The pandemic quickly became a unique social experience as remote working became a reality for many businesses. Now that the pandemic is subsiding and people can return to the office, it appears that fewer employers are choosing to do so. Remote work has demonstrated that the same workload can be achieved, minus the price of rent and having to commute in traffic every morning.
While a remote work environment does not diminish the effort that workers put in, maintaining a strong company culture is still incredibly important. It is the responsibility of the company manager, or team leader to continue to foster camaraderie between team members, even amidst an increasingly remote workplace.
This transition has never taken place before in human history, and it’s normal to be perplexed by this situation. The comfort of working from home rapidly loses its benefit if it also means decreasing employee engagement. In this article we talk you through how to establish a positive remote work environment and discuss the importance of team building.
What is organizational culture?
Business or corporate culture, sometimes also called organizational culture, is the set of norms, values, beliefs and expectations of a company, as well as the ways of acting, thinking and feeling shared by its members.
Much like the flag of a nation, organizational culture is meant to create a common ground for employees and stimulate engagement in the workplace. However, building a positive work culture is easier said than done. Core values can be written down on a piece of paper but that does not materialize into changes overnight.
Developing an organizational culture is about building trust and strengthening relationships. An added layer of complexity appears when a virtual work culture must be created as humans, being social animals, are more receptive to presential settings.
How to maintain a strong company culture when employees work remotely
To maintain a strong remote working environment, a company should follow these tips:
- Identify core values
- Prepare team leaders
- Encourage communication
- Organize team-building exercises
- Consider hybrid work
1. Identify core values
When you started your company, you likely had a strong idea of the kind of work environment and culture you wanted to create. However, as a business experiences growth, the imperative for profit and productivity often overshadows these initial strong ideals that were present at the inception of the company.
When employees transition to remote work, you should therefore take a moment to reflect. You need to remind yourself of the values you had in mind when you started your company, and assess whether or not they have remained central to your workplace’s core values.
If you notice that you have changed, you might want to think about why. Identify what has and hasn’t worked in your workplace, and how you can implement a positive remote work culture. You might need to think of new values and worker benefits packages that are reflective of the environment you wish to create.
2. Prepare team leaders
Team leaders set the tone of the working environment you are creating. It’s therefore important to ensure that managers are prepared for the transition to remote work and to encourage them to reinforce a positive remote work culture. For example, some managers finish emails with funny closing statements such as “my sincere lukewarm regards,” to poke fun at traditional corporate culture (authenticity is key!). You should also encourage managers to increase employee engagement and schedule regular team meetings.
3. Encourage communication
Although we already highlighted the importance of communication between team leaders and their employees, you should also encourage communication between employees. Working from home can be extremely alienating because employees don’t have usual daily interactions with other employees in the office.
Something as simple as setting up regular team meetings without team leaders will provide employees with the informal space they need to communicate with each other. These types of team-building initiatives will foster a culture in which employees are comfortable with each other, and can problem-solve more easily.
4. Organize team-building exercises
Most companies understand the importance of team building, but few put in the work to encourage it. Team building helps create relationships between employees which in turn improves communication and builds trust. To encourage team building in a remote work setting, Kronos organizes interactive virtual team building events. Our turnkey approach means that we sort everything out for you.
Although the actual activity only lasts a few hours, we get employees involved in the weeks prior and build up hope for the main event. Our hi-tech virtual studios make this an extremely immersive experience that your employees will remember.
5. Consider hybrid work
Although many workers enjoy working from home, it is not necessarily a viable option to have a fully remote workforce post-pandemic. However, that does not mean you have to rip your employees completely out of the comfort of their home offices. You might want to consider adopting a hybrid approach.
This allows workers to work from home some of the time and to work at the office when it is required. By doing this, you create a best of both worlds situation, and you give employees who might not like working from home the option to work in the office.
Having employees come into the office every now and then ensures that no one gets too disconnected from the work environment and culture. It allows them to maintain relationships with fellow employees and managers, which is integral to creating a healthy working environment.