Like just about everything else we touch, Western civilization appropriates, abuses and then discards words and phrases with alarming regularity. But \u201ccorporate culture\u201d is one buzzworthy phrase that might never die \u2014 it\u2019s always going to matter.\nRequiem for the traditional workplace?\nPaul Michelman, editor in chief of the MIT Sloan Management Review, recently had some strong words to say on the subject of corporate culture \u2014 and it\u2019s hard not to sympathize with his view.\nMichelman argues that technology has delivered us unto a future where the traditional workplace is a thing of the past, or soon will be. The era of centralized office buildings, cubicles and desk clumps, he says, is over \u2014 and telecommuting killed it.\nIt makes sense. Millions of jobs that require intense physical labor are being replaced by machines before our very eyes, and much of the work that still requires a human touch can be done in front of a computer screen. And, in case you haven\u2019t noticed, computers are everywhere. Folks are now literally building entire businesses on tablets \u2014 probably from a beach somewhere. Certainly, some of it is done in underpants.\nBy some estimates, 1.3 billion human beings will one day be working virtually \u2014 and sooner than we think. That leads us to the primary argument for culture\u2019s waning importance in the corporate world. When any job can be done from any place, we don\u2019t need offices \u2014 and when we don\u2019t need offices, we don\u2019t need corporate culture.\nRespectfully, though, we think that\u2019s a little off the mark. Wherever people come together with a common goal, culture is \u201chappening\u201d \u2014 whether we acknowledge it or not.\nThe best way to prove this is with examples, so we took a look at some famously decentralized, virtually-collaborative companies to see how they do things. By looking at the unique challenges and rewards of remote work, these companies discovered it\u2019s possible to create a strong brand identity and an atmosphere of shared enthusiasm and responsibility \u2014 even when there\u2019s no fixed location to report to.\nStay in touch\nYou probably recognize Automattic as the company that developed WordPress \u2014 the content delivery platform powering a considerable portion of the internet. Automattic employs 400 people, but it has no central office. You might think this could lead to some lonely folks with nothing in common with their co-workers, but nothing could be further from the truth.\nInstead of gathering around the water cooler or the kegerator, colleagues keep in touch via an internal blog. It gives\u00a0Automattic's geographically diverse team a way to share important personal and company milestones.\nDevelop personal habits\nAn early pioneer in remote work, the software company Basecamp knows what it takes to create a strong company culture even without a central location \u2014 and it begins with personal habits.\nSince a company\u2019s culture is only as strong as the enthusiasm, dedication and work ethic of its team members, these team members need to put forth their best efforts every day. In a situation where you can commute to work by walking from your bedroom to your home office \u2014 stark naked, if you wish \u2014 you can see how personal accountability might suffer at the hands of bad habits.\nBasecamp\u2019s solution is to commit to personal habits and rituals, even if you\u2019re not a traditional commuter, do the following:\n\nGet dressed as though you were heading to an office.\nMake your bed and brush your teeth every morning.\nWork from the same part of the house each day and force yourself to engage in recreation elsewhere.\n\nWe\u2019ve long assumed that having to be physically close to other human beings was the social glue keeping us from backsliding into full-blown anarchy, but remote work\u2019s well-documented positive effect on profitability says otherwise. People can be excellent employees no matter where they do their work.\nUse the right tools\nIn Argentina, a remote-working travel site called El Mejor Trato experimented with replacing traditional email with a bespoke project management system. The team was hesitant at first but, after a trial run was over, they never looked back. Whereas traditional email slowed them down and impeded their unique workflows, once they found a communication tool that was better suited to their field of work, the difference was remarkable. They were more productive and could exchange notes and feedback with co-workers faster than ever.\nWe\u2019re a slave to technology and \u201cprocess\u201d sometimes. The death of email has been prophesied and exaggerated many times over the years, but the takeaway is always the same: It\u2019s not going anywhere \u2014 but there might be something better out there for your particular needs. Use what you need and nothing you don\u2019t.\nAccept growing pains\nIt\u2019s not a matter of avoiding growing pains \u2014 they\u2019re going to happen. A famous example comes from IBM \u2014 a company whose initials, employees once joked, stood for \u201cI\u2019m By Myself.\u201d Clearly, there were strong feelings as remote work took hold in this techno-giant\u2019s corporate structure. There are challenges ahead for you, too \u2014 whether you oversee a remote work team or are a self-employed freelancer.\nWe\u2019re not wrong to worry, collectively, that conducting so much of our lives on the internet could insulate us and make us less sociable \u2014 and that\u2019s not a great thing when profit margins are at stake. But for every unfortunate event and \u201cfake news\u201d story the internet generates, it also breaks down barriers and creates brand-new opportunities. Working over the internet should be no different.