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Building a Healthy Culture for Remote Workers
What would your employees say if somebody asked them to describe their workplace culture? Would the feedback be positive, negative, or that there is no defined company culture?? If company culture hasn’t been on your radar for your onsite workers, it probably hasn’t crossed your mind to consider the impact on your remote workers.
If your company doesn’t currently offer work from home options, it may be time to start thinking about building a healthy culture for your future remote employees. As many as 50% of all employees will be working outside of the office most of the time by 2020. Offering employees flexible and remote working options can be a great perk, but it can also leave them feeling disconnected and not a part of the team. With nearly 43 percent of U.S. employees already work remotely in some capacity, it’s not surprising that loneliness, as well as difficulty collaborating and communicating, are among the top struggles remote workers face. If you’ve noticed your out-of-office employees aren’t reaping the benefits of your company’s culture, it’s time to start building a specific culture for your remote workforce with personalized communication, in-the-office days, and collaborative technology.
Personalization in Communication
Since you don’t physically see your remote workers, you’ll need to have a plan in place for communication so they can connect with you and other coworkers. Be sure to offer multiple communication options that cater to the individual, like chats, phone calls, video chats, and emails. You’ll want to speak with individuals to determine the best way to connect since not all remote workers communicate the same.
Not sure where to start? Consider using the Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment to determine what motivates your employees and how you can better manage them to succeed in their role. If a remote worker has a high communication work style based on their PI Behavioral Index, consider incorporating multiple check-ins with video chats to meet their need for constant communication. Or if you have a team member who has a high formality work style, suggest a chat-based method for quick responses to clarify questions and projects.
When you think of remote working, you may be thinking that term means a permanent out-of-office role. Not all remote employees are permanently offsite as some companies like Dell offer work-from-home (WFH) days or partial remote work. When working from home, employees can feel disconnected from the company, even if they are still communicating with team members from the same department. It is no surprise that a Gallup poll estimated that visiting employees are more likely to be more engaged and fulfilled when compared to their 100 percent remote coworkers. If you have full-time permanent offsite workers, consider offering in-the-office days for remote employees, even if it’s just a few days a year.
Begin building a culture for your remote workers by implementing in-the-office days where your company invites remote workers quarterly for meetings, presentations, and holiday parties. Bringing in remote workers a few times a year allows companies to gather all (remote and in-house) employees, review quarterly strategies, and hype up employees about new initiatives. Your remote employees won’t feel as if they’re missing out on important team bonding moments.
While working remote has its perks like uninterrupted work time and not having to get dressed up, it also has disadvantages like feeling out of the loop and isolation. Unfortunately, discussions and idea creation can happen in the breakroom or during a sideline conversion station that can cause remote workers to feel their input or work isn’t valued because they aren’t in initial conversations or meetings. Although your remote workers aren’t technically in the office, there is technology available to make them feel more in touch with their coworkers.
Look into implementing collaborative technology like Google Docs and Slack to work with remote workers in real time. If a project deadline gets moved up remote workers can be notified immediately and quickly jump in and help with whatever tasks are needed. Tools like Zoom, a video conferencing platform, can lead to more productive meetings because all team members are a part of the session and feel involved in project development.
A Healthy Culture Equals Happy Employees
Don’t lose valuable workers (remote or in-house) because you didn’t invest in building a culture for your employees. You’ll regret not putting your employees as a priority as you start to see high turnover and unengaged workers. Now is the time to start developing a culture for your remote workers, so you don’t run the risk of valuable employees leaving the company. With the implementation of collaborative technology, personalized communication, and in-the-office workdays, your offsite employees will perform better in their roles and enjoy the work they do, even if they aren’t in the office.
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