During the past 18-months, we have all experienced changes in both our personal and professional lives. Many employers had no time to prepare for remote work, but companies managed, and people have made an effort to make things work. As things evolve and employers adopt hybrid work schedules, with many going full-time remote, maintaining your company culture becomes a critical goal.
We have worked hard to build a workplace culture that promotes a healthy and productive environment for employees to thrive, contribute, and find fulfillment in their work. Working from home doesn’t have to change our culture or diminish our effort into it. Maintaining company culture is more than just having fun activities or setting up company outings and celebrations. You can continue to do all this virtually, but keeping one’s company culture is about establishing a virtual work environment where team members can feel connected.
The reality is that company culture will continue to develop whether or not companies are actively discussing and investing in it. As many companies continue to adjust to their “new normal,” it is essential for company leaders to keep company culture top of mind.
TELUS International, a global customer experience and digital solutions provider, found in a study they conducted that the three most critical components of maintaining a solid virtual workplace culture were:
- Continued Leaning opportunities and virtual workshops
- Regular staff meetings and one-on-ones with managers
- Schedule flexibility
So to ensure that you are keeping your culture top of mind and ensure that you are maintaining and reinforcing a positive culture, keep the following recommendations in mind:
Reinforce What’s Working and Change What’s Not
As we move into hybrid or full-time remote work, companies, and teams can improve the things that aren’t working and continue to reinforce the things that are. Getting feedback from employees is key to understanding what needs to change or remain the same.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel; For example, if you currently have a monthly team celebration and people enjoy it, you can continue that remotely. If people are not attending, get input from your team on why the event is not successful and make changes accordingly.
Communication and Trust
Most employees have something negative to say about someone who micromanages them. Employees that receive trust and respect are more likely to rise to the occasion. Instead of micromanaging, remote-working employees find alternative ways for teams to share work schedules and stay updated on the progress of their tasks. For example, we have a morning stand-up and use tools like Click-up to update the status of our to-dos where anyone on our team can see the progress of a task and any notes that may need clarification.
When both employees and managers clearly understand their responsibilities and the expectations that others have of them and have tools to communicate. It reduces micromanagement and reinforces trust and communication, boosting employee morale and providing everyone a work environment.
Maintaining communication is critical to maintaining your company’s culture while your team works remotely. Transparency from leadership can provide a strong sense of job security for your team. Ensuring that company leaders at all levels are communicating with the team on company news, updates, or things that indirectly or directly affect employees is vital to address.
Something that the pandemic taught many company leaders is the importance of transparent communication. Many employees felt that company leaders could have done a better job communicating changes or providing updates rather than keeping employees in the dark about lay-offs, closures, etc. Although all companies are different, it is essential to note that there are times that tough conversations need to happen, and the best we can do is have an open and transparent discussion with your teams and allow them to ask questions.
Employee Work-Life Balance and Flexibility
Work-Life Balance and Flexibility have always been a priority for both employees and companies that care about their well-being. Now more than ever, as we are adopting hybrid and full-time remote work schedules, it is essential to pay attention to our team’s work-life balance.
For example, we give our team the autonomy to make decisions about their schedule. If they need to take a few hours during the day to attend an appointment or pick up their child from school, they have that flexibility as long as there is no conflict and the work can get done on time.
To ensure that your company culture is maintained and continues to grow:
- Focus on the things your team enjoys doing that align with your values and make sense for your future company.
- Talk to your team about things they like and want to continue reinforcing and the changes they want to make.
- Remember that company culture can only be influenced and not made.
It’s something that evolves from the traditions, the people, and the environment present within your company.