Boosting Company Culture In A Borderless Working World

A guest blog feature by Nilesh Pandey, at our brilliant partner Perkbox

25th May 2022

What Is Borderless Working?

The world of work is becoming bigger and smaller at the same time.

Bigger because the talent pool available to businesses has increased. Smaller because the concept of geography defining how and where people work is being removed.

Welcome to borderless working. 

It’s probably something that was going to happen anyway, but has been accelerated due to the pandemic. 

Recently, we surveyed over 500 business leaders and 2000 full-time workers, to gauge their thoughts on their current and future working models.

62% of workers said they were considering moving abroad to work, and over a third (36%) said they’d be willing to leave their company to do it. 

But credit to employers — it seems they’re adapting to this new world, because three quarters (75%) of managers said they trusted their employees to work abroad, and didn’t think productivity would be an issue. 

So far, so good.

The Challenges Of Borderless Working

Despite all the upsides to borderless working, there’s inevitably a headache when it comes to culture. How do you create a harmonised, “one team, one dream” culture, when you have a dispersed workforce?

It’s not as easy as you might think. Almost half (48%) of the employees who responded to our survey said they’d pay closer attention to their fully remote colleagues and their productivity levels, and the same number also claimed that remote and hybrid working would “challenge the flow of information around the company.”

How To Make Borderless Working A Success

As a global benefits and rewards platform, we’ve worked with countless businesses to help them solve exactly this problem. Here are some of our top tips for boosting company culture in a borderless working world.

Communicate Consistently

A great example is the way businesses should communicate with all their people - openly and honestly. Be consistent, both with leader-led messaging and communication from the HR or People teams. Have a mixture of business updates, questions and celebrating successes (more on this later).

Make sure your communication tools are user-friendly. For example, you may have some sort of intranet or employee portal where people can get company information. How easy is it to navigate? Is the information clear and easily accessible? One of the most popular elements of our platform is the Culture hub, which a lot of organisations use as a single source for all company information. This works especially well for those with a global workforce, as it’s simply a case of directing people to an app which can be used anywhere.

Finally, don’t forget that communication is a two-way thing. That’s why you should continually check-in with people, through company-wide surveys and feedback that’s passed up through line managers.

Celebrate Successes

A strong culture of celebration leads to a strong culture overall. If done properly, you can engage people, no matter where in the world they are. 

Employees want to feel like their work matters. The more you incorporate appreciation into your day-to-day, the more invested they’ll become in what they do. 

Many businesses tend to have some sort of social recognition platform, but you can also simplify things. Think end of week recognitions and quarterly/yearly awards. 

It shouldn’t only be senior leaders doing the recognition though. Getting people to recognise each other is what really builds those bonds.

A nice way is to set up regular, semi-formal recognition sessions. For example, how about an end of week slot where people can shout others out? This can simply be teams or departments getting together on a video call and giving each other praise. 

If you have an online recognition platform, you can get people to post the recognition up on there first — what you’re essentially doing is combining new tech with good old fashioned compliments. This has the added bonus of being available in all time zones, making recognition between people in different countries easier.

Aside from good work, there are loads of other opportunities to celebrate — examples include new starters joining, work anniversaries, and even personal milestones such as buying a house or getting married.

Fire Up Friendly Competitions

Competitions are a great way to help employees connect across borders. You can link these in with your wellbeing goals as well. 

A quick win can be something like a step challenge. How about putting people into teams — deliberately mixing up employees from across locations — and setting up a leader board system? 

You could also try out a form of workplace bingo, where people have to complete certain tasks within a specified time period. Include things like “having a virtual coffee with someone in another department”, or “finding out a fun fact about someone in another time zone”. Something like this can be especially useful for new starters — you could even incorporate it into your onboarding process.

Emphasise Your Values

Your company values are the common thread which should link your employees from one side of the world to the other. But let’s be honest — it’s a lot easier to showcase these if everyone’s in one building. Think of all those businesses who get their values painted on the office walls.

When your workforce is globally dispersed, you need to go outside of the box a bit. A great avenue is video content. This doesn’t have to be a slick Hollywood production either. You could set up a monthly video call between a senior leader and an employee who has really lived your values recently. Not only is this a great morale booster for the employee, but you can record the call and share on your digital channels. Try to pick employees from different locations as much as you can, so everybody feels seen.

We mentioned recognitions earlier — why not link these to your company values? This is what a lot of our clients do when using our platform’s Celebration hub feature. It means whenever someone recognises a colleague, they have to select a value that best matches up with the recognition. 

This ensures they keep it front and centre of people’s minds. Oh, and if your values ever change, it’s a lot easier to update something online then it is to repaint your walls!

Perkbox is a global benefits and rewards platform that allows companies to care for, connect with and celebrate their people — no matter where they are or what they want. Trusted by more than 4,500 companies across 51 countries and counting, our location agnostic platform helps keep employees happy, healthy and motivated.