Creating a company culture with no office

Written by
Samantha Clarke

08 Dec 2015

08 Dec 2015 • by Samantha Clarke

With continuous shifts in technology, the growing millennial workforce and the move from work/life balance to work/life integration, the humble office is having a makeover. No longer a permanent location now the office transcends borders enabling individuals to work at pace and in a place that works for them. It is predicted that half the workforce will be working remotely by 2020. But what does this mean for good old fashioned employee interactions, collaborative sessions  and sacred water cooler moments that shape a company’s culture within an office. 

Whether you have employees that work part of the week out of your office or run a company with an entirely distributed team, establishing and maintaining a healthy culture is key. It won’t just magically appear as it would in an office, it requires a little more creativity and effort. Consider these key principles for success:

Create a manifesto

A manifesto is a way of anchoring your beliefs and expectations moving forwards, it decides the path you want to take and communicates the type of culture a new employee might expect to find. Create a great list of values which gives every new joiner a toe-dip into the mindset that exists within the company. Provide an insight into your way of working, your communication style, what will and won’t be tolerated, feedback styles etc so that you can attract the type of talent you really require.

Develop a path you want your company to take, embrace multiple cultures and identify how you want to show up and work authentically as a global team. Keep reaffirming these values to employees to stay on course.

Instil trust

Today’s millennial generation values freedom, flexibility and the autonomy to work at their own pace. Remote working needs high levels of trust and the right kind of leadership. On one hand it requires you to find the right self-motivated individuals and know that they will deliver the task in hand or else be held accountable. As a leader you must have faith in the results and the qualities of the employee hired whilst resisting the temptation to micro-manage. This blanket layer of trust must be mastered from the get go. There is a stronger sense of interdependence that is required for remote working company to function, everyone must play their part for success.

Maximise productivity

From meetings to project management there is an abundance of options to help you get work done, bond as a team and continue to create magic without sitting next to each other. It’s important to use technology to your advantage and strategically identify the right tools that suit you, your teams and your company. 


Don't forget the personal touches

Research has shown that people are more likely to stay in a job if they have close friendships in an office, this still holds true for working remotely. As humans we are all wired to connect with others, so in or out of an office, our desire to belong is strong.. Whilst there are obvious perks to working from home, mountains or a cafe, there is something to be said about carving out dedicated time and space to meet up on an annual company retreat, workcation or monthly team meets up. These in person get togethers can also be a great place to introduce and on-board new starters to the whole team. With the money saved from general office overheads, it nice to pour this back into the people who make your company what it is. 

Benefits include

•    Exposing employees’ hidden talents and external hobbies/ventures
•    Creates stronger bonds between employees
•    Providing an opportunity for rest and rejuvenation away from the day to day
•    Employees can mindfully evaluate and plan for the company as a whole
•    Dedicated time and space to map out a new project without interruptions
•    Have some team coaching to iron out any team issues or conflict
•    Build emotional intelligence in teams through self development talks and workshops.

The rapid pace of workplace change means that remote working is here to stay. Take the time to get the right foundations in place and embrace technology to help along the way to build the culture you want.


Project Management
•    Trello - collaborative to-do lists
•    Basecamp 
•    iDonethis - a simple tool that helps everyone share what they are working on. It merges well with Slack and Trello
Document Collaboration
•    Google Drive
•    Draftin 
Communication/Meeting software
•    Speak - use for all agency Monday morning calls or one to one feedback sessions
•    Sqwiggle  - calls with video 
•    Google hangouts - encourage new members to have hangouts with existing employees to get to know each other
Project specific conversation, ideas, water cooler moments, gif fun
•    Slack -  integrating project-specific conversations, sharing files, organising events and sending out important notices and more in one central hub
•    Everytimezone - timezones made easy
•    HelloSign - spare yourself the hassle of printing out the document, signing it, scanning it back 
Collaborative space 
It’s important to develop a culture of collaboration and innovation so that employees feel invested in the work they do and the company itself. This encourages everyone to shares responsibility for innovation and the growth of the company from founder all the way to developer.