2020 has been a tumultuous year. If your company hadn’t yet embraced the growing trend of remote work before the pandemic struck, there’s no escaping it now. The days when you worked side-by-side with your colleagues in a 9–5 work environment are gone.
As significant and unexpected the shift to remote work has been, there are benefits you may already be experiencing. For example:
Major cost savings on overhead such as fuel and facilities
Access to a nationwide (perhaps even global) pool of talent
Better productivity levels and lower employee turnover
Decreased employee absenteeism
There’s more to being a successful remote company than getting the work done — creating a positive culture that employees can experience and appreciate virtually is equally important. A company’s working culture affects not just day-to-day operations but also plays a pivotal role in the long-term growth of the company. It affects employees’ productivity and job satisfaction levels and can lead to years of loyalty or immediate churn.
And so, here are three steps you can take as an HR professional to build a positive remote working culture for remote teams that inspires employees to stick around and give their best each day.
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Checking in on your employees from time to time is important, but each individual has their own way to deal with their workload.
Ultimately, what matters is their output and not the number of hours they put in. If they’re able to complete their work in six hours instead of eight, let them have the rest of their day off to spend with their family or tackle household chores.
Treat their health and work-life balance as a priority. If they get too stressed or sick, they won't be able to perform at their peak levels — or at all.
Encourage your team to take frequent breaks away from the desk, exercise, get plenty of sleep, and prioritize family time. Foster non-work-related (aka water-cooler) social communication, such as how they manage to stay fit at home or what’s the latest movie they’d recommend.
And if a teammate is not producing the quality of work they’re expected to, check in with them in a friendly manner and ask what you can do to help.
Long story short, cultivate a remote working culture that’s founded on trust (of course, with background checks during staffing) and encourage flexible working hours with more work-life balance. It shows that you care about your team, not just the results they produce.
Engaging employees can be tricky in a remote setting. But if you wish for your team to continue working synergistically, it is vital they continue to feel like a close-knit unit even when they are miles apart.
An excellent way to boost cohesion in your remote team is to host regular team-building activities such as virtual happy hours and online competitions like quizzes and scavenger hunts.
Coming together on a video conference (say, the last Friday of the month) for bonding activities is a great way to keep your remote team engaged and build positive team experiences no matter where the members of your staff are located.
Your team may be out of sight, but it’s no excuse to let their efforts be out of mind. In fact, "lack of recognition" is the third biggest reason employees say they are or would consider leaving their jobs. Furthermore 82% of employees wish they received more recognition for their work.
In order to keep every team member engaged, productive, and motivated to give their best, do all you can to recognize and reward their hard work.
There are a lot of ways to show appreciation so employees feel they’re a valuable asset to the company. For example, did someone just publish a super-comprehensive blog post that’s bringing in a ton of website traffic? Create a personalized message to show your gratitude for their work, or recognize the value of their efforts during a team meeting.
“Our staff has praised the increased communications level Workmates delivers. We use it to communicate important project matters and give staff specific ‘kudos’ or even recognize their birthdays. More importantly, we use Workmates to clarify important project details that needed rapid dissemination among the entire team.”
A great way to give employee recognition while also helping the local businesses during these tough times is by purchasing gift cards for your employees. Employees actually prefer to be rewarded with customized gift cards instead of cash, as it shows a personal touch from the employer.
For everyday accomplishments, you can get a wholesome meal delivered to their doorstep, and they’ll be grateful to have an everyday burden taken off their plates.
When shared publicly (in a Zoom meeting or the company-wide Slack group), recognition boosts motivation for all teammates, leading to more of the same positive behavior from other members as well. Thus, make sure to provide frequent employee recognition to create a positive remote working culture.
While we all look forward to life after COVID-19 sometime in 2021, the reality is many employees will have adjusted to and even prefer remote work. In fact, 98% of respondents to a Buffer survey said they want to continue to work remotely at least some of the time.
HR Cloud can help ensure you meet the needs of remote employees. Learn more about HR Cloud’s comprehensive HRIS solution consisting of Recruiting/ATS, Onboarding, Performance Management, and more. Visit www.hrcloud.com or request a personalized, no-obligation product demo today.
About Author: Gaurav Belani is senior SEO and content marketing analyst at Growfusely, a content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO. He has more than seven years of experience in digital marketing. He likes sharing his knowledge in a wide range of domains ranging from marketing to human capital management and much more. His work is featured in several authoritative business publications. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter at @belanigaurav.