remote and on-site work. Remote work is not limited by geography and enables companies to access a global talent pool. Depending on the industry and the company’s unique requirements, remote work models may include fully remote, partial remote, or hybrid remote work.

Advantages of Remote-First Workforces

Increased Productivity

Remote workers are often more productive than office-based workers, as they have fewer distractions and can work in a more focused environment. According to a study conducted by FlexJobs, remote workers are 55% more productive than office-based workers due to fewer interruptions and less time spent commuting. Additionally, remote workers often have more control over their work environment, leading to increased satisfaction and engagement.

Lower Overhead Costs

Having a remote-first workforce can save organizations significant amounts of money on rent, utilities, and office equipment. This is because employees work from their own homes or co-working spaces, making it unnecessary for organizations to lease or buy expensive office space. Remote-first workforces also reduce the need for commute-related expenses, such as gas, parking, and public transportation costs.

Access to a Global Talent Pool

Remote work enables companies to access a global talent pool, not limited by geography. This makes it easier to find the most qualified candidates for any position, regardless of their location. Remote work also enables companies to tap into diverse talent pools, as remote work models can attract professionals from different regions and backgrounds.

Improved Work-Life Balance

Remote work models offer greater flexibility and enable employees to balance their work schedule with their personal life responsibilities. This means that remote workers can adjust their work schedule to accommodate family commitments, child care responsibilities, and other personal obligations. Flexibility in work schedules is a crucial factor in employee satisfaction and engagement.

Reduced Employee Burnout and Turnover

Remote work significantly reduces employee burnout and turnover. Studies show that remote workers are more satisfied with their jobs, report lower levels of stress, and have higher levels of overall job satisfaction than their office-based counterparts. Additionally, remote workers have fewer absenteeism rates and lower healthcare expenses.

Disadvantages of Remote-First Workforces

Lack of Face-To-Face Interaction

Remote-first workforces have fewer opportunities for casual face-to-face interactions among team members. This can lead to a feeling of isolation and detachment from the team, leading to reduced collaboration and productivity. Remote workers may also experience professional stagnation, as they may not have the opportunity to build relationships with colleagues that can provide greater visibility within the organization.

Communication Challenges

Remote work requires the usage of digital communication tools. These communication tools can lead to miscommunication, especially if team members have different communication styles or cultural backgrounds. It is also harder to convey tone and emotion over digital channels, leading to misunderstandings and conflicts. Remote-first organizations must establish communication protocols, including preferred channels for different types of communication, and establish regular touchpoints. An open line of communication can help cultivate a sense of belonging and ensure that remote workers feel included.

Difficulty Fostering Company Culture

The lack of physical proximity can make it a challenge for organizations to build and maintain a strong company culture that resonates with employees. Fostering a company culture in a remote-first workforce requires extra attention to ensure that remote workers feel included, valued, and part of a cohesive team. Remote-first organizations must establish clear expectations, core values, and a culture of trust to ensure that remote workers feel connected and engaged.

Technical Difficulties

Remote work can be challenging due to technical difficulties such as internet outages, system updates, and other technical issues. These problems can severely impact productivity and may require IT support to solve them. Remote-first organizations must invest in the necessary technical infrastructure and provide remote support to ensure that employees can troubleshoot technical issues efficiently.

Cybersecurity Risks

Remote work exposes companies to an increased risk of cyber-attacks. Remote workers may use unsecured networks, share sensitive information through insecure channels, or fall victim to phishing attacks. Companies must invest in cybersecurity measures to secure their networks and data from cyber threats.

Strategies for Cultivating Company Culture in Remote-First Workforces

Establish Clear Communication Guidelines

Remote work demands clear communication channels and guidelines to ensure that team members stay informed and engaged. Organizations must establish communication protocols, including preferred channels for different types of communication, and establish regular touchpoints. Establishing a remote communication policy can help the entire team stay on the same page, regardless of their location.

Invest in Collaboration Tools

There are several collaboration tools that organizations can use to improve their remote work experience. These tools can facilitate seamless communication, video conferencing, project management, and file-sharing, among other features. Some of the commonly used collaboration tools include Slack, Zoom, Google Drive, Asana, Trello, and Basecamp. Investing in the right tools can improve productivity and ensure that remote workers have access to the necessary resources to do their job efficiently.

Define Company Values and Mission

Identifying and defining company values and mission is essential for creating a strong and focused team culture. Remote-first organizations must ensure that each employee understands and aligns with the company’s vision, mission, and values, particularly as they relate to remote work. Organizations can achieve this by consistently communicating the vision, mission, and values of the company and providing training, performance reviews, and feedback that reinforces these beliefs. These values should permeate through all aspects of the organization, including the communication channels, daily practices, and leadership style.

Foster Employee Engagement

Remote work can sometimes lead to isolation and detachment from the team. Regular virtual team-building activities help employees feel connected and create a sense of belonging. Some of the virtual team-building activities that remote teams can incorporate include online games, virtual happy hours, and coffee breaks, among others. Providing these opportunities helps remote teams establish strong bonds that can lead to increased productivity, engagement, and job satisfaction.

Provide Opportunities for Career Development

Remote workers need opportunities for career growth and advancement, just like office-based workers. Offering regular training, coaching, and development programs ensure that remote workers feel supported and have opportunities for personal and career growth. These opportunities promote a sense of belonging and provide remote workers with the necessary tools to excel in their roles.

State of Remote Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a catalyst for the shift towards remote work. According to a Gartner survey, 88% of organizations worldwide adopted remote work in response to the pandemic. For many organizations, the overnight shift to remote work was a challenge, but one that has proven that remote work is a viable option. The pandemic has also led to a fundamental shift in the way work is viewed, as more employees seek flexibility in their work schedules, and organizations realize the benefits of a remote-first workforce.

The future of Remote Work

The shift towards remote work is set to continue in the post-pandemic world. According to a Gartner survey, 74% of CFOs expect to move at least 5% of their full-time, onsite workforce to remote positions post-COVID-19. Companies will continue to prioritize remote work models, driven mainly by the need to access a global talent pool, reduce overhead costs, and provide employees with greater flexibility. Additionally, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies, making remote work more accessible and efficient.


Remote-first workforces are fast becoming the new normal. Remote work offers several benefits for both employers and employees, including increased productivity, lower overhead costs, flexibility, work-life balance, and reduced employee burnout and turnover. However, with the shift towards remote work comes a new set of challenges, particularly in cultivating and maintaining company culture. To build a strong company culture in a remote-first workforce, organizations must establish clear communication guidelines, invest in collaboration tools, define company values and mission, foster employee engagement, and provide opportunities for career development. The future of remote work is in the hands of organizations that can adapt to this shift quickly, cultivate a strong company culture, and provide a productive and secure work environment.

We Work From Anywhere

Find Remote Jobs, Ask Questions, Connect With Digital Nomads, and Live Your Best Location-Independent Life.