Company culture is what guides employees in their workplace etiquette and manners. Even in the digital age, clear communication and creativity are essentials in problem-solving.
Remote working is not a new concept. Some companies have been practicing agile work using desk scheduling softwares for several decades. Employees are also adapting to new ways of developing company culture in the massive shift to remote working during the pandemic.
So, What Makes Up A Harmonious Remote Workplace?
The work-from-home routine has led to being available online, and employers across various industries expect their workers to be that way. Most team members have accepted this new way of working, especially the techy ones. In return, all they seek is flexibility in how and where they work
Work environment setup can significantly impact employee productivity. It is important to note how the surroundings influence a person’s thoughts and feelings, creating high-quality work.
For example, the recent proliferation of digital nomads advocates the lifestyle of working while traveling the world. This kind of work-life balance practice has changed the landscape of remote work. Nevertheless, it is not one size fits all. Some organizations cannot operate using remote work.
With this premise, some challenges that companies face of keeping their core values and Culture in the remote work setup:
– Team member fellowship is not like before
– Company vision and ethics does not happen naturally
– Trust takes longer to establish
– Feelings of ownership and belongingness may stall
– Friendly conversations and bonding may not transpire
– Skill sets, personality, value to add, and type of person predispose cross-functional collaboration
Nevertheless, with these challenges in maintaining company culture among remote workers, it is sufficient to say that Culture is a mindset and not a place.
What Drives Company Culture?
Organizations must define and describe their Culture. Culture can be established through a combination of company values, structures, beliefs, traditions, professional etiquette, silent rules, and behaviors. These components help create employee experience on the company’s culture.
Determining what drives your company culture influences employee performance. Successful organizations that have established their company culture can uphold its core values and live up to their mission, vision, and goals.
Having defined company culture and determining what drives it, there are other critical components to maintaining company culture. Here are some of the most significant considerations that go culture in the workplace
Technology impacts workplace collaboration and remote work. Digital platforms such as Asana, Slack, Google Docs allow teams to manage their projects systematically, communicate instantly, and exchange files securely. With these business innovations, organizations can ensure real-time collaboration, automate repetitive tasks, organize and monitor team projects.
Organizations need to provide necessary training to ensure employee productivity when working from home, just as they are in the corporate office. They need guidance on how to do things on their own using the technological platforms available online.
Companies can suggest routines that can help sustain work/life balance for employees and set up home workstations that best suit their style. Moreover, it is equally important to coach remote managers as leadership roles have become even more challenging as team members work in different locations and sometimes different time zones.
Support from Supervisors or Managers
Establishing weekly check-ins, such as team or individual meetings with direct reports of their work, will help remote workers stay updated on the happenings within the company.
Additionally, managers will know how their team members are doing in their task deliverables and work from home situations. As with team meetings, the video conferencing platform is the most beneficial tool to check in with your teammates.
Scaling Up Remote Work Company Culture
The first step to solid remote company culture is building a solid foundation. Companies must recognize current efforts in creating or maintaining company culture in a remote work setting. Evaluating and optimizing, then developing new positions for team members to consistently establish and adhere to remote work programs.
Focusing on establishing or improving remote company culture can help improve business outcomes because it helps build effective communication and team camaraderie. Effective communication among team members gets the tasks done. Also, remote work culture provides introverted employees an avenue to voice their ideas through online communication channels.
How Can Companies Foster Culture in a Virtual Setting?
A company can foster Culture in a remote and virtual setting by establishing quality and frequency communication guidelines. For example, teams can host virtual team-building events and find creative ways online to adapt to standing meetings and gatherings. These routine activities can be a start to creating a solid remote teamwork culture.
Building a Strong Remote Work Culture
Using Psychological theory on the hierarchy of needs, you can build a strong remote work culture based on the basic human requirements and desires. The following steps will help you provide essential remote work needs that will lead your organization to actualization.
#1. Meeting Functional Requirements
Strive to provide everything that your employees need to work remotely. If your company can afford, provide these essentials to them:
- Reliable internet connection and internet router
- Dedicated space for working
- Laptop or Desktop Computer
- Desk and Chair
- Office Supplies: pens, papers, printer, etc.
Assess which employees lack these crucial home office essentials and try to allocate a budget for these things. If you don’t have the budget, you can compromise with employees on a remote work setup that would work in the meantime. For example, your employees can use what is already available in the company and start from there.
#2: Establish remote work guidelines, expectations, and policies
Remote workers must have a sense of accountability while working from anywhere. Your company should set down the framework for Scheduling, Communication, Collaboration, Vacation, and Day Off.
Set fixed or flexible working hours. Set up a communication and collaboration channel for teams to discuss and monitor their projects. Clarify vacation leaves and time off work.
Setting limits or boundaries on what employees should do while working from home will uphold their professionalism towards work.
#3: Encourage feedback and questions on remote work policies and guidelines
Managers must distribute a copy of the guidelines and policies in remote work. You can send it through their email or actual mail if you like. Employees must have an avenue to voice out their concerns about the policies promulgated. Create surveys, encourage ideas and opinions, and assist them in their problems.
This diplomatic process of managing the team will prevent conflicts that may arise later on.
#4: Fulfill Desires for Belonging or Esteem
Create a remote culture statement. Examine your current culture statement. More often than not, it is already suitable for remote culture statements. However, modify unrelatable terms such as “office pets,” “game rooms,” “happy hour,” and related associations to prevent misinterpretation.
If you are yet to create a company culture, first list down your employees’ interests and values. Then, explain how the company supports those values and interests.
#5: Create an Events Calendar
Fill up your company calendar with meetings, town halls, gatherings, virtual events, and other team-building activities. Include sporadic meet-ups and individual check-ins to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. The calendar will give remote work employees a strong sense of connection with other employees and a track of time to follow.
#6: Create a Buddy System and Mentorship Programs
Remote work can impact the sense of camaraderie among teams. Creating mentorship programs and buddy systems with trusted friends or colleagues can uplift and reinforce team members’ sense of belonging.
Pair team members from different office locations to significantly extend the reach of your company’s network of close relationships. This companionship system will give everyone a chance to understand different teams and share other skills.
#7: Strive for Team Member Satisfaction and Creativity
Unique workplace traditions create a sense of unity. A solid remote culture with beloved workplace traditions will make members feel like they belong to a community. Commending exemplary performance online will boost the sense of accomplishment and inspire creativity. Generally, when team members feel they belong to a genuinely caring community, employee satisfaction and happiness increase subsequently.
#8: Tailor Interview Questions that Fit Your Company Culture
Integrating remote cultural principles during the hiring process will help the company determine which applicants are best suitable to the company culture. Add interview questions that will screen prospective team members. Conduct annual reviews and ask to rate employees’ practices of company cultural values. Send periodic email reminders involving culture quotes to refresh your team members on what the company values.
#9: Help Employees Advance their Careers and Development Plans
The pandemic may have posed a threat to the employees’ advancement of careers and self-development plans. However, this postponement or progress stalling does not mean employees do not envision career growth in traditional office terms.
Managers must help the team members to plan their desired career trajectory during the remote work environment. What steps to take or skills do they need to have to advance?
The current situation makes it challenging for management to optimize the benefits and mitigate risks for agile teams because of the limited available alternatives. Thus, companies must preserve what was proven to be working and validated to create and maintain a high-performing company culture. Data gathering will further allow the company to predict and enhance employee experience and build a culture to survive any office environment.
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