The culprit: This new, terrifying world of remote work.
But fear not, there are plenty of options for embracing the virtual employment landscape and preserving camaraderie amongst your teams. Water cooler or not. Here are some ways to maintain your company culture in a remote world.
Lean into Diverse Forms of Communication
Here’s an interesting fact for you: President of Global Workplace Analytics Kate Lister predicts that roughly 25-30% of the workforce will work from home multiple days each week by the end of 2021. And even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies tested the waters with remote-based opportunities.
The easiest way to work remotely and still maintain a positive workplace culture is through communication. Now, look…we get it. Being communicative might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s not just about the what when it comes to communication.
The real question is… How are you communicating?
Today, you have a bevy of mediums at your disposal – Slack, Discourse, Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, good ol’ traditional email. The key is not to limit yourself to just one of these. Slack is great for quick communication, but daily and/or weekly face-to-face check-ins with your employees help maintain the human connection that we all innately need to function and function well.
Celebrate Every Victory
The best companies are those that make every effort to validate their employees’ work, and the best employees are those who feel validated for their consistent production.
Did someone do something awesome today? Let everyone know on a group call. Drop a virtual congratulations in the general Slack channel. Mention this specific person by name.
Was it a team effort? Even better! Virtual high-five every single one of those team members and watch the buy-in to this increasingly less-scary remote world grow.
We humans love feelings of normalcy. Find ways to make virtual work feel like another day in the office, and you’ll be well on your way toward maintaining the culture you desire.
Establish Routines and Stick to Them
Remember a few lines ago when we said that humans love normalcy? Still true here.
Side note: Normalcy doesn’t have to mean boring. All normalcy means is establishing some sense of familiarity in your work. What daily tasks need to happen, and when?
Another way to think about this? Daily rituals. Things that happen every day no matter what (and usually at a set time).
Whether it’s a team meeting, project brief, or even something less work-related (see: afternoon icebreaker), establish your routines and treat them like they’re carved in stone.
Gather Feedback and Finetune Your Processes
Don’t be afraid to gather continuous feedback about your remote working environment.
Need we be cliché? “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
There you go, and neither was your virtual land of productivity. It’s okay to change processes as needed, and employees will always appreciate transparent leadership that’s willing to make the necessary adjustments.
Train New Employees for Longevity
Onboarding in a virtual world might seem like a horrifying concept right now, but it’s imperative to look at how you can prepare new employees to hit the ground running and grow into the team for the long-run.
Lucky for you, we recently published a post all about onboarding remote employees. Give it a read to see all of the wonderful things you can do to ensure an impactful virtual onboarding experience for your team.
Focus on Employee Engagement
There are two ways to think about this, both equally important:
- Prioritize Health and Wellness
This should go without saying given the current state of our world, but prioritizing health and wellness is crucial. Mental health is also just as important as physical health, especially with thousands upon thousands of people adjusting to working from home.
What’s more, many employees hesitate to take time off because it doesn’t “feel right” given the new work format.
Check-in with your employees and take note of their health and wellness. Make sure it’s known across the company that this is a priority, and encourage time off as needed.
You can also look at how your company’s benefits package reflects this mindset. Is there enough in place for physical and mental health wellness?
- Create and Promote Mentorship
Health affects employees’ engagement, but so does community (or lack thereof). Team-building doesn’t have to take a hit just because everyone’s working from home.
In creating a mentorship program for your employees, everyone learns from everyone. Mutualism flourishes, and that desired sense of togetherness builds.
A well-planned mentorship program is peer-to-peer learning at its finest. Take note of personal and group-based goals across your teams, and think about how these goals might be achieved via mentorship.
Run Away from Burnout
A common misconception: Remote employees will get distracted by other facets of life and eventually disengage in their work.
In fact, if your team consists of hard-working employees who are all-in on the company mission, it might be the exact opposite! Meaning, employees who find it difficult to ever step away from their work.
How do you curtail this? Well, we’ve gone full circle, because the best way is through communication. Holding 1:1s with your employees and asking them about things outside of the daily minutiae of their tasks is a surefire way to gather a more complete picture of your team’s work-life balance.
Beyond that, encourage breaks when needed. Many employees will take “mini” vacations instead of extended time off or spend a few days working from somewhere other than the home office.
Your job is to be privy to the health of your employees. Doing so can help you intercede before burnout runs wild.
With these tips in mind, reinventing your company’s culture doesn’t have to be a challenge.
Sure, it’ll take time, persistence, and routine reflection on your part, but know this: Your company can and will thrive in this new remote world.
Interested in hiring employees who can contribute to your culture? Let Onward Search help! We evaluate each candidate’s background, personality and soft skills to make sure they are a good fit for your organization. Please contact our team today to get started.
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