Culture and productivity can both win with the right steps in place.
The last three years have revealed a new way of working – a decentralised workforce that spends more time working from home. Savvy commercial property owners and managers anticipated this move and planned for it. First there were hot seats, and then shared desk spaces popped up. Many company owners were skeptical whether this would have a positive effect on productivity and drive, and not all companies took to this new way of working.
But then Covid-19 hit and spread across the world – dramatically affecting everybody’s workplace, small to large sized and everything in between. The choice of whether to work in the office or from home wasn’t a choice – working from home was the only option if you wanted to keep your business running and wanted to keep your job.
Home office desks and laptops sold like hot cakes right around the country, as everyone scrambled to find a way to hang on to their jobs and keep on working from their residential address, and companies tried to keep on operating. And companies swallowed any pride and relinquished control over their staff, accepting they needed to trust their staff’s commitment to the company and respect their independency.
Meanwhile, staff crossed their fingers optimistically and hoped they could work from home the best way they could, around home schooling and partners also trying to set up an office space at home.
Not only was technology put to the test, but company culture was, too. The legal responsibility of what this meant and what type of leadership was required to keep everyone in synch, dedicated and supported became hugely important and put to the test.
Ideas to create a positive home working environment for your team.
Here are some steps worth considering and sharing with your team to create a viable new remote working environment.
Step 1. Make sure employees have everything they need to work remotely. Essential business needs include a reliable internet connection, a dedicated space for working including a chair and desk, and then the smaller but vital items like a phone, computer, printer, router and office supplies.
Step 2. Establish your remote work policies, expectations and guidelines within the areas of communication and collaboration, virtual meetings, scheduling, and holidays and time off.
Step 3. Communicate these policies, expectations and guidelines, and ask for any feedback and questions to promote a collaborate way of working.
Step 4. Create a remote culture statement to inspire, drive and connect the team.
Step 5. Build an events calendar with easy online access.
Step 6. Start a mentorship program or buddy system for the additional support remote working could need.
Step 7. Establish some unique traditions that are specific to your company in this new way of working – like Monday morning zoom catch-ups, or sharing little stories or photos from the weekend so people still feel a personal connection to their wider team.
Step 8. Integrate remote culture principles into other areas of your business that might need it, for consistency such as customer service.
Step 9. Help your employees establish individualised remote growth and development plans so that they feel like their career paths are still on track.