How do you maintain a strong company culture with many people working remotely? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Emanuel Sá, Co-founder at Sketch, on Quora:

Sketch has always been a remote company -- Pieter and I started working on the app when he was living in the Netherlands and I was in Portugal. This meant that as the company expanded, staying remote just came naturally to us. Since 2011 we've grown to a team of 70 people distributed across 20 countries around the globe.

As we've grown we made sure to maintain a unique and inviting company culture based on hard work, trust, transparency and flexibility.

Remote work has obvious benefits like flexible working hours, the ability to travel and of course, there's no need for a bricks and mortar office, but it has lots of hidden benefits as well.

We're able to hire the most talented people in the world, no matter where they live or what time zone they're in. Using online communication tools allows for greater transparency between departments, which avoids teams getting siloed and opens conversations up to the wider organization. Our team is diverse and multi-skilled so we welcome a mix of voices in every conversation and we find it really helps with problem solving and idea generation.

We use tools like Slack, Github and Notion to share, work and communicate -- technology has empowered organizations like ours to achieve so much while allowing us to throw off the restrictions that traditional company structures can create.

But it's not all about work. We try to encourage our team to socialize and communicate online in the same way they would in a real life office. We all say "good morning" when we clock in, depending on our time zone and we have channels to discuss things like video games, tv shows and even Christmas. Developing spaces for the team to spend time and talk to each other, about non-work topics is crucial for morale and allows us to be more than just colleagues. After all we're only human.

We also meet up once a year for a week to allow the team to spend time together in person. We eat, drink and have discussions, as well as plenty of fun along the way. This is a great opportunity for everyone to get to know each other better and take the conversations offline for a while.

We're passionate about our team members' wellbeing so we've created an environment where they can come to us to talk about blockers at work or issues they're facing outside of Sketch.

Developing a strong company culture is something that's come relatively naturally for us but we continue to strive to make Sketch a great working environment, as we grow our team around the world.

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Published on: Oct 17, 2019