As much of the business world continues to make the shift toward remote only work, building and maintaining a positive, productive company culture has never been more important. What used to come naturally in-person, must now be converted to teleconferencing, chat and email.
At Lone Rock Point, we’re well versed in the ways of working remotely as a fully distributed workforce. In this post, we’ll share some things we’ve learned along the way as well as examine recent research regarding remote working and offer 8 ways to help your company adapt to the times.
How has remote working evolved since 2020 alone?
Currently, most research around the remote workforce evolution relates to the pandemic. All of our lives were touched when the workforce was forced to adapt to avoid the spread of COVID and most people discovered the benefits from working remotely far outweigh the benefits to being in an office.
Recent studies have confirmed remote work is a longer-trend movement and has led to increasing resignations, i.e. the Great Resignation by workers who would rather seek out a remote position than go back to the office.
According to Global Workplace Analytics in partnership with Owl Labs, the number of people who work from home increased by 140% for the period between 2005 and pre-Covid 2020. Of those that worked from home during the pandemic, 56% would quit or look for a new job that offered flexibility in when they work if they were not able to work remotely going forward.An Upwork study of 1,500 managers, predicted 22% of the American workforce will work remotely by 2025. This equates to 36.2 million people, representing an 87% increase from pre-pandemic levels.
Less time on the road leads to happiness
While there is disagreement on how effective remote working is at saving time, there is no denying most employees are happy avoiding their commute to the office. Upwork says remote working saves 51 minutes a day.
There is also an environmental impact, with the U.S. Census Bureau stating that 86% of commuters drive a private vehicle to and from work. So, by removing the daily commute, remote working lowers greenhouse gas emissions.
The U.S. EPA estimates suggest transportation causes 27% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
Research shows that remote work is here to stay. Given the shift in how we work, how can employers offer the benefits while managing their concerns and maintain a productive work environment. Here are a few concerns we’ve heard from owners and managers over the years when we share we’re a remote work company.
So, how do I build a culture without seeing my colleagues in person?
Maintaining company culture is always a work in progress whether remote or in-office. A study by PwC showed that 68% of respondents believe employees should attend the office three times a week to maintain company culture. With remote work here to stay, it is vital businesses create better ways of working. Good company culture is essential in attracting suitable candidates and retaining the best employees.
In our experience, this response underestimates what creates a company culture. It’s not all about face-to-face interaction.
Develop an authentic social media presence that showcases a personal side of remote working
Demonstrate confidence in your employee’s ability to maintain productivity and showcase your company culture by featuring the work/life balance of your employees on social media channels. Let your employees tell their stories about working from home, what makes your company great to work for, and the benefits, and even pitfalls, of remote work.
Assuming workers are comfortable sharing their lives openly, this can show the lighter side of working for your business and help your workers feel connected to one another. Get started by:
- Allowing employees to manage the company social media account for a spell, guiding viewers through their standard working day a la Tik Tok or Instagram
- Share anything quirky or out of the ordinary for an expected workplace
- Have a pet day, trading stories throughout the day on social media of employee pets keeping your workers company
- Find a fun and harmless TikTok challenge to do together via the company account
If you showcase the lighter side of your workplace, emphasizing your fun side, many will enjoy working with you and it can help attract talent.
Develop a schedule to meet regularly
Remote working offers greater freedom, but can make it more difficult to maintain team unity. Schedule open office hours or a regular weekly team meeting for people to catch up. Using video for face to face time is critical for morale, productivity, and engagement.
When employees engage with one another and help each other solve problems, they have greater empathy for each other’s challenges. By sharing thoughts and problems as a team, problem solving becomes more effective.
Arrange meetings where work isn’t on the agenda
During those regular meetings, formalizing a time for people to relax and catch up with colleagues will be the start of a culture of friendship and recognition. When people feel part of something, they are far more likely to be happier and productive. Employees that open up to one another and share their interests, hobbies will build a better environment with a desire to interact and solve problems together.
It might sound counterintuitive, but by reducing available work time, you can actually improve output and productivity.
Establish trust, leave micromanagement in the dust
Micromanaging in an office is hard enough, but it’s nearly impossible with remote work. Micromanagement is an expression of distrust in the work that your employees are doing. It isn’t effective for you or for them. Employees are hired to fulfill often a full time need, as managers, we can’t both oversee their work to a minute’s detail while being effective in our own work.
As a manager, I’ve found that enabling employees with trust, support and guidance leads to growth within our team with the added benefits of better, more thoughtful solutions to client challenges and more productivity.
Take the opportunity to reward and acknowledge positive contributions
It’s always good to praise hard work and positive contributions, remote or in-office. In an office setting, delivering praise in passing is easy.
Remotely, there are fewer opportunities to offer praise, but make a point to highlight good work of your employees in a video call or by email, or group message, taking the time has a massive positive impact on team and individual morale.
Employees like recognition for good or hard work, for themselves and colleagues. It is also human nature to want to receive a similar level of praise. Creating a working environment where praise is commonplace is of benefit, making a more hospitable place to work.
Developing an inclusive and safe environment where radical transparency thrives
A significant issue with remote working is many employees feel isolated and unaware of what other departments are working on. A solution is developing radical transparency in the workplace and an environment where honesty and openness thrive.
Not everyone appreciates the frank nature of radical transparency, which can sometimes be overwhelming. When the company’s goals, performances, finances and strategy are available to all, it’s empowering to employees which will motivate them and encourage better work.
In the right environment and mindset, radical transparency gets the best from workers and ensures everyone is on the same page.
It is vital to use communication platforms and software effectively
The rise of software and communication channels makes remote work compelling, but you must manage it correctly. Some tips include:
- Using one platform for one medium – so choose a single video conference platform, choose one messaging platform, select a single calendar
- Create groups for specific messages to reach selected people and general groups for company-wide information and chat
- Encourage employees to be available during standard working hours, to encourage flexibility in one another, and to respect each other’s availability signals such as away/offline settings, notification pauses and status messages.
Why look to Lone Rock Point?
Lone Rock Point is a remote-only company. We share your challenges with remote work environments and we know the solutions which work for our clients and us. If you would like to discuss consultancy opportunities on how you can best strengthen your company culture, reach out to us online; and we’ll be happy to help.