Maintaining a good and productive working environment is one of the main goals of every manager. And the focus falls on a positive culture in the workplace which is essential for employee retention, satisfaction and productivity. And when your team is working remotely, creating such a culture can present some challenges.
Company culture consists in the organizational core values that decide the way employees interact with each other and how an organization functions.
In a co-located team, it is maintained by employees coming together and engaging in team-building activities and meetings.
In a remote working team, the physical interaction of the employees must be replaced with work-from-home policies that can maintain or even improve teamwork, productivity and efficiency.
Here are some key elements to take into consideration if your team is working remotely and you are trying to create a positive company culture.
Analyze your policies
Managers and company leaders have a huge influence on the company culture, by creating guidelines and policies that every employee can relate to. Even if the core values of your company won’t change by switching when working remotely, some guidelines may be adjusted to the realities of the new working system. Also, you need to take demonstrable actions regularly so that the employees feel responsible and connected to the company values, while working from home.
Maintain working conditions
When working from home employees gain flexibility, avoid long commutes, and remain free from office distractions while the company saves on office management costs. But you need to ensure that the employees that work from home have the conditions and the right tools to communicate and synchronize work, for obtaining the same level of performance, as in the office.
Employees with a “best work buddy” are seven times more likely to engage in their jobs, as shown in a Gallup study. You can maintain these connections between colleagues that work from home by creating daily/weekly routines or dual working teams, which work on one or several projects, keeping each team essential for the project’s progress.
The worst thing about working from home is the feeling of isolation among remote workers. A study published by Harvard Business Review shows that the lack of close contact hinders trust, connection and mutual purpose, with most remote employees reporting feeling left out or that colleagues mistreat them.
That’s why it is important to make sure everyone is included and that every employee is clear about his role in the progress of a project and what is expected of him. Employees and managers need to communicate frequently, keep each other up to speed on changes in the project and, when possible, use face-to-face or voice-to-voice contact.
Clear goals and rewards
Being clear about expectations and giving employees equal opportunities to progress and equal access to rewards are the key elements to keeping employees motivated and engaged. And these are mandatory when it comes to managing remote employees.
Managers should reinforce goals in a positive way for both on-site and remote workers, so that the employees are feeling valued and treated equally.
Remote work programs do not need to impede your organization from creating and solidifying a positive team culture. With clear goals, inclusion and efficient communication, remote working can be proved to be an improvement to your operations. Do you agree?