You feel the distance has changed things between your work teams? Follow these tips to maintain your organizational culture intact in a new era of remote work
It’s a fact that rules have changed regarding how companies function in the past couple years. Not only in business terms, but also in the team dynamics and ways to work.
The trend seems to be leaning towards a more hybrid model, where a fraction of teams return gradually to office spaces and another will continue in remote work. And not only in the private sector, in local administrations of some cities as well.
Now that leaders have proof that coworkers can be efficient working from home and that there are advantages that can translate into more productivity, less costs and a better life-work balance, it’s valid to say that home-office is here to stay.
But, what implications does this have for organizational culture?
What is company culture?
Organizational culture or company culture is the name given to the system of values, good practices, policies, knowledge and traditions that define the environment and the dynamics your work teams and the whole organization have.
In other words, your organizational culture is represented both by your team schedule policies, work styles and employee development, and your inside jokes, Friday traditions and the whole environment that characterize you.
What’s the impact of remote work in organizational culture?
In general and globally, the impact of remote work due to the pandemic has been positive. In fact, a survey by Quarts and Qualtrics assures that 52% of the surveyed employees felt more purposeful and up to 37% felt the company culture improved during the pandemic.
Nonetheless, it is also true that this sudden change in the ways of working has also brought challenges. An analysis by PwC reveals that remote coworkers also can end up being less productive and extend their office hours (affecting their life-work balance), without mentioning hidden “costs” in your work culture: isolation, less collaboration, lack of orientation and, in that sense, an affected leadership.
This duality revealed that companies need to define efficient models to maintain a close communication despite the distance and to offer adequate tools that their teams will need to adapt.
Tips to keep your company culture intact in spite of distance
1. Consider your team’s needs
Richard Branson, the legend behind Virgin Mobile, has a phrase that sums it all up: “Take care of your employees, and they will take care of your business”.
An essential part of any company’s culture is taking care of people’s wellbeing. Prioritize bringing all the tools needed during this change, from equipment to proper space, to training and resources.
2. Define and communicate your culture
Even if it’s true that cultures are built, it’s also vital to lay the foundations and write them down to communicate it effectively.
If you and your team leaders hadn’t had the opportunity to define your values and work philosophy before, now, more than ever, is critical to do so.
This will aid in creating consistency between your business operations and, above all, will help you reinforce a sense of belonging and engagement in spite of being physically apart.
3. Break any communication barrier
Openness and communication are the pillars for your teams to stay united. Even if there might be teams that are constantly in touch by talking or texting, there will be others that feel disconnected, which fosters incertitude and a feeling of isolation.
You can send a weekly newsletter to keep everyone well informed about activities, you can all share your digital calendars and priorities, and remind them that your video call Personal Meeting Room is always available just as it was with your desk or personal work area.
4. Meet online for more than just work meetings
At this point, video calls are not a new thing. But you can get out of the routine by making these sessions other than meetings, and turn them into experiences.
Plan activities to emulate those coffee break talks, hanging out during lunch break or the traditional birthday office parties.
For that, a good strategy is to create reasons to interact beyond work topics: organize trivia games (for a healthy competition to win a prize), book, series or movie clubs, or any other hobbies you want to share.
5. Look for tools that help you embrace change
Besides small day-to-day activities, a new way to work requires training your teams. Digital training will be your best ally, since it will not only help you adapt, but it will also simplify the task of onboarding new employees while you still work fully digital or hybrid.
For that, you will need a solution as agile as remote work that you can deploy easily.
Reinforce your organizational culture with completely digital training that you can easily implement
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Author: Alexandra Ortiz