Whether remote or in-person, leaders who recognize and prioritize the collective needs of their workforce will separate themselves from their competitors.
This article originally appeared in BenefitsPRO
By: Elizabeth Brockey, Chief Customer Officer at Simpli.fi
Before 2020, people used to covet the opportunity to work from home so they could eliminate their commute, wear comfortable clothing, and set up a convenient workstation. When the majority of companies began remote work at the onset of the pandemic, there was a slight sense of optimism amongst employees that these perks would be permanent for the foreseeable future. However, without the physical office tying team members together, company culture was inadvertently undermined.
Many companies lost the ability to sustain what made their organization different once their employees began working remotely, causing a shift in employee satisfaction. As we head into 2021, it is more vital than ever for companies to reevaluate their plans to enliven their company cultures as a way to retain talent.
Beginning of quarantine to now, what happened?
When companies first made the shift to working remotely, there was an immediate effort set forth to maintain a sense of normalcy. Companies deployed a wide variety of tactics to keep employees engaged with one another. They organized virtual happy hours, put an emphasis on video calls over phone calls, and increased the amount of touch base calls, among other activities.
However, as employees grew more accustomed to their new environments, many began to lose interest in planned company activities.
Although there are COVID-19 vaccines on the way, remote work continues for many companies. Some have even transitioned to a permanent remote structure. Therefore, for the near future, it is imperative that all businesses create a plan that focuses on these new work styles.
Companies that are able to help their teams continue these working arrangements while maintaining meaningful and personal relationships will be in the best position to succeed moving forward.
What can employers do?
The first major step an organization can take is identifying what made their company different before the pandemic. Then, leaders must determine how they can continue to highlight those characteristics in the new working environment.
Sharing accomplishments or milestones of team members, for example, is a sure-fire way to bolster engagement among coworkers. Finding ways to recreate similar interactions between colleagues, once in-person and now in a virtual fashion, is another key to promoting company culture.
Companies can maintain culture through a variety of methods. It can be as simple as keeping a Zoom channel open for team members to virtually eat lunch together or taking a brain break to play trivia with the team to keep everyone connected and bring some fun into the work day.
Setting up office-wide wellness challenges is a more intricate way to strengthen culture. All of these show each and every person in a company that they are important and appreciated, which goes a long way.
With different teams within an organization working in different silos, providing a way for coworkers to interact who would usually see one another in-person at the office but are unable to in a virtual environment is another opportunity for companies to consider. Finding individual ways to make sure the most appreciated aspects of a physical workspace are translated into remote arrangements is critical to maintaining company culture.
Impact on employees and clients
Creating a connected and satisfied workforce will lead to better results with clients as well as an achievable mission statement for an organization. Team members within an organization must understand that they are the key to success, and that optimal results begin with them.
People work on an emotional bank account, and the deposits of positive reinforcements – demonstrated care by a manager, celebrated successes, and positive communication with other team members – must outweigh the negative aspects of their day to day lives.
While workers may feel isolated or alone while working from home, managers and companies that show a genuine interest in their well-being will create a self-sustaining company culture.
Even with the possibility that remote work will come to an end in the future, these past months have been an eye-opening experience for companies to truly understand what drives their company culture. Whether remote or in-person, leaders who recognize and prioritize the collective needs of their workforce will separate themselves from their competitors. While there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to maintaining the desired company culture, each organization has the workflow, communications systems, and abilities to craft a culture that makes employees proud to be a part of.
Reprinted with permission from the January 22 online edition of BenefitsPRO © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited, contact 877-256-2472 or firstname.lastname@example.org.