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With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, many organizations are having to adjust their way of working. ​​​​​​​ 

During times of change, and when your workforce needs to shift how it works, your culture may come under pressure. You may have individuals and teams working for the first time both at home, and physically separated.

Naturally, while your initial focus will be on maintaining your customer relationships and ensuring your business can successfully navigate this new world, it’s also critically important to consider the impact on your employees and on your culture.

Reflecting on our experience with a remote workforce, both currently and with our established Shanghai office, and thru discussions with other business owners, we are sharing the 4 Cs to develop and maintain a positive remote work culture in even the most unprecedented times.

1.) Core Values

A set of clear core values is the backbone to a positive culture. While the development of Core Values could be an entire blog series on its own, there are several key outcomes you should be shooting for when developing them.

  • The reality is that your Core Values almost always already exist. All that is needed is documentation.
  • 3-5 Core Values are best. This is one of those situations where less is more.
  • It is important that you ensure that each value is known by everyone in your organization.
  • Do not stick them in a drawer. Instead – LIVE THEM OUT DAILY.
  • Ideally, every decision should be made with your Core Values in mind, and this does not just mean client-facing decisions. This includes decisions about strategy, tactics, hiring, terminations and rewards.

2.) Communication

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking communication is only about broadcasting, but the truth is; Receiving is just as important. In fact, soliciting ongoing feedback is critical. Check in on how your employees are doing and what they are thinking. Touch base with your clients and suppliers to confirm that their needs are being met, if they aren’t, communicate and devise a plan to move forward.

With that being said, it is imperative that you know your audience and the best way they receive and/or relay information.

To make it easy, we have broken it down to the following:

  • 2D Communication: Text, chat, and email. This kind of communication is best when transferring information.
  • 3D Communication: In person meetings, phone calls, and video conferences. This kind of communication is best when being creative or problem solving.

Initially, when working remotely, communication can be challenging, because it is new to so many people; however, if you have the right technology and – more importantly – if your culture puts an emphasis on the importance of communication, the “new normal” will transform into just the “normal” in no time at all.

3.) Collaboration

For this particular blog post, collaboration is speaking directly to process and tools; both of which are absolutely critical when working remotely.

When it comes to collaboration, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have a defined process for how you work?
  • If a process breaks, do team members know who to go to?
  • Are the tools you are using serving the needs of your clients and team members?
  • How is/did the COVID-19 pandemic change the way you work?
  • Do these changes warrant a process and tool review?

While being thrust into a crisis caused some disturbances, there is a silver lining (Ha! Look at me using one of Panova’s Core Values – The Glass is Half Full – to prove a point). The silver lining is that the pandemic exposes the vulnerabilities of your processes and tools, and while this could cause some initial stress, it gives you the opportunity to take the time and invest in improving your processes, tools, and systems.

4.) Cadence

Cadence is all about:

  • How are you meeting?
  • When are you meeting?
  • Are those meetings beneficial?

With an established positive culture, the cadence can be less often; however, if you are building or re-defining a culture, the cadence must be more frequent in an effort to reinforce desires, behaviors, and outcomes.

Most importantly, it is important to remember that cadence is different for each company, team, individual, and culture. What works for one company may not work for yours.


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