Spot-Light Wednesday: Remote Work Culture

18 August, 20213 min read
Spot-Light Wednesday: Remote Work Culture
Graham Ralston
Operations at Spot

Remote Work Culture

I hit a #Believe sign on a virtual wall (Ted Lasso anyone?) on my way into the office every morning before starting with greetings and posting a few funny emoji’s on other people’s good morning welcomes. The morning usually includes a voice chat with a coworker, AJ, where we might rehash a story from the night before, build up the vibes for the day, and set the intention/goals to work on. Like any organization, the day is filled with internal and external meetings, all happening in our Spot virtual office. You can see team members as avatars or video sharing as they collaborate to push Spot forward in solidarity. We take turns sharing moments from our day in the different room threads, private messaging, or through voice/video chat. We leave funny pictures, emojis, or avatar emotions to express our emotions in the moment. I’m lucky to work with such great teammates, best friends, and spend time with my younger brother (last week’s blog post) in Spot. Check out a short video to see how some of these interactions work: A Day In The Life Of Using Spot

(Morning routine #Believe)

I like Claude Debussy’s quote that “music is the silence between the notes”. Pause and reflect… A musician is trained to learn a key or chord to follow on sheet music. It’s the vibration, the connection, the energy that happens before and after the stroke of those key(s) where, MUSIC, is created. What does playing music have to do with office culture? Culture is cultivated in the absence of organization. Culture is not the derivative of organized meetings -- it is the shared vibration we experience. Culture lives in Spot through friendships, avatar emotions, emojis, the successes and failures, personalization (photo sharing, video, avatar customization), and new bonds created through chats with AJ and other teammates mentioned above. How do companies cultivate a shared vibration experience?

Many of us learn through life experiences that we can not change other people -- the best we can do is plant a seed and create a framework or infrastructure to encourage change. Culture is no different at companies. You can’t force a shared culture vibration -- a company can create a framework or infrastructure that fosters the growth of the culture desired. Spot is that instrument of infrastructure for a shared vibration. Our experience in life and with Spot is consistent with the findings of expert studies.

A Harvard Business Review (HBR) study shares the most effective data points for productive companies are complete with energy, engagement, and exploration. The study discussed in this HBR found that “data collected on the importance of socializing not only build on conventional wisdom but sometimes upend it. Social time turns out to be deeply critical to team performance, often accounting for more than 50% of positive changes in communication patterns, even in a setting as efficiency-focused as a call center. The best-performing and most creative teams seek fresh perspectives constantly, from all other groups in (and some outside) the organization.”

Most company culture is developed in the organic interactions amongst employees. Companies need to facilitate opportunities for employees to engage in culture building opportunities. Leaders can think creatively about their approach to culture in this new remote work environment. A study from PWC shows that “a growing number of C-suite and board members view culture as a critical strategic topic: in fact, 71% say culture is an important topic on their agenda…People want a culture they can be proud of: [PWC’s] survey found that 72% of C-suite and board members say culture is a strong reason people join their organization. When leaders illustrate a commitment to further evolving their cultures, employees will be more likely to take notice, appreciate the effort, and contribute.”

If leaders recognize the importance of culture, why isn’t more done to improve culture? “Changing culture is tough, and most efforts fail. [PWC’s] survey found that 42% of respondents believe that their organization’s culture has remained static for the last five years...Influencing culture is hard, and most leaders declare victory too soon. It can’t be a “one-off” project, nor can it be implemented top-down. Prepare to persevere through obstacles if you want long-term, sustainable change. The more ambitious the effort, the more time and more input from people at all levels it will demand.”

How are you ambitiously cultivating culture at your company? We are ambitiously pushing the boundaries for the future infrastructure of work at Spot. Send me a note (graham.ralston@spotvirtual.com) to chat about how Spot’s infrastructure can help your company plant that seed today, for future growth.

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