Remote work is here to stay. Studies show that 83 percent of employers report the shift to remote work has been successful for their company, 54 percent of workers want to continue working remotely, and 77 percent said they would prefer to work for a company that gives them the flexibility to work from anywhere.

While the lure of remote work benefits a company's recruiting and an employee's quality of life, building an active and engaging culture is vital to retention. If your company is considering making the shift to fully remote or making your team's remote work a permanent fixture of your business, your culture becomes a vital differentiator. 

Like pointing your front wheel downhill and hurtling over the edge, committing to an all-remote culture can be scary. You're bound to hit bumps, but you'll also discover surprising rewards along the trail, like a lack of silos, company unity, and people who want to advance your mission. To create a magnetic and durable remote-work culture, build on these five pillars:

1. Commitment

Go all in on all remote. Hybrid models introduce another layer of complexity to your organization. The certainty gained from fully remote operations makes employees feel secure; they know what they're signing up for. They can plan for that day-to-day quality of life without the threat of being called into an office two days a week or, worse, moving. It also eliminates equity issues. Opening an office in a single location for hybrid work necessarily leaves out nonlocals. Instead, provide valuable in-person connection time with one or two all-hands meetings each year.   

2. Mission

Make your mission clear, positive, and sticky. Research shows that form has an impact on effectiveness. Your mission should be easy to repeat and easily inspire passion. When your people know why they're doing what they do every day, it becomes a touchstone they can tap into from anywhere, especially during volatile or uncertain periods.

3. Values

Don't just live your values; call them out. For example, when a large health care group scored poorly in patient satisfaction scores for privacy, leaders knew it wasn't a problem with their values, only a gap in making them plain to patients. Management instructed staff to continue using identical care behaviors but underscore them verbally. When drawing a curtain or closing a door, staff would say, "Let me give you some privacy, Ms. Patel." The simple addition of calling out the value helped raise the hospital's scores to award-winning levels.

4. Hire for Value Add

If you live and breathe your mission and values, it's critical to find people who embrace those ideas from day one. Ticking the crucial boxes of stellar skills and willingness to work remotely should be table stakes for candidates. What you really want to know is: Will they add value to my culture? Will they thrive here?  

5. Active Reinforcement

Remote culture done well constantly evolves to meet demands inside and outside the company. It needs consistent yet flexible support structures to stay nimble and responsive. Institute people-centered initiatives that emphasize communication and connection, like weekly Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions with senior leaders, employee spotlights, monthly virtual group activities, Slack channels for hobbies and interests, and virtual coffee meetups.