Whether you were already riding the remote working wave or in recent times, you’ve forcibly had to due to the COVID-19 pandemic, rest assured that remote working is a trend that’s here to stay. Gone are the days when employees worked out of cubicles in a fixed 9-5 work environment setting.
But if your company had little-to-no remote working culture before, this sudden transition to remote may be a bit of a shocker for you as well as your employees.
While it may take some time for everyone to adjust to the new norm and get back to peak levels of productivity, the good news is that there are very successful companies (such as Zapier, Toptal, and Buffer) that have no office at all, and their entire workforce is distributed.
What’s more, considering the following proven benefits, if you haven’t already, now is the right time to embrace remote work for your business:
- Cost savings on office real estate, fuel, and other overheads
- Access to a global pool of best talent
- Higher productivity, job satisfaction, and lower employee turnover
- Reduced employee absenteeism
However, there’s more to a successful company than work – the working culture is just as important too. And a company’s working culture is vital not just for daily operations, but it also plays a huge role in the overall long-run business growth.
So when you’re transitioning to a fully remote company (at least for the foreseeable future), it is important to maintain a strong culture that fosters employee happiness and thus, better productivity and business output.
For that reason, here are the top three tips you must implement for your remote workforce!
1. Encourage an Environment of Open Communication
Simply put, your company’s remote success depends majorly on your ability to facilitate strong open communication among your employees. Communication and collaboration are key to ensuring your teams stay connected and on track.
So, provide the necessary guidelines, channels, and tools required for this internal communications shift from offline to completely online. You see, when your employees are collaborating inside an app instead of physically inside an office, it’s crucial that the app matches the culture you’re trying to build.
Sure, you can just rely on good old email communication, but not only is that inefficient in terms of instant two-way communication, but it’s also very corporate and dull. It’s better to create a fun, informal remote environment where your teams can openly communicate and share feedback without hesitation.
In essence, having a more casual approach to communication, with frequent use of GIFs and memes, will typically result in more open and transparent communication along with better team bonding and unity.
Moreover, you can hold a short (say, 15 minute) video huddle meeting each morning so everyone gets to know what their colleagues are going to be working on and their schedule. This helps keep everyone on the same page and on track.
Plus, it’s a good idea to encourage knowledge sharing and water-cooler conversations amongst your teams by, say, creating Slack channels (like #pets or #food) or group chats for discussing non-work related stuff, like what’s hot on Netflix or book recommendations. Again, this helps in creating a fun work culture that promotes team bonding.
2. Provide a Lot of Flexibility
Yes, regularly checking in on your employees is important, but every team and individual will have different ways of tackling their workload. Showing confidence in your team members and their ability to hit deadlines means allowing them to work on their own pace without constantly micro-managing them.
Many employees will be working with children hopping around the house and other distractions or important chores that need their attention. Let them know that you trust their work ethic and ultimately, you value the team’s output instead of fixating on the daily working hours. But if somebody is not producing the work they’re expected to, affably check-in with them and ask if there’s anything you can do to help.
In fact, it’s a great idea to promote healthy activities, such as taking regular breaks away from the desk, exercise, and getting plenty of sleep. It shows that you care about your employees, not just the business’s bottom line.
Thus, long story short, cultivate an environment of trust and encourage flexible working hours with more work-life balance. Your teams will seriously appreciate it.
3. Host Fun, Virtual Team-Building Activities
Lastly, in a remote setting, building a sense of camaraderie and connection does become tricky. And to build a strong work culture, these aspects are indeed important.
An excellent way to strengthen the sense of solidarity and camaraderie in your teams is to host fun team-building activities on a regular basis. These activities could range from virtual happy hours and online gaming (such as a first-person shooter or racing game) to charades and amusing quizzes.
Frequently hosting such simple, fun team-building activities can really help in creating a positive company culture while working remotely.
Over to You
Like it or not, the COVID-19 crisis is only going to further the remote working trend and in order to continue thriving as a business, you’ll need to adapt to the new reality with a focus on building a strong remote working culture.
In fact, recent statistics suggest that the amount of people who work remotely at least once per week has grown by 400% since 2010. And if they could, 99% of people would choose to work remotely, at least part-time, for the rest of their careers.
In other words, remote working is here to stay. That is why you should implement the three aforementioned tips for building your company’s remote culture and you’re sure to see a happier, more productive team that genuinely wants to work together for the company’s prosperity.