Back when in-person interviews were the norm, applicants could get a glimpse into the company’s culture as they strolled through the offices. The decor, employee interactions, organization, and many other subtleties speak volumes about a workplace. A downcast or undefined culture could immediately signal that something’s amiss.
With the transition to remote work, however, that opportunity is few and far between. Today applicants can only rely on the interviewer’s words and Glassdoor ratings. Without a chance to personally examine the workplace, how can one be sure that the company has an upstanding remote culture?
That’s what Hailley Griffis, head of HR at Buffer aimed to answer in her column on Built In. Griffis outlined three aspects of a healthy remote culture: Intentionality, trust, and communication.
Intentionality: A healthy remote work culture has clear-cut communication and boundaries. Staff working remotely can easily fall into the habit of doing work outside of operation hours. The company should have established guidelines on when to work and when to turn it off.
Trust: Besides prodding their employees on their work progress, managers sometimes also install monitoring software on their employee’s devices to track what they’re doing. Griffis argues that this type of micromanagement not only impedes productivity but can also quickly erode mental health. Instead, healthy remote work culture can have different exercises to create trust within the team and thus, more autonomy. Instead of an email every hour, an employee should comfortably debrief in one-on-one meetings to talk about their progress.
Communication: The two previous points can quickly fall apart without adequate communication. A good remote culture has robust comms system between teammates, and clearly communicates expectations for meetings, deadlines, and collaboration between teammates, especially if they span across different time zones. In a balanced workplace, no one in the company should feel stressed or need to participate at uncomfortable hours.
Griffis also added that applicants can ask these questions to get a general sense of where the company stands on remote work.
- What can you tell me about your company culture?
- How do you primarily communicate? Do you communicate asynchronously?
- How do people set up work hours?
- What would onboarding look like in this position?
- Is it anyone’s role to focus on how the company works remotely or how the team is doing?