Posted: Wed 30th Mar 2022
The world is working remotely in a way that was unimaginable before the pandemic. Workers are getting used to the benefits and downsides of this change, with many reluctant to return to full-time office work.
As a business leader, you may be reluctant too, having seen how well your team works remotely and how you can save on office rent, utility bills, and supplies.
Yet making a success of remote working means making fundamental adjustments to your digital workplace culture, addressing pain points as we transition to this new method of work. Here’s how you’ll do it.
The culture of an office space is difficult to replicate online. There is no remote water-cooler or digital café that you’ll go to together at lunchtime. The online space is not ideal for chance meetings, desk drop-by chats, or a smile over the computer monitor.
Business journals have recognised this, advising firms to create a new culture based on a new set of core values that accounts for this lack of casual in-person interaction. Making space for casual digital conversation is a must –including virtual coffee dates, conference break-out rooms, and periods in the day that workers are expected to chat, not work.
These measures rely on effective internal communications.
That’s not just a case of using Slack, Teams, Zoom or other digital communication platforms designed for workplaces. It’s also a case of changing how you issue communications to your team.
Bite-sized messages, which help direct your team towards new goals, can help keep workers on the same page despite the fact they’re working remotely. You need to be able to communicate centrally with your staff so that new cultural ideas are transmitted effectively.
Yet it’s not just day-to-day, practical comms that you must replicate in the online working world. Employee rewards need to move online, as do employee recognition programmes that traditionally relied on in-person thank-yous or service awards.
One of the downsides that most workers are reckoning with in the remote working age is that it can result in extra costs.
Employees have had to slowly spend money on office furniture for their homes. Some have had to buy a new laptop or monitor. Without the cash to invest in an effective home office, some workers are struggling with the kitchen table, despite the distractions and inconveniences that presents.
A way to solve this issue is to give your workers personal stipends that they can spend on their new home office.
Much of this boils down to how your HR team will handle a move to online working.
It’s they who will first hear of issues from remote workers and who have the responsibility of steering your company into an effective, compassionate set-up for remote work.
Give your HR team the ability to monitor employee wellbeing and make meaningful changes based on the feedback they get from your staff. That way, you’ll continue making the transition to remote work a success.
This is the key moment for your HR staff, as the policies they enact today will have a long-lasting influence over the success of your shift to remote work.
Make remote working systems work for you with the advice shared above –designed for business leaders with a will to help employees settle into this new normal.