Let’s say you’ve decided to create either a hybrid or an all-remote work environment for your business. One of the challenges is to keep workers connected and engaged. You may think that remote employees don’t perform at the same level as they would in a traditional office.
The fact that many organizations have established positive cultures with all-remote and hybrid workforces proves these worries wrong. An example of a successful business, You Need a Budget (YNAB), has an all-remote workforce.
Start With Employees
Start by taking the time to learn what your employees really want. “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person, not just as an employee, are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled,” said Anne M. Mulcahy, CEO of Xerox. “Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability”(Employers Resource).
According to the Harvard Business Review, the following items on employees’ “wish-list” will become trends in the coming year(s):
- Fairness and equity, treating all employees on equal terms
- Shorter work weeks
- More flexibility in location such as work from home and flexible schedules
- Expanded wellness programs for physical, mental, emotional, and financial health
- Workspaces that offer the ability to stand or move while working
Technology Helps … But Has Limitations
In recent years, new and improved technologies have enabled employees to collaborate more effectively from any location. Some of the most popular technologies, according to Recruitment.com, include cloud computing tools like Google Cloud Platform, team communication tools like Slack, virtual training solutinons like Jigsaw Interactive, and project management tools such as Trello.
But technology alone cannot improve company culture. We spoke to Ron Vassallo, CEO of a marketing communications firm called Kaptivate. The company has a brick-and-mortar office in Alexandria, VA, but the majority of their employees work from locations throughout the country. “While good collaborative software, like Slack, fosters efficient coordination of teams, technology does not preserve the culture … of a business,” Vassallo said. “For that, we still need a compelling vision that fuels everyone and values that guide us. We also need rituals, even corny celebrations or icebreaker contests to begin staff meetings, because they moor the corporate culture to our human need for social connection.”
Don’t Forget Virtual Training/Onboarding
Among the arsenal of tools employers should consider for remote and hybrid work are those that help them to onboard and train employees. Jigsaw Interactive is a robust platform companies should add to their list of tools to ensure employees understand their mission, values, and practices. Jigsaw’s solutions are designed to vastly improve learner engagement during virtual, instructor-led training (VILT). Remember, trainee engagement is proven to improve knowledge retention, especially when coupled with team-based learning (TBL).
Having a strong company culture is vital to any organization, whether employees work on site, remotely, or in a hybrid model. Remote and hybrid work environments can make it hard to create and maintain a great culture. Employers can overcome these challenges with the right technology and a focus on the purpose, values, benefits, and activities that improve worker engagement and satisfaction.