We are almost seven months into the "new normal" and one of the consistent topics that is almost always discussed is remote working. We have seen it all: the benefits of working from home, the negatives of being away from the office, the best ways to keep employees engaged and a whole plethora of statistics to read through. These are all incredibly important topics and conversations to raise, as many businesses continue to work from home and adopt a "hybrid" style of working for the future.
However, there is one important aspect of remote working that should be considered: how can we maintain our work culture whilst working from home?
Work culture is arguably one of the most important factors to any successful business. It is the work environment you supply for your employees and therefore without a strong work culture, you don't have high morale and you don't have highly engaged, productive teams that enjoy working for you. This can be incredibly challenging to keep alive in dispersed workplaces but it is critical to the success of your business. Culture is a powerful piece of an organisation's identity and shapes the work environment, processes and relationships. An end to coffee breaks and chatting with employees can be quite isolating for some people who have undoubtedly changed their way of working.
So, how do we maintain our work culture and ensure that our team feel inspired and motivated to work every day despite the challenges of working from home? Here's 3 things I believe can really help:
1. Run Strategic Meetings With The Team
As Krisp reported, nine in 10 remote employees say that video conferencing helps them feel more connected to their colleagues.
One of the best ways to keep employees in touch with the company culture is to encourage as much engagement as possible - whether that be through daily or weekly meetings.
To achieve this, it could be as simple as running a strategy meeting where you discuss latest goings on in the business and give employees the chance to catch up on what has happened during the last week and what they are looking to achieve. Aside from sharing business updates and people updates, these meetings can be a chance to celebrate accomplishments and remind everyone of the company mission.
2. Host Virtual Get Togethers For The Team To Socialise
Although working from home has its perks, loneliness and the feeling of being unable to unplug from work are two of the biggest challenges many people face with remote working depending on their circumstances. People long for social contact when they're working from home, so it is important for leaders to recognise this and implement the social element into the every day lives of their employees. This can be implemented in many different ways such as weekly quizzes, a 15 minute call for a coffee with the team, mindfulness sessions etc. By doing this, it will allow teams to feel engaged and take a break away from work.
3. Communicate Continuously
In any business - regardless of industry - continuous communication is key. However, it takes up much more importance when teams are working from home. Promoting open and positive communication should be encouraged to allow employees to feel they have open access to discuss any problems or challenges they may need addressing.
It is important as a leader to consistently keep your team updated on any changes that may be happening, as well as checking on their wellbeing and providing frequent check ins on a personal level to see where they are, what they have planned etc. With strong communication, your employees will strive for positive communication but will also feel less isolated and alone if they have someone to communicate with.
It is important to understand that company culture goes beyond perks and benefits for the employee. It is about the core values of your company and spreading the message across the team so each employee thinks and acts the same way. Employee who are excited and happy to be working yield better results for the company as a whole. Communication, transparency and togetherness make the workplace a more pleasant virtual environment for everyone involved.
In an Upwork survey, 30% of hiring managers reported reduced team cohesion as one of the biggest issues with remote work.