Guest Blog by Pratik Salia
A company's work culture is composed of its value systems, goals, vision, and growth plan for new recruits. Company culture is not built in a short timeframe. It takes years of effort by owners and senior management to attract the best talent. But, when working remotely, integrating remote workers into the mainstream is a difficult task.
Remote workers typically work in different geographical locations, from different countries, with different value systems and different cultural backgrounds. Adapting them into the company culture is a daunting task for HR managers.
Need for Remote Work Culture
Work from home culture was prevalent many years ago but was limited to a very small number of IT firms where onsite working was not mandatory. But with the onset of the current pandemic, many companies suffered heavy losses, and some were on the verge of closure. With the lessening pandemic restrictions and restarting of commercial and manufacturing activities, companies have started to reopen.
But now, because the market is not price-dominated, it is cost-dominated; the only way to survive the market is to minimize operational costs. The best option is to convert most operations to working remotely, where onsite presence is not mandatory. This approach has multiple benefits. It promises reduced rent for office buildings, reduced logistical costs, reduced IS/IT costs for the employer, etc.
Working remotely gives them a break from daily commuting, a better work-life balance, and flexible work schedules for the employees. So, in many instances, working remotely has become a win-win situation. Both employers and employees stand to gain from this new normal.
How to Build a Remote Work Culture
To understand how management can build an effective work from home (WFH) culture for their teams, the following points should be considered:
Properly communicate the company's goals and vision.
Creating a work culture for remote employees is a difficult task for senior management. To make working remotely more productive, the company should have clear-cut and well-defined policies. Be clear on the expectations from remote workers, be transparent concerning the level of infringement on employee's privacy, and most importantly, ensure these guidelines have been read and understood. As leaders, we should always remember that unless or until remote workers feel they are part of the organization, their productivity will not be at its peak.
Provide training to remote workers
Continuous upgrading of skills ensures the continuity of employment, innovation, and retooling. Management should provide ample opportunities for learning in the form of LMS or online training, which can be accessed at any time with flexibility, without interfering with their work.
For employees who may not be advancing or underperforming, HR can identify the areas needing improvement and how to address them through appropriate training. While on-boarding new team members, training is essential to become operational and productive as soon as possible.
Host meetings to keep in touch with remote workers
To have an effective remote work culture, it is important to have weekly face-to-face meetings. It boosts their motivation level as it helps them to feel like part of the company. They will work with the dedication necessary, and it will help to retain the best talent. Retention is higher when employees feel a sense of belonging within their organization and are in sync with other employees. With these interactions, managers can build a better connection and develop trust with their remote employees.
The lack of interaction during these times can cause isolation and loneliness among the remote workers. They often feel left out or that they lack visibility. This may become an obstacle between the employee and their managers. Because of this, they often feel the need to prove to others that they are productive.
Therefore, a simple gesture to recognize and appreciate every employee's efforts through video conferencing or a simple email goes a long way. This encourages them and acknowledges that their efforts are appreciated and beneficial to the company.
Provide effective feedback
To give effective feedback to remote workers and leverage technology, employers can use AI-driven employee monitoring platforms, which allow companies to keep track of their remote workforce. With the help of such a platform, managers can keep tabs on their remote workers' activities during work hours. With this type of monitoring, managers can give proper feedback to their remote workforce.
While giving feedback, it is crucial that the managers give regular, specific constructive feedback to let the remote workers know their performance and what is expected from them. According to a survey done by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, about 92% of subjects
agreed that constructive feedback is much more effective in improving performance. (Source)
Encourage employee well-being
When workers are remote, i.e., they might start to feel lonely, anxious, or even stressed out over little tasks without any physical interaction. In this case, management can make sure their remote employees can stay socially connected virtually. Management can also help monitor their workloads to prevent burnout.
Management can also help their remote workforce by creating a team wellness program or having social/informal events virtually, which can help the worker relax throughout the day.
With the current scenario, the technological advancements in Artificial Intelligence and its increasing use at an exponential rate everywhere, leveraging working remotely to minimize operational expenses and increase profitability will continue for the foreseeable future. Presently, this is one of the best options available to ensure the continuity of operations of an organization. Given this outlook, it would be beneficial for both employers and employees to embrace it gracefully.
About The Author:
Experienced professional with a demonstrated history of working in startups & conglomerates. Skilled in Operations, E-commerce, Customer Experience, ABM Marketing, B2B Marketing, B2B Brand Positioning, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Market Research, and Management. https://www.linkedin.com/in/pratiksalia/
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