Remote working has quickly become a defining feature of the 2020s. Thanks in part to the world-changing COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have been operating out-of-office for many months. While employees are likely to return to offices in some capacity over the next year, a staggering 97% of professionals want to continue working remotely at least some of the time.
With this in mind, modern companies are under pressure to nurture a positive remote working culture. Although many people possess a romantic idea of the home office as an idyllic space free from noise, distractions, and uncomfortable commutes, this is far from the truth.
Remote workers often feel isolated and stressed. According to a recent survey, 69% of employees experience burnout when working from home, something which could take a serious toll on your company culture and overall productivity.
So, how can you ensure employees stay happy, connected, and motivated while out of the office? We’ve put together a few simple tips to help you out.
Harness the power of online communication tools
Try to ignore media scare stories about ‘Zoom fatigue’. While it is certainly true that interacting with others on camera can induce anxiety in some individuals, many people find that video calls strengthen their relationships with others and reduce loneliness.
Rather than adopting an aggressive ‘cameras on’ policy that puts employees under pressure, why not organize regular drop-in sessions for workers to interact casually? Remote workers often miss out on the everyday interactions enjoyed by office workers, so providing a space for bonding could help boost collegiality among employees. Think of this as the virtual water cooler or break room. Have your team grab a cup of joe or diet coke and hang out informally with one another using remote communication tools like Teams or Zoom. Some remote teams stay in their "virtual office" together for much of the day.
In the long-term, this could also help remote workers feel more comfortable on camera during formal meetings with managers and partners.
Don’t forget to praise remote employees
Unfortunately, a common complaint amongst remote workers is that they feel underappreciated or ignored in their roles. After all, it is easy to forget to praise people for doing a great job if they’re many miles away.
Fortunately, there are plenty of new technologies out there designed to make remote workers feel valued and rewarded. Achievers, for example, allows team leaders to reward employees for their hard work with prizes such as pampering sessions and fancy dinners out. There are also a ton of team-building apps like Team Class available to help you carry out virtual or remote team-building activities.
If you’re concerned that your employees don’t feel seen or heard by higher management, an app such as TINYpulse will help you to set up company-wide online surveys quickly and easily. Remember that surveys are not enough on their own. Once the results are in, you must take steps to address key criticisms. Try implementing skip-level meetings on a regular basis to help team members get exposure to people in roles they don't normally interact with.
Clearly define your remote work culture
Before you start implementing new initiatives, you must ensure that your workforce is on the same page and working toward a shared goal. It may be helpful to draw up a short document stating your shared values and beliefs, as this will guide efforts to keep the personality of your brand alive. Making sure all employees know your organization's 'Why' is more important than ever before in a remote work environment.
Encourage remote workers to share ideas
One of the benefits of face-to-face working is that employees can bounce ideas off each other all day long. Fortunately, it is possible to maintain this culture of sharing and creativity from a distance. Apps such as Microsoft Teams, for example, contain plenty of features perfect for sharing documents and ideas.
If you’re looking for something a little different, apps like Wonder and Mural offer innovative collaborative features designed to democratize participation. Even your quieter or less forthcoming employees will love using these tools to connect with colleagues, spark ideas, and drive productivity.
Organize team-building activities
Remote workers often find themselves missing after-work drinks and dinners, as these represent the perfect time to unwind and get to know each other in an informal setting. You don’t have to lose these prosocial opportunities while working out of the office, however.
Try setting up team-building activities outside of work hours. This could take the form of a simple quiz or even an online escape room. Try to think outside the box and find activities geared toward workers in your industry. Many companies are turning toward team retreats once or twice a year to provide a fun in-person environment to bond.
The bottom line
Maintaining a strong and cohesive company culture has never been more important. To protect your remote workers from burnout and stress, you must boost morale through innovative online initiatives and by encouraging communication between colleagues. Your IT department can help facilitate this by implementing technology that can help enable remote teams.
If your tech department is overwhelmed or non-existent, Blueteam Networks, a Managed Service Provider or MSP in Central Ohio can help. We offer comprehensive, affordable IT Support or Co-managed IT Support. Blueteam can help your business move to a cloud environment, and even set up a phone system that was made for companies that have employees working from anywhere. We've helped hundreds of teams through the pandemic and into the world of a successful remote working culture.
Do you know anyone that needs out-of-this-world IT Support? We're giving away Amazon Gift Cards and a chance to win an iPad Pro or Surface Pro! Ask about our referral program!
Microsoft Edge - A Quantum Leap Forward For Productivity and Business
Microsoft Edge seems to have developed a reputation as one of the slower, less sophisticated...
Cybersecurity Tips for Working Remotely
2020 was a landmark year for remote work. Even before the pandemic, more and more companies came to...
Stay Productive Despite Covid-19 with Microsoft Teams
More people than ever are working from home thanks to COVID-19. This situtation has led to a few...