There are a few things we do to make this work that any company can adapt to their own cultures.
First, we strongly believe that a big part of maintaining company culture across locations is agreeing to maintain company culture across locations. As simplistic as that sounds, it means not letting an “us vs. them” mentality seep into your thoughts or actions. It means building teams around people’s expertise and not their location. And it means being inclusive of everyone in all that you do, especially communication. We call it our 1BHF approach – one big happy family.
That 1BHF doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a lot of work from all parties, but particularly those workers who are not at headquarters every day. “Out of sight, out of mind” is a real thing. Everyone has to work hard to combat this; it’s a fact of life that remote workers or folks in satellite offices just have to work harder to be seen, heard and included. And that’s okay because there are a plethora of tools that can help.
Our arsenal of communication tools to keep our teams in touch is large. We have GoToMeeting for multi-person, multimedia meetings. Room is a great video option when you just want to grab a minute with someone “face to face.” We use Slack for chatting and Asana for managing projects, Box and Google GOOGL +0.50% for filing and working, and of course email and text are regular ways we stay in touch too. And the phone! Try as people might to avoid it, the phone is still the quickest and most effective way to stay in touch. I make sure I have every one of our team member’s mobile numbers stored in my phone for quick access; all remote CEOs should do the same.
Finally, while technology is exceptional and a “we’re all in this together” mindset is imperative, physical time together is still a requirement. For us, that means we get together as a true 1BHF at least twice a year, employees are encouraged to work a day or two out of our other offices as they travel for business or pleasure, and this traveling CEO can be found at headquarters four or more days a month.
With the right attitude, effort, tools, and some face time now and again, a company with multiple locations can still maintain a singular culture.