Building a remote work environment that is conducive to both connectivity and productivity is imperative.
As the pandemic lingers and companies decide how they will work moving forward, it’s become clear that remote work is here to stay. An overwhelming 97% of remote workers would like to continue working remotely at least some of the time, and 40% of employed Americans will only consider remote or hybrid job offers.
The benefits are undeniable: no time spent commuting, lower overhead costs, increased freedom and flexibility, and a bigger talent pool, to name a few. But the same workers who love having a flexible schedule struggle with not being able to unplug, difficulties with collaboration and communication, and loneliness. In other words, they feel like they are working all the time—all on their own.
Is company culture paying a high price for remote work benefits?
The second definition of “culture” in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is “The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.”
How can you share attitudes, values, and goals when you rarely connect in person? Is it possible for remote workers to feel connected to a work culture without physically being a part of it?
Consider these five tips to improve your remote culture and build a team of connected and productive workers:
1. Communicate your culture statement.
Communicate your company values and mission statement through all your channels and reinforce it regularly. Make sure every remote, hybrid, and onsite employee understands why you do what you do. Use your values as a rallying cry for your team, a way to connect themselves to their teammates and their work to the company’s mission. Your culture statement can ease feelings of disconnection by creating
- a bond to the company’s goals and values
- a greater sense of shared purpose
- a supportive space to share ideas with colleagues with a similar mindset
2. Meet your employees’ basic needs.
Set your remote workers up for success.
- Equip them to do their jobs by ensuring they have the things they need ( i.e. high-speed internet connection, dedicated workspace, computer, monitor, phone, and other industry-specific items).
- Establish remote work policies and make sure all employees know where to find them, whether in your employee handbook or another location.
- Connect your teams with Zoom, Slack, and other collaborative tools.
- Ask for feedback. Each team—and each individual on the team—is unique. Find out what they need to feel productive and connected.
3. Nurture the connection.
Remote work policies were born out of necessity in many companies but have also brought about increased employee satisfaction and productivity. Prime your company for the next phase of remote work by incorporating great remote culture strategies into your core work culture. Consider these tactics:
- Create a company calendar with regular virtual all-hands-on-deck meeting dates, so employees can look forward to seeing and being seen by their co-workers.
- Institute a buddy system. Sometimes all it takes to feel connected is knowing there is someone ready and willing to listen, answer questions, or offer support.
- Establish traditions. Not all employees celebrate the same holidays but creating company traditions can give everyone a reason to celebrate.
4. Managing by objectives:
Many leaders worry that people are goofing off when they work from home. Instead of micromanaging time, focus on objectives and milestones and measure success by employee output.
5. Providing ongoing feedback:
Many companies are eliminating annual performance reviews in favor of providing continuous, real-time feedback. This is an especially effective strategy for remote workers who might feel a bit disconnected from the team.
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