Recent global events have been a catalyst for change in the workplace. Businesses far and wide, of all shapes and sizes have been forced to embrace remote working and adapt their operations to fit a remote team culture.
But creating and maintaining a company culture with remote employees can be difficult. Some struggle with not seeing their coworkers face-to-face, and for others, they might feel less engaged with their fellow team members when video calling.
There can be no doubt that remote or hybrid work is here to stay, with an estimated 98% of workers saying they would choose to work remotely, at least part-time, for the rest of their careers.
With that in mind, we've got 5 tips to help you maintain a company culture and keep team morale high, including the simple solution of hot desking. Let’s look at each of them in more detail.
1. Show faith in your employees
When employers are asked why they didn’t move to, or consider, remote working sooner, it often boils down to one word: Trust. Employers have long felt they can’t trust their employees to work remotely, with recent events acting as a large beta test to build trust.
One of the best ways you can maintain a positive company culture with remote employees is to give them the space to do their best work, in whatever manner that suits them.
Many studies have shown that employees who feel trusted are more productive and motivated in their job. 57% of remote workers think they are more productive when they work from home. So, instead of micro-managing, show faith and confidence in your employees by giving them the freedom to set their own schedules and work in a way that best suits them.
Another way in which you can show faith lies in the return to the office. If your business plans to offer staff the option to work in the office, it’s important to give them the freedom to choose what works for them. For some, that might mean returning to the office full-time or with a hybrid working approach with the ability to hot desk. In any case, it’s important that your staff don’t feel pressured to return to an office building.
2. Provide flexibility and work-life balance
“Work-life balance” is a phrase that is often used, but misunderstood. Getting that balance right looks different from one person to another, but finding that balance is two-sided. It’s about the employee finding a balance that suits them, but it’s also about the employer respecting that.
Connected with the previous point is providing flexibility to your employees. This doesn’t just mean giving them space to work; remote working gives employees flexibility with their working hours, giving them another way to maintain a good work-life balance.
This flexibility means your employees have the power to make adjustments to work more happily. For example, working parents can shift their hours around the school run, and gym goers can plan their meetings around their workouts, and so on.
3. Don’t forget about mental health
This has become a hot topic in recent years, and with the rise in remote working, it’s become ever more important to monitor employee wellbeing and mental health.
In addition to paying close attention to employee work-life balance, employers must do more to promote positive mental health of their employees. Adjusting to remote working has been a stark change, and a challenge for many people, and those who are working remotely might experience mental health issues such as loneliness, burnout, missing daily face-to-face interactions and more.
There are many ways that employers can make supporting mental health a core part of their company culture. Being attentive and listening to the needs and feelings of your employees is a great place to start, and providing a safe space for them to do so.
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and training team members to be Mental Health First Aiders can also help reinforce a culture of caring and empathy. Many employers are also beginning to implement “mental health days”, where employees can take a day off to rest and relax when they feel they need time to charge, which have been widely well received.
4. Provide a safe environment with hot desking
In the rush to switch to remote working, working conditions for your employees can often be overlooked. Some employees might not have a dedicated desk space and instead opt to work at the dining table, or worse, the ironing board!
It’s important to make sure your employees have a safe working environment when working remotely. That means making performing risk assessments and equipment audits part of your company culture, and providing equipment as and when necessary.
Similarly, if you choose to reopen your office and provide a hybrid working model, it’s even more important here that you provide a safe environment for your employees.
In relation to the previous point about mental health, apps like Clearooms mean you can help alleviate potential employee anxiety by allowing them to see your office is a safe space. By using the hot desk management feature, you can provide reassurances that they will be entering a socially distanced workspace, and in turn make them feel supported in these changing times, thus helping maintain high morale.
5. Improve communication
Communication is often a barrier in remote working environments. With employees working from a multitude of locations, it’s easy for messages and jobs to fall through the cracks.
It’s vital that everyone is kept informed, and to do this, it’s important to establish communication norms, be it chat best practices, email etiquette, response times, and more. Setting these standards helps remove communication barriers, interruptions and helps make communication easier.
Another way to improve communication is to be open, honest and transparent with your employees. This helps build and foster trust, and remove any problems such as rumours that can arise from employees feeling like something is being hidden from them. Not only that, being honest with your team can generate a lot of positivity in both the short term and the long term.
Camaraderie is a part of office life that gets overlooked with remote workers. The banter that is often associated with the office floor or water cooler isn’t possible when your team is working elsewhere, so it's important to use your improved communication to keep this camaraderie alive. This might take the form of fun-themed Slack channels, virtual socials or lunch break wellness activities.
How would you rate your remote company culture?
As we said at the start, maintaining a company culture with remote employees can seem hard at first, but in reality, it simply involves making small changes to your existing culture so that it’s a fit with the times, whether it be introducing hot desking or be open with conversations about mental health.
Whether you have plans to switch to permanent remote working, or plan to offer a hybrid model, the working week will certainly look different for employees of the future. Chat to Clearooms about how you can implement a hybrid working model or hot desk booking, that keeps your employees happy and safe.