As 2020 comes to a close and we sit in the 8th month of COVID-19, we’re starting to see a shift in the way companies operate. Many businesses have adopted a remote working environment if their line of work allows for it. With the rising success of remote work, some businesses may choose to implement permanent remote work or at least make it an option for employees.
Before deciding if remote work is the best option for your business, you want to ensure you have an idea of how to foster a strong team culture with remote employees. Strong team culture can improve productivity and reduce employee turnover rates, thus saving you money in these hard times.
Communicate Goals Clearly
COVID-19 left many businesses making a rash decision to switch to remote work, thus leaving a lot of expectations up in the air. For many employees, this was their first time working remote,ly and might have experienced confusion as to what is expected of them while at home. When setting goals and expectations you want to be mindful of a few things:
- New working environments can cause stress or an ebb in productivity
- Many employees have children at home needing care
- Not everyone is productive when working from home
You want to consider that everyone’s home life is different and with schools still closed, many employees either are caring for their own children or other children living with them. Or, employees with partners who also work from home might be sharing a workspace. All of these factors will affect meeting times and when employees are getting work done.
By communicating expectations and setting realistic guidelines that take into consideration your employees, you’ll have a productive team that is making the most of the situation. Remember, compassion and patience goes a long way in a business.
Schedule Regular Face to Face Meetings
Since coffee talks and in-person meetings are no longer doable, you’ll want to schedule a regular face to face meetings with your team. These can be quick group calls to check in on everyone and remind everyone that their team still exists. It might be tricky scheduling these calls with everyone, especially since people are working from home, so try and be flexible. To poll when the best times for meetings are you can send out a quick email or chat and collect the responses to choose a time that works best for everyone.
Collect Regular Feedback
Feedback during this transition is critical to the happiness and productivity of your employees. You want to check-in to see how remote work is doing and if there are any improvements you can make as a boss to make the adjustment easier. If you notice your team isn’t providing valuable feedback, anonymous responses might be in your favor to really open the floor to honesty. Again, it’s important to keep an open mind and be open to feedback even if it’s not always positive.
Be Mindful of Employee Time
One of the last things you can do to foster a strong team culture is to be mindful of employee time. For many members of your team, this is their first time being able to spend time at home with their families. It’s natural that there will be an adjustment period to working times and distractions.
One way to combat this is to avoid scheduling meetings late in the afternoons or on Fridays. Keeping your employees happy will increase productivity and keep them dedicated to their work. If this means scheduling meetings at the beginning of the week in the morning, it’s better to make that sacrifice than have late work or employees who quit.
You also want to remind yourself that deadlines should be adjusted to make room for normal family delays. Some employees might have sick family members or busy households, so try scheduling tasks and assignments early to make room for any hiccups.
At the end of the day, keeping employees happy and having a solid relationship with them is the best way to foster a strong team culture in and out of the office. If you need more tips, subscribe to our blog or contact us!