Fostering an ideal company culture is no more defined by fun moments, great snacks, or foosball tables.
Building a strong connection with the team requires apt planning and proper execution of the same. This might not seem such a humongous task for the Human Resource Department! However, if you take the entire company virtual, then there will be a thing or two to worry about.
Remote working is not really the birth child of 2020’s pandemic, but it sure came into the limelight for the pandemic itself.
Taking team meets inside conference halls, conducting HR activities with the entire workforce or enjoying banters during tiffin breaks have become a thing of the past. The ongoing social distancing protocols have distanced team members from one another and disrupted their communication channels.
Besides the innumerable challenges, remote working can impact employees psychologically as well!
It surely challenges the management and increases the workload of the departments too! And, like any other system, distant working has its own sets of pros and cons.
Let’s see how we can address the cons, work around the pros, and successfully implement the remote work culture during the ‘new-normal phase.
Step#1: Create a Perfect Work-Life Balance
Employees are no more in a position to punch in their entry-exit hours.
So, tracking the hours of productivity by each employee should be the first reason for concern for the Human Resource department.
Hence, there should be a proper system in place for employees to clock their work hours before the process shifts online.
It is not hard to achieve the same, but it can raise many doubts in the employees’ minds.
Pros: Without a doubt, such a process will benefit employees more! They will be able to save a lot of time from commuting to and fro and major chunks of their salary.
That minimizes travel fatigue too! Employees will remain productive during their entire shift and find enough time to spare for their families as well.
Cons: But, the fact that employees are available all the time can make matters worse for them too!
More often than not, employees complain about companies expecting them to be at service 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Such a culture should be avoided at all costs. Overtiring your employees will generate a billion-figure profit. On the contrary, your company might struggle with increased employee turnover.
Step#2: Expand Your Talent Horizon
Recruiting new employees might seem like an impossible task during social distancing. Getting negligible walk-ins can worry the HRM department.
But does it even really matter?
We are living in a digital world where hiring and recruiting can become the easiest task of all. Why?
Most employees prefer attending interviews via Zoom or Google Meet.
Today’s fast-paced work-life doesn’t provide us the time-bandwidth to travel to the company’s physical location, sit and wait for hours, and then sit for another couple of hours facing multiple rounds of interviews.
Who does have that much spare time?
Moreover, physical interviews limit your horizon, and your company ends up losing potential talents living in other cities or time zones.
Arranging job interviews via Zoom or other video conferencing applications is no more a challenge today. HRs can easily arrange for the same.
Pros: Undoubtedly, this point benefits both the employer and the future employees. The former can hire talents who live in other cities or countries easily.
On the other hand, employees can easily attend their interviews during work hours, especially when working from their homes.
No more excuses allowed then!
Step#3: Make a Habit of Introducing New Employees
Again, onboarding new employees to the new culture can be a painstaking process. But, it gets all the more challenging if work takes place remotely.
There are ways to make onboarding fun and an engaging experience. And that should be the focus too! This is because the first couple of days can be quite overwhelming for the newcomers.
This can be done by sharing a circular about the new joiners in the office group and encouraging existing employees to extend warm words of welcome to them as well. Also, a formal meeting can be arranged virtually to call out the introductions.
As an employer, you should encourage the new employees to have one-on-one meetings with as many team members and others in the company as possible. Such meetings can work as icebreakers and teach the new hires about the company culture.
Finally, the team lead should allocate small, small tasks to them each day for the first week to quickly pick up the ropes.
Pros: Such an arrangement works best in not only breaking the ice between the existing employees and the new ones, but it also helps the latter in picking things faster.
Cons: The sense of belonging to a team might take a long time to build.
Step#4: Keep the Communication Channel Active
Given the above con, this point is really important.
In remote working, communication can be a challenging thing to handle, especially for new hires. The latter didn’t get a chance to meet their immediate members physically. And, introductory sessions in virtual meets can be confusing too!
So many faces and so many names! It might take them weeks to understand who is who.
Here, team leads and managers have an important role to play. But, first, they should arrange meetings with the team members and stay in touch with them regularly. And that’s achievable remotely too!
We have messengers like Slack and video rooms like Zoom and Google Meet.
Use these technologies to foster a culture of belongingness in the workplace and keep the communication channels open.
It’s understood that you don’t have the leverage to walk upto the person and have a one-on-one conversation instantly. But, instantly, you can arrange for a quick call either over the phone or video application. Even better, message him in the Messenger.
Pros: Obviously, it keeps the employees and employers well-informed and well-connected.
Cons: You might find the concerned person busy or not responding just when you need his/her opinion. That’s possible even while working in the same office space. But, here, chances remain the other person might not even see your message.
So, there should be others available to guide you through your task.
Step#5: Keep Your Employees Engaged
Again, the previous con brings us to the last but not the least important factor – how to keep your employees engaged.
Employee engagement does not fall under the human resource’s KRA. It should be a common responsibility for all.
Managers and team leads should conduct regular team meetings to stay connected with the members, understand their challenges, and guide them accordingly.
Since remote working prevents employees from connecting personally, regular team meetings can create a ‘sense of belongingness’ in them to a certain extent. Moreover, even such meetings help new hires learn whom to approach in their team if they feel stuck while performing the allocated tasks.
Again, when social interaction is off the charts, interactive sessions with the team members can lighten the mood and build the much-needed trust and connection that should exist between members of the same team.
Likewise, HRs should organise fun activities now and then for employee engagement and bridge the gap between different teams.
Pros – Observing such a culture will make ‘work-from-home akin to ‘work-from-office.’
Cons: There are none!
The bottomline is…
Such a culture can benefit employees immensely, and they would love to be a part of it. Moreover, given the freedom of time and place to work, employees will enhance their productivity and upgrade their skills with the available time bandwidth.
But, such a culture can benefit employers and the company too! For once, operational costs won’t be a hindrance during the initial years of growth. Instead, companies can invest that money to arrange a proper working system for the employees, like arranging for Laptops and helping with Network connectivity if needed.
This culture is here to stay as more and more companies taste the fruits of it.
Therefore, maintaining a healthier environment for the parties concerned will work, else none will!
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