Building a Strong Company Culture in a Remote Work Environment

In the modern workplace, the concept of a traditional office space and working models have changed significantly. Through a combination of technological advancement (think the emergence of Slack, Teams etc) as well as the pandemic plus individual preferences, remote work has become increasingly common. Whilst this undoubtedly brings a great deal of benefit, not least flexibility, it is critical that remote working is underpinned by a strong company culture – and this requires significant effort and innovative strategies. 

Pretty Technical was designed from its beginning in early 2020 (pre-pandemic!) to support a remote-first workforce. In this article we share what we found has worked along our journey.

Firstly, any successful remote work culture demands effective and efficient communication. Digital communication tools, such as Google Meet, are the bedrock of Pretty Technical’s day-to-day ways of working. We have a globally distributed team across 7 countries, 3 continents and several time zones so use of these tools is necessary for both asynchronous and synchronous communication. 

Clearly, businesses of all shapes and sizes across every industry use these tools – but for an organisation like ours, with no physical alternative, it is the foundation from which everything happens, and is therefore essential that protocols and parameters for communication are well defined and executed by all. We do this through a combination of definition and consistent application from top-to-bottom. 

Definition is simple: the protocols for communication are written and maintained, and all of Pretty Technical are required to adhere to them. What’s more difficult is consistent application. This is the byproduct of a commitment by all to observing these best practices and it is embedded into our core philosophy. Nobody is “above” these standards for communication.

Practically speaking this means that, if you are Senior Developer in South America working with a Product Manager in the UK, you need to ensure that any critical communications, e.g., blockers, dependencies etc, happen during your working hour overlap, and that you provide a thorough end-of-day update in written form so that the Product Manager – who may be in the UK and communicating with European clients – is in the loop on the very latest. We also adhere to clear templates for such communications to maintain accuracy and consistency. 

As passionate advocates of the agile software development manifesto, we believe that it is also imperative that communications are focused on what brings value – it should therefore never be burdensome or admin-heavy.

Cultivating Community and Belonging 

Another challenge in a remote work environment is the potential for isolation. Unlike in a physical office, the opportunity for socialising is more limited. We are committed to mitigating this risk by ensuring that socialising happens remotely, and in-person where it is possible.

  • We have very regular “coffee chats” centred around particular topics, such as a book reading exchange.
  • We make sure to celebrate and share personal occasions and stories, like birthdays, weddings and such like. 
  • We play online games together and organise wellbeing centred activities, like our recent step challenge. 
  • We actively encourage that everybody build a personal relationship with one another, and that social occasions – remote or in-person – need not be formally organised, nor indeed are they mandatory!

This in turn creates community and a sense of belonging. They promote work-life balance and ensure long-term productivity, ultimately fostering connection regardless of geographic location. 

Feeling part of the Pretty Technical family starts from the moment a new employee joins us. In fact we take time during the interview process to ensure prospective employees get a good sense for our culture and ways of working together.  And when sadly people leave us, we strive to maintain that connection.

By embracing digital tools, fostering transparency and trust, prioritising work-life balance, cultivating a sense of belonging, investing in professional development, and leading by example, we believe we create a vibrant and cohesive remote work environment.

If you’re interested in joining our team why not take a look at our Careers page and send an email to [email protected]. If you’d like to find out more about Pretty Technical products and services please use our Contact Form.

Company Culture