We are living through a weird time. The majority of businesses are operating differently than they have in the past. Many still have employees working from home with no end in sight, And while many people thought they wanted to work from home, now that it’s been a reality for almost a year, the real drawbacks have become crystal clear. Working virtually has had a real hit on company culture and it’s having a negative impact on employees.
Research since the pandemic began found that the majority of employees feel less connected to the culture of their company now that they’re working from home. People are missing that separation of work life and home life. They’re missing the opportunity to small talk around the office. And they miss collaborating together on a team in person.
Remote work sounded great to many, until it became a reality that they had no control over. But here we are without much say about when it can end. So, what can you do as a leader to help improve company culture while working virtually?
Tips on building company culture remotely
Keep having those virtual meetings
Yes, I know the novelty of virtual meetings wore off months ago, but they are important. If you’re not able to meet with your team in person than it’s important to continue having whole team meetings virtually. This is a chance to get everyone on the same page and help everyone to know that you’re still a team even if you aren’t physically together.
It also helps provide employees with a chance to connect and collaborate. Remote work has pushed people into the silos that many companies have spent recent years trying to get people out of. Everyone works better when they see how their piece of the puzzle fits into the big picture. Your team meeting is a chance to help them connect it all together.
And don’t forget about the importance of having managers meet virtually with their direct reports individually as well. This is an effective way to check in and see what support your employees need and if they have access to the resources they need. But most importantly, this gives you a chance to really see how your employee is doing as a person. The past year has been tough and 2021 has continued to be a challenge. It is anticipated that mental health challenges will increase dramatically this year and as a leader, there are things you can do to help. These meetings are a good time to see how everyone is and make sure they have access to any mental health resources they may need.
Be transparent in your communication
When your team is working remotely, your communication is more important than ever. Employees need for you to be transparent about what’s happening. If you don’t have any new information to provide them with, send them a simple message just letting them know that there’s no new information at this time. This may feel like an unnecessary step, but they don’t know what you don’t tell them. When you let them know that there is no new information, it lets them know that you are thinking about them and continuing to keep them in the know. It’s a little step that can make a big difference.
Provide learning opportunities
One poll found that the majority of employees said a good way to continue fostering company culture right now is to continue providing employees with learning opportunities. Continue to invest in your employees. It matters. And thanks to the pandemic, there are more opportunities than ever for online leadership development training, education courses, and industry-specific workshops. Look for ways to invest in your employees in this way.
Don’t forget about team building
Yes, team building experiences may look a little different now, but it doesn’t mean you should avoid trying anything all together. At the end of 2020, SPEARity had it’s first ever virtual Christmas party. And it was a ton of fun.
While SPEARity is a Milwaukee-based business consulting and leadership development company, not every member of the team lives in Wisconsin. This virtual party gave us all an opportunity to connect together. For part of the time we did a virtual scavenger hunt which was silly and fun and gave us a chance to get to know one another on a personal level instead of just professional. This was great for company culture!
Create opportunities for your employees to connect on a human level. Remember, your employees are people and when you remember to treat them as such it goes a long way for building a strong culture of success in your organization.
If you’re looking for ways to improve company culture or provide your team with opportunities for training and development, reach out to see how a SPEARity coach can help.