5 ways to maintain your workplace culture remotely


The current world of work in Hong Kong is operating more remotely than it ever has before. While this is crucial to maintaining the health and safety of employees, remote working can also create obstacles that employers find challenging, says recruiting experts Hays.

Remote working can sometimes create obstacles to communication, collaboration, relationship building and accessibility which may result in an impact of workplace culture. Jack Leung, Regional Director at Hays Hong Kong, shares 5 ways employers can maintain their workplace culture remotely and successfully manage from afar.

1. Establish communication methods

When managing your team remotely, effective communication is crucial, according to Jack. “As a priority, you should establish frequent communication to your team via the right platforms. Take advantage of the variety of channels available to help your team stay in touch and collaborate, but bear in mind that using too many different channels can overwhelming.”

“The next best thing to talking face-to-face is to communicating over video”, says Jack. “As you would with a physical meeting, set an agenda prior to the call and make sure this is visible to everyone. This should help your video call to run smoothly and efficiently.”

“As these calls are now your equivalent to team meetings, you need to stress the importance of your team attending. This ensures that every remote worker is kept in the loop and can contribute to your team’s progress.”

2. Build rapport

“Working remotely means that you don’t have those impromptu interactions in the office which go a long way to building rapport and fostering working relationships between employees”, says Jack. “Whether it’s working collaboratively on a project or catching up on your weekend, these moments are essential for team bonding.”

“Therefore in addition to making sure your communication is transparent, it’s also worth factoring in time on conference calls for your team to make small talk and build or maintain their relationships. If you don’t video call regularly, you could still facilitate this by using instant messaging apps like Yammer or Slack.WhatsApp or Skype”

“Taking these measures is particularly important for newer members of staff to get to know their colleagues.”

3. Share knowledge

When it comes to sharing knowledge and collaborating, Jack reminds employers that “many of your team possess specialist knowledge about their area or subject. This is easily shared in an office compared to when your team are working remotely.”

“You could encourage your employees to create guides, host webinars or record podcasts on their specialist subjects to provide opportunities to share their knowledge and appreciate what others in the team are working on. Ensure that this is followed up with praise and recognition.”

4. Proactively engage

“While you’re probably used to reading your team’s emotions and reactions when you’re with them in person, but obviously remotely this is more difficult”, says Jack. “Where possible, use video calls where at least your team are able to see each other and engage more than they would simply over the phone.

“If you still feel disconnected or aren’t using video, try to place more attention to tone of voice and identifying changes in pitch to gauge how your employees are getting on. It also helps to encourage inclusive language such as ‘we’ and ‘our’ to foster cohesion and unity,” Jack suggests.

5. Trust your team

While remote working may pose challenges at first, particularly to those who don’t have experience working or managing in this way, by trusting your team there is a lot to gain.

Jack concludes by saying, “While remote working may be a necessity in Hong Kong during this uncertain period of time, it is also necessary as more industries move to digitally transform in an effort to curtail costs and boost productivity. Mastering remote ways of working and managing is thus crucial for employers, and trust is a large part of this.

“If employees feel trusted and empowered to work in the interests of your organisation, you can get to a place where culture influences mindset. When you achieve this, location no longer matters and you’ll be able to manage your team while maintaining your company culture.”

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Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

Hays is located in Hong Kong at 6604-06, 66/F, ICC, 1 Austin Road West, West Kowloon, Hong Kong.

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About Hays

Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 31 December 2019 the Group employed 11,600 staff operating from 266 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2019:

– the Group reported net fees of £1,129.7 billion and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £248.8 million;

– the Group placed around 81,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 254,000 people into temporary assignments;

– 18% of Group net fees were generated in Australia & New Zealand, 27% in Germany, 23% in United Kingdom & Ireland and 32% in Rest of World (RoW);

– the temporary placement business represented 57% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 43% of net fees;

– Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA