Workplace culture is an important part of every work environment. It takes times to cultivate and the more engaged employees are with your company’s culture, the more productive and satisfied they will be. As more teams are forced to work remotely, particularly in response to the pandemic, it can be challenging to maintain company culture. Here are six ways to help your workplace culture thrive whilst working remotely.
1. Reflect On Your Core Values
Rather than entirely redesign your culture to cope with the changing circumstances, take each week one step at a time. Consider your company’s fundamental principles, core values and purpose. Reflect on whether your current approaches and choices are still in line with these. If there are behaviors or rituals which need to be redefined to meet the changing needs being experienced as a result of moving to remote working, ensure that these remain rooted in your company’s cultural values and that they are consistent nonetheless. There may be occasions when you may need to pivot on a particular business decision.
2. Promote A Sense Of Belonging
One of the potential hurdles which you may need to help your employees overcome is the sense of not belonging. Some individuals will find the transition to remote work easier than others, either because they are more tech savvy or because they have worked in such conditions previously. However, for others, including employees who were perhaps newer to the team or more insecure, the change may be especially difficult.
It’s important that all of your employees know that their contributions matter and that they are valued. This is essential if you are to ensure that employees’ psychological wellbeing is maintained, as well as helping you to promote and build stronger interpersonal relationships.
3. Promote Transparent Working Practices
As you assess and evaluate your remote working practices and culture, it’s important that you are proactive in being open and honest with your employees. As you experiment with finding ways to work productively and effectively together, share your ideas and opinions with employees, but also ensure that you encourage them to do the same in return.
“Foster a culture where it’s not only acceptable, but encouraged for employees to ask questions, share their ideas and work collaboratively with you to rethink strategies and ways forward. Above all, employees should know that it’s still acceptable to speak honestly about any concerns they may have. They should feel comfortable talking to you about what aspects of the remote working circumstances are working and perhaps most importantly, which ones aren’t and need to be reviewed and reconsidered. This will create greater trust between you and your employees, as well as allow you to be aware of what issues may be brewing that need to be addressed,” says Norma Blake, a marketing manager at Thesis help and Brit student.
You also need to ensure that you provide employees with all the necessary information that they require in order to be able to fulfil their work duties to the best of their ability. As such, it’s essential that you establish an atmosphere of transparency. Make sure that you share all relevant information with your employees. Be honest about what information you do or don’t know in order to prevent distrust, misinformation or fear from setting in.
4. Regularly Assess Employee Morale
As part of an open and transparent working relationship with employees, ensure that you provide opportunities for all members of the team to discuss their feelings. Given the current context of the pandemic, it’s likely that many employees will be experiencing higher levels of stress, uncertainty or worry. The change to their daily routine and forced remote working situation may be affecting your team in a number of ways which you may be unaware of.
As such, ensure that you provide opportunities for your team to discuss their feelings openly. You may want to set aside a dedicated weekly team meeting as an opportunity for employees to discuss this. It can also be a useful opportunity for them to provide feedback or suggestions on ways to improve remote working practices and to share best practices with one another.
5. Reconsider And Adjust Expectations And Working Practices
There will inevitably be some changes to your working practices as a result to moving your company’s work to a remote setting. Rather than simply applying the same set of rules, expectations and working practices that you had before, consider this as an opportunity to re-evaluate the way in which you work as a team and find alternative strategies forward which better meet the new demands of your working environment.
Involve your team, where possible, in reviewing your working practices. Ask them to honestly consider what was working well and positively contributed towards a productive and effective work environment, as well as what wasn’t working. In particular, encourage them to critically reflect on what may have hindered their productivity in the past.
Reviewing this regularly as you become more familiar with remote work can also prove valuable. There may be protocols or strategies which you implemented at the outset of remote work which you thought would promote collaboration and productivity, but which have in fact hindered employees. Ensure that you listen to these and take appropriate action to ensure that your team is able to work to the best of their ability.
Similarly, adjust your expectations accordingly. Your fundamental values and work ethic should remain consistent. However, it’s also important to take time to consider moments that matter to each employee’s individual experience. Ensure that your expectations match the new environment you are all working in.
It may no longer be appropriate for all employees to work to the same schedule, especially if their personal circumstances differ and they are having to adjust to personal changes in addition to work changes. For example, you may have employees who will be homeschooling in addition to working remotely. As such, it’s useful to re-establish a new set of work expectations, including how to communicate and collaborate, as well as offering greater flexibility in their work schedule. Encouraging your employees to focus on their work outcome, as opposed to working to set hours, will provide them with the flexibility they may need, whilst also showing that you have trust in their ability to produce the work required.
6. Communicate And Connect
Communication is more essential than ever when working remotely. In particular, it’s crucial that you establish expectations regarding communication methods as early on as possible. Technology means that you have multiple ways to stay connected and to communicate with your team and them with you. However, if clear boundaries and expectations aren’t put in place, these can quickly become continuous intrusions which can blur the line between work and private life and actually leave employees feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
Similarly, it’s important to establish which methods or channels of communication should be used for different circumstances to avoid misunderstandings, confusion and even potential trust issues. Clearly establish which method of communication you expect your employees to use for urgent or immediate communication and which should be used for non-urgent communication. For example, email is usually used for non-urgent communication, whilst text/instant messaging tend to be used for immediate communication, with phone calls being typically reserved for emergencies. Establish clear rules on virtual meetings too, such as attendance, which platforms will be used and what behavior is acceptable or not.
“Make sure that you communicate regularly with all of your employees. Feelings of isolation and burnout can be common amongst remote workers, so ensure that you provide regular opportunities to touch base with teams, as well as individuals. Video calls are especially good for fostering better connections and relationships. Try to schedule weekly meetings where teams can gather collectively, as well as offering one-to-one meetings with individuals where they can discuss more personal matters,” says William Coleman, a business writer at Write my X and 1 Day 2 write.
Another good strategy for helping to promote your workplace culture and encourage communication is to provide opportunities for employees to interact on a more personal or social level. You could arrange a weekly informal group chat, virtual coffee break meet-ups or even organize virtual events, such as virtual quizzes. These will help to make your employees feel better connected and less isolated.
When working remotely, it can be easy for individuals to feel isolated and disconnected. However, remote working doesn’t have to mean that your employees need to be distant. Ensure that you provide opportunities for them to engage with each other and with you in honest, reflective feedback. Regularly assess your remote working practices and ensure that you are transparent with employees about your expectations. Above all, ensure that you remain true to your company’s core values, whilst adapting your practices enough to provide a positive and productive employee experience. In this way, not only will your employees continue to perform well, but your workplace culture will also prevail.
Kendra Beckley is a successful business development manager and editor at Write my research proposal and Coursework help. She specializes in supporting companies as they seek to enter new business markets and is especially successful at building long-term relationships with partners. Kendra also enjoys writing articles on a variety of topics for Phdkingdom.com. A remote worker herself, Kendra enjoys staying up to date with the latest business and technology developments in her spare time.