No matter what pandemic variant is circulating, there’s little argument that COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on how work is done around the world. Remote workers, which had comprised less than 20 percent of the knowledge workforce in 2019, now have center stage. In fact, according to the latest statistics from Gartner, 31 percent of all global workers and 53 percent of US workers will be working remotely by the end of 2022. But all that begs the question: with so many employees working away from their teams, how do you cultivate a positive remote work culture?
In today’s modern workplace, the remote employee is independent, productive, aligned with their employer’s remote work culture, and has a perfect work-life balance. Right? Not so fast. Many employees are finding themselves overwhelmed, overworked, overmanaged, and are having a difficult time separating work from home life. Feelings of isolation and underappreciation can negatively affect an employee’s perception of their company. In fact, only 15% of employees world-wide are engaged in their workplace.
How can you improve your company culture with remote teams?
1. Define and Share Your Remote Work Culture
Your workplace culture is your shared attitudes, values, assumptions, and belief systems. It’s the personality, character, and uniqueness of your business.
Just because your employees are now working remotely doesn’t mean you should abandon your work culture. Make sure your employees understand your company’s remote work culture and are fully on board with keeping it alive.
2. Encouragement is the King of Company Culture
It’s easy to replace encouragement with over-management or, just as harmful, to ignore work well done. It’s like being the good kid in school who studies and gets great grades but is ignored because the teacher focuses on the underperforming kids in the class.
Your company culture should embrace good work ethic, acknowledge it, and reward it. Integris CEO Mike Fowler praises Bonusly, an app that allow employees to give recognition to each other by awarding points that can be exchanged for merchandise or gift cards. As he explains, “This app helps to draw attention to all the great things that are going on for the whole company to see. This helps to promote a positive culture of encouragement and praise. It can be contagious!”
3. Create a Remote Work Culture of Sharing Ideas
Many times, your employees have opinions…but are too timid to share them. Mark N., web designer of a marketing agency in Philadelphia, explains, “I had ideas, but they were always dismissed. After a while, I just stopped sharing. I found myself a by-stander in my own office.”
It’s easy to let the flamboyant personalities overshadow the shyer ones, but if you want to cultivate a remote work culture of idea-sharing, make sure to pay attention to your quieter team members and encourage them to add their insights and thoughts.
We get it. Running a remote team can seem overwhelming. Take the guesswork out of empowering your remote teams by downloading our free Modern Workplace Essentials Kit.
4. Use the Tools that Encourage Company Culture Communications
If you haven’t looked into using the full Microsoft 365 suite of applications, you’re missing out on one of the most progressive management, collaborative, and connected tools in the remote workplace.
Microsoft Teams was made for the remote workforce, offering real-time chat, audio and video calls, file-sharing, project organization, and more. And Microsoft Planner offers project management boards that are fully customizable, and sure to keep your team communication running strong.
You can customize teams in any way that is beneficial to your organization, including a channel exclusively for your remote work culture. Use this channel to share leadership messages, productivity metrics and encouragement, contests, and more. This is a great way to communicate your company culture to your remote teams.
5. Encourage Employees to Stay Engaged with Each Other
A team that socializes outside of established work hours is more likely to be cohesive and engaged with your company’s work culture.
In addition to encouraging employees to bond outside of the “office,” try some team building exercises between your remote employees and leadership.
6. Go All-In on the Remote Workplace
Your attitude about the remote workplace is what will drive a positive remote work culture. Instead of making “exceptions” for remote work, make it clear that your remote or hybrid workforce is as valuable to your organization as in-office teams. By encouraging and empowering your remote teams, you are giving them the incentive they need to stay engaged and aligned to your company culture.
7. Celebrate Company News on Corporate Portals
SharePoint is one of the great unsung heroes of corporate communication. It offers companies the platform to create a corporate portal that all employees can access. Share company news. Give employees shoutouts on their good work. Track the company’s volunteerism campaigns. Connect to the company’s social media streams. Announce new hires. Post current jobs. Provide links to HR resources like vacation request forms, employee manuals, and holiday schedules. Post videos from executives to the staff. The list of company information you can share with in one handy place is never ending. And best of all, a SharePoint portal can be a great jumping off point for special interest groups, too. If you’re thinking about starting a SharePoint portal, we have a great tutorial on how to set one up. Check it out!
Putting it All Together
Maintaining your company culture is even more important now that your employees are working remotely than ever before. A positive remote work culture will increase employee engagement, give employees the incentive and motivation they need to stay productive, and provide a foundation for expectations and goals. And don’t forget—keeping data safe with remote employees is important, too.
Need more tips and do-it-yourself tricks for effectively empowering your remote workforce? Click below to download your free Modern Workplace Essentials kit![sc name=”cta-mwj3″]