Workplace culture has never solely been about Monday morning fruit baskets, monthly pool competitions in the office break room or going for staff drinks on a Friday (Thursday, Wednesday, Tuesday or Monday) after a long ‘week’. It’s about enriching the well-being of your employees through the cultivation of shared beliefs, attitudes, interactions and behaviours.
In other words, the key principles that define a workplace culture and establish the personality and uniqueness of an organisation are the ones that are the least tangible.
Developing a positive workplace culture is not only critical to attract and retain the best talent, but also the driver behind productivity, performance and engagement due to it being so closely linked with employee happiness and satisfaction.
So, what then of remote workplace culture?
Since the Covid-19 pandemic shifted much of the world to working from home overnight, building a culture is a bigger challenge, but the need is even greater without daily in-person interactions.
In an office setting, culture can (and will) evolve naturally through daily ‘in-real-life’ experiences shared with your environment and co-workers. Building a remote team culture in the absence of ‘normal’ working conditions therefore demands more deliberate and proactive effort for it to take shape.
We believe these are just a few tips to help encourage a positive remote workplace culture through the all-important use of employee comms.
Have clearly defined missions and goals.
Cultivating a high-performing remote culture is much easier if everyone on the team understands a clear organisational vision. Reinforce this, because it will remind employees of what they’re trying to accomplish and create a unified understanding of their purpose.
Create regular check-ins.
Dedicate time for daily/weekly recurring video meetings. Not only is this a great way to keep pace on ongoing projects, but it will also provide the face-to-face contact necessary for relationship building. This feeling of regular connection will give employees an ingrained sense of belonging in a world that’s currently so isolated.
Build an events calendar.
As much as possible create a communal events calendar for the year ahead. Regularly update this with internal and external meetings, webinars, virtual events, or anything of interest etc. This will create a firm sense of time and connection to other business activities and negate the feeling of loneliness and isolation.
“Don’t forget, Friday is mandatory Hawaiian shirt day!”
Be cautious of a ‘one size fits all’ approach to social events and fun remote activities like quizzes. Have open dialogues with your team about their needs, expectations and create a common ground of how employees want to work as individuals. Remember, forced fun is no fun at all.
Encourage growth plans.
Whether remote working is because of the Covid-19 pandemic or otherwise, allowing employees to map out their desired career trajectory whilst in a remote environment will allow them to feel fulfilled. Be attentive and give clear advice on skills and steps they need to take to advance in their roles. There are tonnes of remote online learning tools that employers should signpost to be seen as a place that empowers learning as well as working.
It’s OK to unplug.
Working remotely often means being set-up at a makeshift office in the corner of a bedroom, pantry, garden shed or wherever you have space. It’s easy to never switch-off and check emails at inappropriate hours of the day. Encourage habits that allow your employees to unplug, disconnect and enjoy a healthy work-life balance.