The pandemic has lasted longer than many of us expected, and it’s time to think long-term about how to keep your team happy when working remotely. While we can hope for a medical miracle to allow normal life to resume as soon as possible, it’s also a good idea to work on your company culture during this time. After all, happy employees lead to a happy company, so maintaining a healthy and supportive company culture is necessary, especially when employee stress levels are higher than usual.
This article covers our tips for keeping company culture alive when working remotely.
Bring the whole company together (virtually)
One of the biggest concerns during the pandemic has been loneliness. If you’re used to the buzz of the office, chatting with colleagues during your coffee break, it can be a stark contrast when you suddenly have to sit working at your dining room table all day - on your own. Make an effort to bring your whole company together virtually on a regular basis, whether it’s a weekly catch up or Friday drinks, or a monthly event like a quiz. Encourage employees to share what they’re working on with their colleagues, so everyone feels connected to the wider company, not just their immediate team.
Employees are happiest when their hard work and achievements are recognised. In times of uncertainty, when your staff might be grappling with feelings of anxiety and sadness, small compliments go a long way. Celebrate both the big and small wins of your team - whether someone hits a major business milestone, or receives a satisfied email from a loyal customer. This culture of encouragement helps employees feel motivated and good about the work that they’re doing. Create a Whatsapp group or Slack channel dedicated to sharing wins, and consider small competitions within teams to add an extra element of fun.
The celebrations and wins don’t need to be strictly work-related, either. Has someone managed to teach their puppy a new trick? Maybe a manager has just completed their 5k run in record time. Celebrate it all! Funny stories, photos of pets or babies, or even just relatable snaps of your desk can help boost morale in difficult times.
Get regular feedback
It’s important to remember that everybody’s work-from-home situation looks slightly different. Some people might have space for a home office, while others will live with roommates or small children who make business calls tricky. Get feedback from your employees as to how they’re coping, and see if there’s anything additional you can do to make their working life a little easier. Regular Zoom meetings between managers and their team go a long way.
Feedback is especially critical in situations we haven’t faced before. Find out which types of virtual activities your employees most enjoy, and whether they have any ideas for improving your working relationship from afar. Sending out regular (anonymous) surveys is a good way to do this, to ensure all ideas and opinions are heard.
Encourage employees to stay healthy
Healthy employees are happy employees. If you want your employees to thrive, and your company culture to be kept alive when working remotely, it’s important that your team stays healthy. If you’ve got the budget available, consider providing employees with a desk chair and monitor to keep back pain at bay. Encourage regular screen breaks and walks in the fresh air, and let employees know it’s especially important to take care of themselves at this time. Even better, make it a company-wide endeavour. Many businesses have experimented with virtual sports groups, yoga and Zumba classes, which are social ways of staying healthy.
At the end of the day, managers and their teams are figuring out how best to maintain company culture under difficult circumstances. Mistakes will be made, and it’s impossible to get everything right the first time. What matters most of all is creating a company culture in which employees feel able to provide honest feedback about what’s working - and about what could be going better.
Company culture is a key not only to make your existing employees motivated but also to attract new talent. Take a look at our "Guide to employer branding during a global pandemic" to learn what employer branding is as well as how it can be improved even in times of pandemic.