One of the major challenges workers had to deal with in remote work conditions is staying mentally healthy while getting their jobs done. Sure, working from home is the more practical option considering its advantages for businesses in the long run. For many organizations, a work-from-home setup is more ideal and leads to reduced costs and improved work-life balance.
However, it cannot be denied that some employees encounter a variety of stressors while working from home. Distractions, poor Internet connection, and feeling isolated from the rest of their coworkers are only some of the challenges workers have to overcome in remote work setups. According to a recent report by The Medical City Clinic, 39.6% of remote workers experience unreliable Internet connection, while 35.8% are challenged by interruptions at home. Meanwhile, some workers report heavier workload (9.4%) and office coordination issues (7.5%).
That being said, cultivating a positive company culture is of the utmost importance for many businesses, especially in light of a global crisis that forced workers to stay indoors and limit outdoor activities. After all, bad workplace culture comes at a high cost, whether in a traditional office or a work-from-home setup.
In this article, we compiled five tips on how to foster positive company culture in a remote work setup. To help your organization overcome challenges from working remotely, you can take advantage of the following ways of maintaining culture in a virtual environment.
1. Ensure Connection Between Employees
This is the first and foremost hurdle you have to get the better of remote work: how to build and maintain an office culture without an office. In a work-from-home setup, your employees are physically dispersed between their homes and your office. Thus, facilitating connection and communication among colleagues may seem an impossible feat. Indeed, employees in most companies work with team members whom they have never met personally in a full-time remote work setup.
One way to ensure that your employees feel connected is by hosting virtual meetings every now and then. Managers and team leaders should encourage all employees to share their video during these meetings. Compared to audio-only virtual meetings, video conferencing actually adds a layer of personalization and improves communication for most individuals. This way, employees will not feel isolated and detached from their teams.
Aside from regular team meetings, one-to-one check-ins are also recommended for companies with remote work culture. By improving relationships between management and coworkers, positivity in the office is maintained and remote culture is preserved.
2. Encourage Office Collaboration
Enabling collaboration between all facets of the organization is no easy task, especially when teams are divided into in-office and remote workers. For some organizations, it is more difficult to work on certain projects when mixing employees working full time remotely with those at the office at all times.
This is where the creativity and flexibility of the human resource team comes in. By creating an effective cross-departmental collaboration strategy, employees can easily work together despite being physically dispersed. Making sure that all departments are aligned in terms of goals, KPIs, budgets, and expectations can also improve collaboration among employees. Additionally, this ensures that all employees are on the same page when working together on a specific project.
3. Prioritize Mental Health and Well-being
Aside from the physical health risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, several studies also suggest that it has a negative impact on the mental health of the working population. In fact, a study published in BMC Public Health reveals that 30% of employees experienced deteriorating work and private life conditions.
As employees struggle to get used to the new normal, which involves staying indoors for long periods of time and working under the roof of their houses, the scale of their mental distress can worsen if not immediately addressed by the management. In consequence, mental health issues can interfere with an employee’s ability to concentrate and complete their day-to-day tasks.
This calls for companies to provide healthcare benefits that focus on the mental health and well-being of employees. By establishing certain protocols that optimize employee well-being, companies can build a positive work culture and create a healthy work environment where employees feel that their mental health is a priority. Having programs that address and raise awareness for mental health is also a powerful way to provide support to employees at an individual level.
4. Digitize Workflows and Processes
The rise of remote work has accelerated the adoption of digital solutions for many organizations. Today, automation and digitization play central roles in improving the productivity and efficiency of many businesses. Companies can improve collaboration between different teams and make sure that all employees are working in unison with modern workplace solutions like document management software, productivity tools, workflow automation platforms.
Adapting digital tools also leads to positive effects in the general workflow and the work atmosphere in the office. On top of that, the use of digital solutions in the workplace increases employee performance and optimizes workflows. In turn, companies can improve customer satisfaction and the overall health of their business.
5. Create Morale Boosting Events and Programs for Employees
Since the office environment is linked to employee performance and workplace culture plays a crucial role in the success of a business, having programs and events to support employees in their professional growth can go a long way. By taking actionable steps to host virtual programs and events to build employee relationships and promote interaction, organizations can foster a positive work culture in the long run. As a result, employees working from home and at the office can both feel a sense of inclusion as part of a larger organization.
Other than regular virtual meetings, companies can also schedule fun events that are unrelated to work and have no other purpose except to bring the team closer together as a group. This can also improve the morale of the entire team, enabling employees to work with each other more harmoniously. Through morale boosting programs and happy hour events, team leaders can help employees enhance their creativity, collaboration, and positivity at work.
Importance of a Positive Work Culture for Remote Workers
Today, more organizations are recognizing the importance of a positive company environment, whether remote or in-office. Some studies suggest that a positive work culture is linked to increased productivity, improved employee engagement, and higher profit margins. As a result, team leaders and human resource teams are going to great lengths to ensure that their company culture stands out from the pack.
By having a positive work culture, companies can retain their employees in the long term and attract the top job candidates who can make a difference in their organization. It is also vital for companies to encourage teamwork and open and honest communication when fostering positivity in the workplace. In doing so, companies can experience improved productivity and work quality from their employees, which are vital to the success of their business.
All these mean that the future of work corporate culture now seems to be geared toward people-first work values. As businesses start to fully adapt hybrid and remote working conditions, it is more important than ever for managers and team leaders to nurture a more resilient workforce. By focusing on flexibility, inclusion, and employee well-being, companies can reinforce a positive work culture for work-from-home employees.