Up until very recently, digital workspaces were not as acceptable, owing to the impossibility of one-on-one communication.
It sure feels heavy when face-to-face conversations are a crossed-out possibility. But, now that the issue is being overcome through affordable, easy-to-use video conferencing devices, things are taking a turn for the better.
In the recent past, most of the companies were racing to find ways that would take them ahead of their competition by inventing practices to build a sense of unity and sociability among employees.
Managing to come up with a gazillion of fun activities to keep the team-bond nurtured: retreats, adventurous courses – to name a few, was a top priority.
Becoming a dominant attention-grabber for the workforce – the perks of employment played a major role in the process of selecting a workplace. To attract the crème de la crème, you had to be on top of the game. General company success was tightly linked to it, after all.
However, as more and more people become part of remote work teams, companies are faced with yet another challenge.
Only last year, 43% of Americans spent their time on remote work – a number sure to rise as younger generations enter the workforce. While on one hand, the change is bringing forward a good chance for companies to accumulate on their savings, it also presents a sheer challenge.
The challenge persists as much for employees as for leaders, in terms of maintaining a company culture that all employees – regardless of location – proudly stick behind.
To use digital transformation as an advantage, company leaders are now required to work on planning and cultivating a strong company culture with the tools at hand, despite differences in location or time zone.
But, if you rarely or never see your workers, how can you go about expanding your company culture or employee experience?
Here are 5 tips to make it in the world of remote work:
1. Keep Engaged in a Messaging Platform
There are various possibilities to streamline your productivity. It is important to integrate or even create organizing systems within your work processes.
Usually, organizing work may seem like a waste of time, compared to urgent tasks, however, strategic organizing and planning will bring productivity results by the tenfold.
Check out various suitable apps and platforms (Slack, Asana, Microsoft Team,etc.) and make sure you use these tools for seamless communication. Most of our ideas come from random conversations, anyway.
As remote workers or companies, it is crucial to have a Messaging and Sharing Platform to move forward with your team. Work accomplished this way will surely seem as accomplished by one remarkable mind.
Also, the feeling of radical transparency – since anyone in the company can search across all internal communications – is a key factor to nourish trust and bonding.
2. Use the Technology at Hand
Digital transformation has brought great tools to aid with mobility. Get down to using the new technology and immerse into apps, telepresence robots, and video conferencing devices among the rest of the unified communication channels for all-around team collaboration.
As most companies are spread-out in countries around the globe, while large numbers of employees don’t get the chance to meet in person, video conferencing enables face-to-face meetings, making up for our physical limitations.
A solid working relationship based on trust is important to keep the members motivated at work. Communicate well and often. And most importantly, share.
3. Proactive Managers and Team Members
Be a proactive manager and get to understand what your remote workers do for your company. Learn about their job, but at the same time, get on a more direct and personal level.
Set clear expectations and develop an established workflow. Make sure to also plan how remote workers communicate and how often they need to check-in with managers. In this way, you get to be motivated together and work toward the company goal.
Employ a ‘freedom to fail’ mentality. Be willing to also learn from trial and error. Give yourself room to breathe.
Sometimes, when you can, let go of tradition, especially if it becomes a barrier for you to move forward. Your company culture should embrace progress and new ideas as well as open up to digital transformation.
If you can’t accept the fact that some practices no longer cut the deal, it will be difficult/painful. In the end, it comes down to making the right decision, not acquiring more time.
Also, make sure you give frequent feedback as it is critical to improve and boost employee engagement. Shape your company culture beyond your headquarters.
4. Get Personal
As a remote worker, chances are you may feel like writing to your in-house team workers is a bother or you may even assume it is the wrong way to present yourself. Seeming unreasonably needy is not a quality you want to be associated with.
That is why the company needs to provide the appropriate time and space for employees to get to know each other on a more personal level, separate from work entities.
Get to know employees as people – make some time for video-conferences that don’t revolve around work. You may even set up online channels for your employees to connect.
Offer training and development for your remote workers to attend through virtual shops or webinars. Whichever fits best to company goals and provides an opportunity for team members to get acquainted on a personal level.
Always emphasize the importance of everyone’s input and if possible, be quick with positive feedback and rewards. It is essential that your employees feel valued. Employees that feel listened to and valued, naturally want to contribute more.
Beware of this unavoidable mistake! Do not make a habit out of dismissing employees’ opinions and feedback – this will make your employees feel unheard or worse, invisible.
Try to truly comprehend your employee’s opinions and then be careful to use their insight, instead of just asking for the sake of asking.
5. Accurately Available
Be clear about availability. As a remote worker, you are not an exception. As other team members, it is expected of you to have planned out availability, too. Set your schedule and stick behind it. Make it known to other employees when they can contact you for any work-related reasons.
You can manage your flexibility and availability by establishing clear hours so that the rest of the in-house team can rely on you. Either chat or video conference can be used to make sure you are there when needed. This will surely establish trust and good work-flow consistency across all company departments.
We need to know each other’s communication patterns, work style, and personalities to be ourselves and be able to openly suggest ideas as well as speak up when things are off-track.
Creating an effective company culture is a challenge, whether your employees work strictly on-site or remotely. And though it may be difficult, it is not unrealistic.
If you maintain your employees involved in the process and empower them to use their voice to make a difference while using the tools available to you – that is the way of the future.
Co-location is not a major factor for successful collaborations. It’s also not up to finding the highest, fanciest of technology. The right tool, the right tech will do the job.
The focus should be on open communication and trust-building – no matter where the desks are. Engagement and empowerment are cultural investments that sure pay off.
Whichever way you want to tackle it, remote work is not going away. Two of the main factors contributing directly to remote work retention are the war for talent and real estate prices. Therefore, prepare to evolve your practices.