One of the biggest trends of the last year is the rise of remote work. Not only has virtually every white-collar worker had a taste of remote work, but they’ve also had an immediate contrast to remote work with working in an office. While many people have found that they prefer remote work, many also miss the socialization and camaraderie that comes with working in an office. The reason they miss this is not because it inherently cannot exist in a remote work environment. It is because most virtual teams did not transition their company culture to their remote work environment.
This has caused numerous problems, including an increase in loneliness, a rise in employee burnout, and much more. If company culture is what is happening when the boss is not in the room, then with remote work, the boss is, virtually speaking, never in the room. Many team managers have taken a more passive approach to company culture since transitioning to remote work, which has had disastrous results on employee happiness, productivity, and revenue generation.
One area where employers and team managers can have a big impact is in beefing up their remote work culture. The culture of a virtual team is something that needs to be expanded organically. It needs to make employees feel positive about the place that they work, and not unstable about demands and expectations during this unprecedented time.
For one, employers of remote workers should invest in employee recognition programs. This can allow you to set up custom recognition occasions that align with your company’s core values. Given the increasing uncertainty of the state of the world, employees will love the opportunity to be recognized for their achievements and their commitments to company values. Not only does this make people feel good about their work performance, but it can help a lot in a time where in person interaction is limited.
In addition to this, a great company culture for a virtual team should emphasize shared goals. By treating a virtual team as a team, and not just a top-down hierarchy, employees will feel that they are contributing toward a sense of shared identity. This gets to the deeply human need at the heart of any business to contribute toward something greater than yourself and focus on a shared sense of accomplishment. While this is difficult to replicate in a remote environment, it is far from impossible. Check in with employees on both an individual and team basis and set up regular meetings to not just cover business topics but also to connect and give employees a sense of purpose.
While promoting a positive company culture within a virtual team might seem extremely difficult, it is very achievable if you focus on it holistically. Tying business goals to KPIs such as employee happiness or well-being can really put things in perspective and make sure that a business is contributing to its employees living during this time as opposed to making them more difficult. By focusing on the human values that connect us and not purely revenue goals, businesses can actually increase their productivity and revenue by instilling employee loyalty and motivation. This will make employees feel that they should go the extra mile not just for the company at large but the team that they work for.