In this weird new world, a strong company culture is more important than ever. But how can you maintain a positive connection within your company when you and your employees are working remotely?It’s not as difficult as you think, but it is important.
According to Glassdoor, 77% of people consider a company’s culture before applying for a job there, and 56% of people say company culture is more important than salary when it comes to job satisfaction.
With a bit of flexibility and strong communication, you can come out the other side of 2021 with a thriving company culture and morale at an all-time high.
In the workplace, everyone is working in the same environment. That playing field is level. Sure, people have different personality types, but things are relatively even.
This isn’t the case when people are working remotely.
All remote workers will have very different needs, requirements, and restrictions. Be mindful of their individual circumstances.
It’s unfair to expect everyone to do exactly the same work when they’re not working with the same resources. Bear this in mind, and be flexible with both your demands and your expectations.
Take the time to learn what your team members have to work with. Where possible, support them with new tools, training, and resources. Don’t penalize people who can’t do certain things due to circumstances beyond their control.
Instead, work out what people can do, and mix things up so that everyone can work to their full potential with what they have available.
You might have to provide new equipment and training. But it’s worth it to keep a strong, engaged, and connected team that feels heard and valued.
You can’t have a company culture without conversation and connection. Culture rises from the melting pot of human communication.
Connection happens organically when people work together in the same place. But, when we’re all siloed in different places, it’s easy for some people to drop off the radar. You can help the situation by enabling communication at every possible turn.
There is plenty of remote technology out there, which enables and encourages connection between remote workers. GaggleAMP itself, for example, helps employees to communicate their passions both internally and externally. Other apps and internal communication tools help conversations flow in a natural, organic way.
Don’t feel like your team has to be face-to-face to communicate. It’s often assumed that video calls are the best way for remote employees to connect – but in fact, video calls can sometimes make connection harder. While it’s nice to see peoples’ faces, it's all too easy for louder voices and more extroverted personalities to dominate the video stream at others’ expense.
Typed messages, voice notes, comment threads, and so on are all great ways for people to connect, communicate, and make themselves heard when needed. Don’t diminish the potential of anything that helps employees to speak up – whatever the format!
It’s also important to make communication a common practice. Make one-on-one meetings a regular thing, and make sure that collaboration among colleagues is encouraged. When people work together, it improves your culture, but you’ll need the right collaboration tools to enable this.
Stuff happens. Life doesn’t stop just because there’s a pandemic going on. There are many employees today who are balancing their full time job while being a parent, a homeschool teacher, and even an IT person for their new home office and their kids’ online classroom. People will have emergencies, fall ill, have babies, and experience bereavement, and other psychological effects of trauma. These can have a serious impact on both morale and productivity.
The last thing someone wants when they’re trying to navigate remote working and life’s hardships are productivity targets breathing down their neck.
Working remotely can be very difficult for some people. In fact, almost 70% of employees experience burnout symptoms while working from home, according to Monster.
Be sensitive, be supportive, and help your employees out. Always assume good faith on their part, and don’t come down hard on them when times get tough.
If the pandemic has taught us nothing else, it’s that people can and will give their all - even in strange situations.
Before COVID, employers were reluctant to let people work remotely. They worried that home-workers would not use their time productively. However, since the pandemic hit, people have proven them wrong.
So, trust your employees.
Don’t micromanage their working days, or expect them to clock every minute spent at their desks. That will create a culture of distrust and suspicion – and that’s a lot worse than someone leaving their desk to walk the dog around the block every now and again.
People aren’t going to work in the same way from home as they do in an office. Accept that. They might have to leave their desks sometimes to deal with domestic issues or to grab some lunch, or empty the dryer or whatever. That doesn’t mean they’re any less productive.
It’s so easy for the machine of work to grind away quietly when everyone goes remote. Assignments come and go. The wheels are greased by brief, business-like emails.
You can improve this using the keys we’ve mentioned above. However, there’s still something missing.
We don’t realize how subliminal the process of encouragement can be, sometimes. A quick smile or a thumbs up can do wonders for an employee’s morale. That kind of thing is harder to convey from a distance.
So, make a conscious decision to praise and acknowledge efforts and achievements. There are many ways to do this, from simple thank you emails to sending gifts to their homes. Whatever works for your team!
Remember, it’s vital that employees feel appreciated. Everyone is working very hard in unusual circumstances. They need to know their efforts don’t go unnoticed.
Gemma Hart is an independent HR professional working remotely from as many coffee shops as she can find. Since graduating in 2013, Gemma has gained experience in a number of HR roles but now turns her focus towards growing her personal brand and connecting with leading experts. Connect with her on Twitter: @GemmaHartTweets
Stay up to date with the latest in employee advocacy.