What would your employees say if they were asked to describe their current workplace culture? Would the feedback be positive or negative? Or would they say there is no defined company culture? In light of recent challenges brought up by the COVID-19 virus, it is more important than ever that company culture is an organization’s top priority.
If your company didn’t offer work from home options before COVID-19, now is the time to build a healthy culture for your future remote employees. As thousands of employees are seeking refuge at home from the coronavirus, the number of remote workers is increasing daily.
Offering employees flexible and remote working options can be a great perk, especially as the 2020 COVID-19 virus rolls through cities and continents. While this option is a great solution, it also can leave employees feeling disconnected from their team. With nearly 43 percent of U.S. employees already working remotely in some capacity, it’s not surprising that loneliness, collaboration and communication are among the top struggles remote workers face. It’s time to create a culture for your remote workforce focused on personalized communication, employee advocacy challenges, collaborative technology, and days in the office.
Since you don’t physically see your remote team, you’ll need to have a plan in place for communication so they can connect with you and other coworkers. Be sure to offer multiple communication options that cater to the individual.
You’ll want to speak with individuals to determine the best way to connect since not all remote workers communicate the same. Not sure where to start? Consider using free assessments such as a PI Behavioral Index to determine what motivates your employees. This way, you can better manage them so they can succeed in their remote-role.
The PI Behavioral Index will inform you of the different ways your employees prefer to communicate. If a remote worker has a high communication work-style, consider incorporating multiple check-ins with video chats to meet their need for constant communication. If you have a team member who has a high formality work style, suggest a chat-based method for quick responses to clarify questions and projects.
The PI Behavioral Index will inform you of the different ways your employees prefer to communicate.
Employee Advocacy Program
When your team members are used to friendly conversations by the water cooler, it can be difficult to maintain organizational culture outside of the office. Something that we have found to work both in and out of the office is having an employee advocacy plan in place.
In order to build a strong culture, you need motivated and engaged employees. We’ve found friendly competitions are one of the best ways you can both motivate and engage employees with your brand. After all, your employees are your best brand ambassadors.
Offering gift cards, reward points, or free meals to active brand ambassadors are some tried and true employee advocacy strategies that get remote employees involved with your company. Not sure of what kind of advocacy plans to create? Here are some employee advocacy challenges that we have tried with our on-site and off-site team members.
- Team members send photos of themselves in their favorite work or holiday-related attire.
- Employees email video clips of themselves working from home explaining how they are helping customers no matter the time or place.
- Employees Slack a quote and a photo or video of themselves explaining why they love working for your company.
This approach gives your remote employees voices within your organization, and rewards your team members that are involved. This is a win-win because it also offers your marketing team free content for social media.
While working a remote job has its perks like uninterrupted work time and not having to get dressed up, it also has disadvantages. Unfortunately, discussions and ideas that usually happen in the office are harder to have outside of the work environment. Although your remote workers aren’t technically in the office, there is technology available to make them feel more in touch with their coworkers. If you aren’t sure where to start, here is a list of collaborative technology we recommend using for your distributed team.
Google Suite is the ideal solution for a remote company. With options like Google Docs, Google Powerpoint, and Google Sheets, workers can simultaneously collaborate on and save projects in real-time. Google Suite is a great way to manage a remote team.
Monday.com is also a great way to manage tasks as a team. You can keep up with project tasks, due dates, and link files from Google Drive to task lists. With notifications, Monday.com helps your team stay organized and holds individuals accountable for each person’s roles and responsibilities.
Slack is a chat platform that allows your employees to message each other individually or in groups. If a project deadline gets moved up, remote workers can be notified immediately through chat. Slack is a great resource for frequent team communication.
Employee self service is also a tool your business can utilize to help employees stay up-to-date on company-wide initiatives. Self-service solutions give employers the ability to send out mass communication text messages and emails with employees.
Zoom is a video conferencing platform that is a great supplement for face-to-face communication. Zoom can lead to more productive team meetings because all remote employees can interact with their co-workers in real-time, whether through phone calls or webcam sessions. Team culture and company morale can increase because all team members are a part of the session. Zoom brings corporate culture to the home by enabling workers to be involved in project development.
As you integrate this technology into your remote workforce, it’s important to remember to accommodate employees in different time zones. Planning to have a Zoom meeting at 8:00 a.m. Central Time would be a 6:00 a.m. meeting for someone living in a Pacific Time Zone. The great news is that most technology companies like Zoom incorporate time zone maps into their software so you can accommodate individuals all over the United States.
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Days In the Office
As our world moves towards a remote working environment, it’s easy for us to think this will be a permanent out-of-office solution. However, the current coronavirus situation will not be forever. During times of uncertainty, it’s important to adjust our thinking towards the future.
Prior to COVID-19, companies like Dell offered work-from-home (WFH) days or partial remote work. This was an opportunity for employees to have a better work-life-balance, as well as for companies to have a more engaged work culture. A Gallup poll estimated that employees who split time between working at home and working in the office are more likely to be more engaged and fulfilled when compared to their 100 percent remote coworkers.
Although in-office visits are limited for the time being, this will not always have to be the case. In the future, if you have permanent offsite workers, consider offering them days in-the-office. You can do this even if it’s just for a few days a year.
Start building a culture for remote workers now by implementing future in-the-office days into your strategy. In the future, invite remote workers to the office for meetings, presentations, and holiday parties. Bringing in remote workers a few times a year allows companies to gather all (remote and in-house) employees, review quarterly strategies, and hype up employees about new initiatives. You can set your company up for success by planning to engage with remote employees in-person ahead of time.
A Healthy Culture Equals Happy Employees
Now more than ever it’s important for companies to focus on their workforce culture. Remote workers need to feel connected, appreciated, and unified, especially during a pandemic such as COVID-19. With the implementation of collaborative technology, personalized communication, and in-the-office workdays, your offsite employees will perform better in their roles and enjoy the work they do, even if they aren’t in the office.
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