A significant number of workers are struggling to keep work and personal life separate amidst the new normal. Humans need connections, and teams need to interact to truly thrive. There is no real substitute for the energy and engagement of in-person interactions at work. People work best when they are part of a shared vision, have a collective set of values and a common mission. In-person interaction is an important pillar in fostering positive work culture. Building an inspiring work culture has always been a critical yet difficult task even under normal circumstances. The difficulty is only exacerbated when co-workers are not seeing each other regularly. However, there are simple and practical ways in which companies can transition their positive company culture to a remote working environment.
By making employee wellbeing a key priority and ensuring psychological safety, the company can lay a strong foundation for its culture. The physical distance of remote working should not lead to emotional distances between employees. Employees must feel free enough to express their opinions and bring forth individual needs. A focus on employees' wellness through different interactive programmes will help emphasise that success and wellbeing are interdependent.
In a remote working environment, where the goal is to keep everyone together, communication is the single most important factor that will keep employee morale high despite prolonged isolation. By implementing technologies that help people stay connected and communicate efficiently, organisations can ensure that the culture is thriving. Some ways to do this are: keep people informed about the company through frequent updates and announcements, support interdepartmental engagement across hierarchy, promote employee interactions beyond necessary meetings, organise cross-functional team events online - both collaborative and competitive, and so on. Keep abreast of and use the latest tools available for business communication.
A great way to build a winning culture remotely is by identifying the various challenges employees face in executing their jobs and outside of work, along with probable solutions to address those challenges. Employees should be encouraged to have a hobby and take time off often to recharge and spend quality personal time. Managers and leaders can be sensitive to their teams and forego the expectations of their constant availability. For example, there can be a designated no-meeting-hours routine weekly or daily to reduce the overload of discussions.
In addition to helping employees have a healthy work-life balance, organisations must do more to promote the positive mental health of their employees. Remote workers may experience mental stress/health issues due loneliness, missing the physical workplace, co-worker interactions, financial concerns, job security or increased family pressures, etc. By reinforcing a culture of empathy, consideration, and gratitude, employers can help workers combat these mental health issues. Being attuned to employee wellbeing, allowing them days off for rest and relaxation, creating employee assistance programs and welfare schemes, go a long way in assuring and ensuring that employees are taken care of.
The company values and ethics should be incorporated in everything people do, including the day-to-day operations of the business. When values are reflected in all functions, be it recruiting, sales, marketing, leadership and so on, a cohesive culture thrives. These values will be the anchor that supports teams through decision making and helps them succeed.
Team-building events or activities are vital to maintaining the company's culture in a remote working environment. Some ideas to organise fun events remotely include playing virtual games, hosting a music show when possible, holding a quiz, a virtual chat with a celebrity to bring a little cheer, etc. Everyone wants to work in a place where they enjoy working, are valued and feel a sense of belonging. A good company culture paves the way for success through motivated and productive employees. While optimising the remote work environment, companies should ensure there is a sense of optimism among the employees.
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