The sudden switch to remote work last year did not result in a smooth transition for everyone. Some companies adapted to the new mode quickly and were thriving, while others struggled with the various aspects of remote work. Key factors, such as communication, trust, and intentionality are important when assessing the remote work culture of a company. Here are a few useful questions that will let you determine whether the culture of a company is the correct fit for you or not.
What exactly is the company culture?
This one is a tough question to nail however, it is an important first step. Companies should have a concise answer to this question since they are asked about it frequently. This question provides a platform for the companies to detail the values they follow and the level of transparency that is present in the company. It is also the right time to talk about how the culture leads to growth, within the company and outside of it as well.
However, if you find that the company is focusing too much on employee-driven activities while talking about the culture, it implies that they have not adapted to remote work well.
What are the channels for communication?
All companies use specific tools for communicating, however, it is advisable to probe further and understand how each tool is utilized. For example, not every company will use Slack in a similar fashion. It would also help you understand whether the culture is engagement-heavy, that is whether everyone is expected to join a synchronized video call, or the primary mode of communication is text-based.
Though each company would have a pattern of communication according to their needs, the ideal situation would allow for some flexibility in the schedule, rather than expecting employees to join synchronized video calls for every update.
How are working hours distributed?
Remote work usually results in the employees continuously working, with personal time taking a back seat. By asking for a clear working schedule, you can understand how flexible a company is regarding remote work. Many companies are still sticking to the traditional office hours, even while working remotely. Some others have adapted to a flexible working schedule if immediate members maintain a synchronized schedule.
Asking pointed questions regarding working hours will provide an insight into the expectations of the company from the employees. The flexibility of working hours is an important part of the culture and knowing about it would let you decide whether the company is right for you or not. Remote work does not mean that employees give up their personal lives and understanding the distribution of work hours ensures that you are not perpetually working.
How does the company deal with remote onboarding?
The hiring manager should have a concrete plan for onboarding new hires, teaching new hires about the company, and introducing them to the rest of the team. Clear planning for the first few days reduces any additional stress on the employee, after joining a new company. If a company does not have a plan for onboarding, then it implies that their remote work structure is not in place yet.
Who looks after the implementation of the company culture?
Some companies have decided to hire remote teams to manage the remote work culture, while others are utilizing their HR departments to look after their employees. Anyhow, if a company is taking the pain of deploying people to manage the remote culture, it means that they are serious about it becoming a successful enterprise. Though, the size of the company should also be kept in mind. Smaller companies might not be able to designate a specific employee to the role, but they should still ensure that everyone is learning about remote work together, nonetheless.
The Bottom Line
Remote work experience can either be a rewarding one or can stress the employees out unnecessarily. Culture is usually what distinguishes a good experience from a bad one. Thus, it is important for employees to know the company culture before they decide whether they wish to join the company or not. Employers should strive to maintain a good culture to retain top talent.<< back to Blog