30 Mar Strategies for Working Remotely and Keeping your Culture Alive
Each day, more and more leaders are choosing to have employees work from home to prevent them from possible exposure to coronavirus. However, this is more than simply a matter of asking your people to operate the same way they do at an office in their own homes. There are actions you can take to help them be successful and fulfilled so your employees and organization can thrive during this time. Furthermore, you want to make sure your company culture is alive and well when people are no longer face-to-face on a regular basis. As a virtual, global organization, we would like to share tips and suggestions we have learned over the years to help prepare you and/or your clients for this transition.
Set Employees Up for Success
As employees set up their home workspaces, they will need equipment that allows work to continue effectively and seamlessly, such as laptops, reliable internet connection, comfortable chairs, and other supplies necessary for their roles. You may decide that employees can take such things home with them and/or offer stipends to acquire any additional items needed.
Even though people can’t drop into one another’s office or gather in the conference room doesn’t mean that teamwork and collaboration need to stop. There are a number of tools that support virtual meetings and 1-to-1 check-ins. Implementing online conference software like GoToMeeting and Zoom and instant messaging systems like Slack and Skype to provide spaces for people to come together. Many of these systems are also useful to continue to meet and work with clients and other external stakeholders.
Now that you’ve got tools to connect with your colleagues, it’s important to use them regularly to support ongoing communication and connection. A sense of loneliness and isolation can be real issues for remote employees, so you want to make sure that you are routinely reaching out to help alleviate any challenges they may be facing whether personally and professionally. This could include daily check-ins with individual employees and/or increasing the frequency of team meetings and company-wide emails.
Create time and space for people to connect on a personal basis. At BVC, we have designated Slack channels for people to share things about their lives outside of work, a funny meme or video, and about their pets. You might also create open meetings for people to come together without a specific agenda or objective other than being together.
During meetings and 1-to-1s, turn on your webcams. Seeing your colleagues fosters greater connection and understanding through eye contact and the ability to read facial expressions and body language.
The myth that working in an office makes people more productive is simply not true. In fact, studies find that remote workers take fewer breaks and work more hours each month. Since it is so easy for employees working home to put in long hours when work is so accessible, it is essential to help them establish balance.
While it is not always possible for employees to designate a room in their houses as a home office, it is helpful to create a dedicated space for working that provides at least some privacy, especially if other family members will also be around. Additionally, dedicated workspaces can encourage people to really step away from work for breaks and at the end of the day.
Leaders can help set the tone by being mindful of their own work habits, such as sending emails during off-hours that may inadvertently send a message that long hours are expected.
Keep Your Culture Alive
As you establish new policies and procedures for remote working and sick leave, navigate the ways in which potential disruptors like coronavirus might impact your strategy and objectives, and communicate and connect with both employees and customers, lean on your company’s core values.
Maintaining your culture during times of change is not an added initiative, but rather the ‘how’ all your initiatives and business are carried out. Your core values are the foundation of your culture and reflect who you are and what you stand for. They empower each person, regardless of where they are in the organization, when making decisions or taking action, even when no one is watching. Your values are the glue that holds everyone and what moves the collective forward that much faster to achieving its objectives and dreams.
Barrett Values Centre
Barrett Values Centre
EXPLORE YOUR VALUES
The free Personal Values Assessment takes less than five minutes to complete. Shortly after you have completed the survey, you will receive a detailed report showing how your values map to the seven levels of consciousness model. The report will also contain exercises you can do to deepen your understanding of your values.