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Creating and maintaining a unified corporate culture in a work-from-home environment

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Assuming that your culture is such that a radical transformation is not necessary, then to obtain the benefits from a WFH environment, these steps are called for. Begin by recognizing that, at heart, people are social animals. In a WFH environment, there is a tendency to be isolated. So, fight that isolation. Endow each team member with a small amount of funds on a quarterly basis to physically get together with nearby team members for a light repast. In submitting expense requests from the team members, it is not unreasonable to ask for a precis of what transpired at the get-together.

Additionally, provide enough funds to get the entire set of team members to gather at one physical off-site location for 2–3 days for morning meetings and afternoon social events. One set of social events should include formal team building and bonding sessions. Late afternoon events can be left up to the team members. Killing two birds with one stone, the morning formal meetings can focus on teaching new KM technologies that you want deployed.

It is also useful to identify the informal leaders in your team— those senior, highly productive, and quite knowledgeable individuals whom others readily turn to for assistance and guidance.

Opportunities to solidify culture

Each time your team hires a new individual, you have a two-fold opportunity. First, assign the new hire to be mentored by one of your champions, and do so publicly. This will plainly signal to the rest of the team the importance of those practices to you. Second, make sure that the champion teaches and reinforces the use of the KM practices that you have been instilling in the team. This will solidify the champion’s understanding of the importance of these practices. (And, of course, keep the new hire away from the naysayers as much as possible.)

Your team needs to understand and appreciate that KM exists, not because it is cool or up-to-date, a nifty thing to do with computers, or because executives want to be seen as “with it”—even though all that is at least partially true. Rather, KM is here to solve problems, speed up processes, enhance creativity, and spark insights that would not otherwise exist.

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