While many people have been enjoying the flexibility to work around childcare and prior commitments for years, government action has temporarily forced a lot of businesses inside its worker’s homes, including their practices and cultures.
Just because we’re all separated in our own homes now doesn’t mean company cultures have to wither away. There are ways to keep your team connected and enjoying working together even when they’re miles apart. It’s important to stay conscious of your employees, their wants and their needs in this difficult time.
Here are some suggestions you can implement in current times and future home working situations to build a great remote company culture.
Frequent virtual meetings
Touching base is vitally important wherever your team is based.
A routine morning meeting every day helps to keep your team together while they’re apart. Whether it’s a full staff get together or an individual team update, it gives everyone the chance to stay up to date with what’s going on with the business and share their accomplishments from the previous day. Creating a routine of a morning video meeting helps schedule staff’s days and retain that sense of normality they would usually get from coming in each morning and saying hello while making tea and coffee.
You can’t underestimate the importance of seeing someone’s face. Engaging over a video call may be the only chance your team gets to see another human face throughout the day, which is much more comforting and connective than reading their name on an email. Even if there’s nothing important to discuss, a ten-minute chat will massively improve your team’s morale and the remote company culture for the day.
Give staff a reason to care
Businesses with a thriving company culture that people want to be a part of understand the importance of making sure everyone in the company is on the same track, working towards the same goal and that that goal is something they’re invested in.
When speaking on retail and leadership, motivational speaker Simon Sinek said “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Flipping the focus from customer to employee, you can apply this same principle to business leadership, just replacing the concept of buying a product with buying into an idea.
You need to get people to buy into the culture of your company, committing their time and labor to it to help it thrive for not just financial reward, but the feeling of appreciation and growth that a positive, hardworking culture provides. They already want to work there and understand the practices, now give them a reason to get invested behind the scenes.
This doesn’t mean you need to let the lowest ranking member of staff into the inner financial workings of the business, but insight can make someone feel above their role and drive them to perform above their station. Now more than ever, it’s easy for staff focus to drift away.
Traditionally people buy into the ‘why’ of a business in the sense of its charity work and how it gives back. This can still be a great method of getting people on board, especially throughout these trying times.
Throughout this remote working period you need to make clear that wider company and personal performance goals haven’t changed, and if they have, they need to be detailed clearly by superiors to make everyone feel they’re along for the ride and in this as a team. People need to know that what they’re doing still has a purpose, even in the most confusing time most have ever experienced.
Streamline remote processes
Working from home isn’t easy, but your team shouldn’t spend their days wrestling with complex systems and structures.
It’s important no one in your company feels like they’ve been abandoned just because they’re working from home. This isn’t just a case of constant communication, but making sure your systems and processes are simple, streamlined and can be done anywhere. The first few days working at home are jarring for a lot of people, but prior planning can help get them up and running with their workload as quickly as possible.
While you may be stuck in a remote working situation now, future proof by implementing systems that are universally easy to use within your industry. Businesses with selected staff working remotely need to have a CMs that’s easy to operate and complete simple tasks on, especially in pressurised industries such as ecommerce. While remote customer service and technical support workers need state of the art tools to best assist clients.
If people are locked in their homes alone with difficult tasks and unresponsive systems, they will start to feel frustrated, which can impact company culture.
Communication is the key to building a great remote company culture.
Communication means so much more than just office chat. It’s about how tasks are explained, projects collaborated on and feedback given. You need to find communication tools that allow you to share not just files, but conversations and inspired thoughts throughout the day.
Just like an office is brightened up by a variety of voices discussing work and personal topics, the same applies to remote working chat programs.
Tools like Slack are great for sharing files and discussing work topics, but they’re just as useful for creating individual channels dedicated to off-topic conversations and fun that doesn’t interfere with people’s ability to stay productive. It’s a much more fluid way to communicate than over clunky alternatives such as email.
Don’t stop the socials
Everyone is homebound or key staff are out of the office? That no excuse to stop your weekly socials!
While it’s not the same as getting everyone together for a drink on a Friday, video chat socials are a fun way to virtually bring the team together for an evening of winding down. Hold Friday after-work drinks in a Google Hangout chat, or organize board game and film watch along nights in the week. With less room for social activities, people will lean on their work colleagues for human contact and value the work you’re doing to keep the culture alive.
There’s so much you can do on social media while working from home. You can invite colleagues to share things about their homes, give guided tours or even just do Q and A sessions to learn more about each other. It’s not the same as a night down the local, but it’s just as effective for building a community feel.
Make sure you prioritize health and safety
In times like these, there’s no excuse for being lax on health and safety. People want to feel valued and looked after, and doing so is crucial for building a successful remote company culture.
Working remotely can be very lonely, especially if you aren’t encouraging the same kind of socials and company-wide meetings you usually would in the office. People can feel as if they’re missing out on a huge communal part of their life.
This can take a toll on members of your team’s mental health, so you have to ensure they feel they can talk to your HR department about anything and there is always time available for them to step away when needed.
Their physical health is just as important. You need to check they have the right equipment for working remotely and if they don’t, supply it for them. This builds a culture of caring about staff, even when you’re not able to literally be there for them.
A positive remote company culture is far from impossible. It will require a bit of creative thinking, but there are a number of ways you can keep spirits high and make sure everyone feels just as connected looking into a