A job you love can make the difference between getting out of bed in the morning — however reluctantly — and pulling the covers back over your head.

People love their jobs (or not) for countless reasons.

But beyond the obvious things like competitive salaries, generous paid time off and reasonable insurance coverage lies the murky, hard-to-quantify realm of soft benefits: that all important esoteric thing called company culture.

Culture trumps almost everything — and we're not talking foosball tables and free food here.

Open and Honest

Last year 15Five, a provider of employee engagement software, surveyed 1,000 full-time employees across the US. It found 81 percent of workers really want “open communication” more than anything else.

That finding is confirmed by Fortune’s 2016 list of the 100 Best Companies to WorkFor: Two-thirds of a company’s survey score is based on the results of the Trust Index Employee Survey, which rates attitudes about management’s credibility, overall job satisfaction and camaraderie.

The other third is based on responses to the Culture Audit, which includes detailed questions about pay and benefit programs and a series of open-ended questions about hiring practices, methods of internal communication, training, recognition programs, and diversity efforts.

People want to work at a place where communication flows freely, were they feel valued and respected, where teamwork is more than a buzzword but an intrinsic way of behaving.

But how do you foster honesty and transparency in the workplace, especially when your workers are geographically dispersed?

There's an App for That

It's not surprising, with the proliferation of apps for everything, that there are some to specifically help companies maintain morale and culture. Take theEMPLOYEEapp, which gives companies a way to push information to their employees through a mobile app.

Learning Opportunities

Jeff Corbin, CEO of the New York City based startup, said the app was designed to address challenges companies face connecting with their workforces and "figuring out a way to put mobile to use" to solve them.

The app uses a folder layout that gives companies a way to distribute their content to everyone at once. It also enables direct communication with part-time and contract workers who may not have company email addresses.

Connecting Teams

Teamwork is the foundation of a fully collaborative workplace. But in an era where your teammate is as likely to be across the world as across the room, what are the solutions?

The big challenges for remote workers aren’t very different from those who are collocated with their teams.

However, "being remote amplifies these pains, because remote workers don’t have the proximity to colleagues to casually swing by someone’s desk for an update,” said Andrew Filev, CEO of Mountain View, Calif.-based Wrike.

Filev identified three types of technology as essential for remote employees: a project management tool like Wrike, which creates a virtual workspace for collaboration in the cloud; real time live communication through a platform like Slack or Skype; and file sync and share from a company like Box or Dropbox.

Title image "40+235 Beverage" (CC BY 2.0) by bark

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