For a small or medium-sized business to succeed in a remote work environment, it must have a great remote company culture. Here’s how you can implement communication and a work-life balance into your remote atmosphere so that your team can become one, even if they are all far apart.
The COVID-19 pandemic created a major shift in how employees work and managers run businesses. While it used to be the norm for workers to drive to a physical office and work their eight hours, social distancing and other pandemic precautions forced many companies to either close their doors or transition to a remote workforce.
Now, even though the pandemic is mostly behind us, many companies are starting to realize that having a remote workforce is better for their bottom line. On top of that, many employees are now only choosing jobs that let them work remotely or at least allow them to enjoy a hybrid work environment.
Needless to say, it appears that remote work is here to stay. If you manage a small or medium-sized business, then you may be wondering how you can jump in and create the perfect remote culture, and we are here to help.
A Smart Home Office
In order to create a strong company culture, the employees at your company must be able to feel comfortable enough to share their values, work together to accomplish goals, and improve their overall attitude about work. The first step to getting there is ensuring that they are comfortable in their surroundings. This is easier to do in a corporate office, but when employees work remotely, it starts in their home office.
The first step is to ensure that they have the proper equipment that can help them to stay on task when working from home. That means that they need to have a working computer and more than one screen so they can work as easily as they did at the office. Employees should also be provided with a high-quality chair that allows them to maintain proper posture and sit up straight, so they can remain productive throughout the day.
A good remote employee will require a strong internet connection. Since you want all of your employees to be on the same level, it is important that your company either provides a suitable internet service or reimburses employees for setting this up on their own. Along with the essential peripherals (mouse, keyboard), you will also want to ensure that you equip all of your employees with a suitable webcam that will allow them to communicate seamlessly when necessary.
Communication Will Be Essential
One of the cornerstones of positive company culture is the ability to communicate seamlessly across the department. Studies show that when employees are asked what makes for good collaboration, 14% said easy communication with co-workers. When we work alone, it is easy to feel isolated and depressed, but if remote employees can reach out when they need help or support, then it can make all of the difference and they can feel like they are really a part of something.
Management should have an open-door policy and encourage their teams to share their ideas and concepts in an open forum where they know their thoughts will be recognized. Consider having a daily morning meeting over a video app where the manager discusses the goals for the day and everyone on the team gets a chance to ask questions or make suggestions. Everyone should be treated equally because effective communication and inclusion is the key to increasing morale in the workplace.
While communication amongst your team is essential, it is also important that all of your departments are able to talk amongst each other as well. Interdepartmental communication is necessary because it ensures data transparency and it also creates a more efficient workflow, which can be key when multiple departments need to work together for a common goal.
When everyone works from home, and they don’t see each other, then having the ability to quickly get the answers they need, as if they were in the same office, will do wonders to help the customers or clients with their issues.
The Importance of Video Apps
If you want to have a successful remote team, then you also need to provide all employees with a dependable video meeting app so that you can have meetings face to face whenever necessary. The ability to see employees’ faces is essential during one-on-one reviews and meetings where important projects are discussed, and the attention of everyone on the team is essential. Video apps also create a sense of normalcy like you had during board meetings in the physical office.
The ability to see one another over video is also essential to uphold employee morale. One of the downsides of working from home is that many employees can start to feel isolated as they lose the connection to their team, but you must not allow that to occur. Instead, it is important that you have video meetings at least once per week where your team is able to discuss matters of the day or spend some time talking about their weekends. This will allow them to bond and remember that they are part of a team.
It is also a good idea to host a few gatherings where the employees leave home and enjoy an in-person event as a group. For instance, management could arrange for a company-wide picnic or a group hike at a local park. Outdoor events are always a good idea because people are generally happier when they are out in nature, and it allows your team to blow off some steam and let their work stress melt away. It may not be possible to have many group events outside of the home, but if you get the chance, then it can be incredibly helpful for team morale.
Work/Life Balance Is Also Essential
Another potential pitfall for many remote employees is that they work longer hours than necessary. It is easy to see why. When you don’t need to face a long commute at the end of the day, it can be too easy to stay seated at the desk until hours have gone by. Managers can also make the mistake of thinking that since employees work at home, they have more time on their hands.
However, when employees work long hours day after day, they can quickly start to burnout, and those negative feelings can start to affect their attendance and the quality of their work. It is important for management to set boundaries for their remote teams and allow the staff to start and end work at the same time every day. At the end of the day, they should be able to step away and spend time with their family and get the rest they need so they can return to work the next day feeling refreshed. Encourage them to unplug and stop checking emails when the workday is over. Discuss rituals they can use to signal an end to all things work-related, such as deep breathing, yoga, and exercise once they clock off. Provide a suitable work-life balance to your team, and they will stick around.
If you enable your staff to communicate and feel like they are part of a cohesive unit, then it is possible to create the perfect remote culture. Consider this advice and you can succeed in this new era of business.