- Leaders are finding creative ways to nurture and strengthen their company culture while teams work remotely.
- There are plenty of ways companies can ensure that their employees remain engaged, happy, and productive without micromanaging them.
- These 4 strategies include switching popular traditions to a virtual setting, such as having a ‘virtual coffee’.
With offices closed around the world and the majority of businesses working remotely, leaders are finding creative ways to nurture and strengthen their company culture outside of the office walls.
Research has shown that the more engaged employees are with their company, the better they will perform and the happier they are with their employers.
While employees are practicing social distancing from home, what are some things companies can do to ensure that their employees remain engaged, happy, and productive without micromanaging them?
Recent data from Teampay reveals that companies are spending almost 6 times the amount they normally spend on “morale boosting” purchases. That’s 5.6x the normal; which shows that organizations worldwide are investing in their employees in these challenging times.
4 Strategies to Keep Company Culture Alive while Working Remotely due to COVID-19
1. Create a Live Office
So you can’t meet coworkers for coffee in person, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to meet with them for coffee at all.
This can be done simply by having an ongoing Zoom meeting that employees can join whenever they’re on a break or simply hoping to chat with someone else. Some alternative platforms have been designed to recreate the office environment virtually — like Hallway and Sococo, for example.
This type of arrangement is great for fostering small talk, which can help employees connect with one another while physically distant.
If you want to encourage employees to actually enter the live office throughout the day or during their breaks, consider giving them a small stipend they can use to spend on coffee, tea, or their favorite snacks.
2. Keep Old Traditions Alive, Virtually
Though this may not be possible with all traditions, there is likely some alternative way to keep some of your regular office programming alive while people work remotely.
Take the following example from Teampay:
“Every Wednesday, the company usually provides lunch for the team. Since they are now remote, they set up an auto-approved rule within their platform for every person to have an approved $20 to Seamless their lunch. Then they set up Zoom breakout rooms for two 10 minute sessions to connect with a handful of their teammates and have a little show and tell of their new WFH areas. This is one way that they are continuing to try to keep those little perks and build community.”
For flexible workspace operators that typically host events in their spaces — workout sessions or workshops — they could host these online. Rather than having the Wednesday yoga class in the office, reach out to your yoga teacher and ask if he/she is willing to guide the class through a Zoom meeting; the same goes for any workshops you might have had in your events calendar.
Not only will activities like these keep employees engaged, but it will also help them continue with some semblance of their normal routine, which can work wonders for productivity and motivation.
If you used to have regular happy hours on Fridays, consider hosting them online. Make it a voluntary activity, but let everyone know that they are welcome to join the company meeting with their favorite drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) in hand.
3. Become a Master of Communications
This is probably the most important thing a company can do to keep employees engaged and happy while working remotely.
Communication is everything and you need to make sure that your company has the right channels and policies in place to prevent misunderstandings.
In this sense, it’s important that companies with a now remote team encourage employees to use emojis, gifs, memes, and stickers to communicate. The lack of body language can make effective communication harder and visuals like emojis and gifs can help people better understand the tone of a message.
Additionally, while nothing can replace in-office casual conversations, consider setting up an informal channel where employees can talk about non-work related issues; from the news to their favorite TV show or what they plan to cook for dinner.
4. Create New Traditions
Sometimes a new work arrangement calls for new work traditions. Reach out to employees and ask them if there’s anything you can do to help improve their work from home experience.
It could be having a workout challenge every day at 4:00 p.m.; having team dinners or lunch every Thursday; or even establishing PJ Fridays, where it’s acceptable for people to join the daily check-in meeting wearing their pajamas.
The goal, at the end of the day, is to ensure that your employees continue to feel connected to the company, the work they do, and their colleagues.