Corporate culture has the power to shape the experiences of employees, team members, and the people associated with a particular business. It can inspire collaborative teamwork, and elicit a workplace camaraderie that pushes everyone to thrive. In my own experiences, I have found that this type of workplace atmosphere brings out the best in co-workers, and makes a job more meaningful. As a leader in business, I have attempted to always cultivate a healthy workplace camaraderie and culture.
Now, as the world professional world continues to navigate the vast prevalence of a work-from-home environment, this spirit and culture can feel somewhat lost. Without a physical presence and an office to fuel the spirit of camaraderie and friendly competition, many companies are getting creative. Understanding the importance of a positive corporate culture, leaders like myself are proactively building the same spirit virtually. Below, I share my tips for championing your team in a remote workplace setting.
Set Benchmarks And Goals
For industries that rely on metrics, sales, or other measurable items to determine success, consider creating benchmarks and goals to inspire competition and camaraderie. You can use technology to track performance, and even create a playoffs-style bracket for various incentives. While employees work remotely, their performance is undoubtedly still measured in whatever capacity it can be performed. So, why not make it fun? Of course, you’ll have to incentivize the competition, adding a prize for winners that can range from simple bragging rights to a virtual gift card.
Consider taking this spirit of competition further, and invite coworkers to participate in health and wellness-focused virtual competitions. From encouraging peers to go on a socially distanced walk, to counting weight loss in a competitive fashion, these competitions will not only rouse virtual camaraderie, but they will also help to keep everyone personally motivated to focus on their wellness. As most professionals adapt to a virtual workplace, and navigate the complexities of a work-from-home environment, participating in proactive wellness activities encourages peers to recognize the importance of maintaining an appropriate work-life balance.
Host Virtual Happy Hours
If your office previously engaged in social activities intended on bonding, and out-of-office fun, create the digital version of happy hour on a weekly basis to mimic the bonding activities previously offered. Whether you hold a weekly BYOB virtual happy hour via Skype, or a communal game of virtual Scrabble, gathering up employees to partake in a game or bonding activity is a great way to maintain connectivity.
As professionals are still working to figure out an appropriate balance between working from home, educating children, taking care of elderly parents, and maintaining a household, you should be flexible in terms of participation. Proactively offer these bonding activities, but be considerate of employees who cannot participate.
Inclusion Is Key
In order to foster a positive corporate culture in any workplace or industry, all employees must feel involved in the daily operations of a business. Inclusion has always been the cornerstone of feeling involved and should be cared for in today’s remote workplace environment. Be aware that employees may be feeling proverbially out of the loop with eliminated in-office face time.
In my own experiences, I have found that the best way to avoid exclusion is to proactively ensure that all employees are on the same page. Rather than attacking this issue from a defensive position, it is much easier to merely ensure that the appropriate channels are implemented to ensure inclusion.
In the virtual workspace, inclusion should mean that all pertinent employees are made aware of ongoing situations, are armed with the tools for success, and are proactively kept in the loop about any changes. As the world evolves, guidelines change, and uncertainties arise, employees working from home may feel unstable in their footing. They may expect changes to be brought on rapidly, wondering if they will be expected to return to the office, change their hours, or evolve in any other capacity. Thus, to maintain a positive corporate culture virtually, make sure your staff is consistently made aware of any changes.
Set Up Communication Channels
Within many industries, collaboration between employees is pivotal to the success of various projects. In a virtual workspace, collaboration may be more difficult. While methods like email are standard, they may be too antiquated for projects that require real-time connectivity between team members.
Thus, to ensure that employees can maximize their efficiency, and work together seamlessly, consider setting up new communication channels. These real-time conversation platforms can successfully replicate in-office conversation and collaboration, and even allow team members to share screens, edit documents simultaneously, and share documents. Other tools allow various team members to chat in real-time, organizing conversations and messages based on projects. This ensures swift conversation, eliminating the dreaded waiting game until employees get the answer needed to resume productivity.
Professionally or otherwise, no one wants to feel as though they are left on their own to navigate tasks, challenges, and projects. Even in traditional workplace environments, regular check-in sessions help to promote a climate of conversation, transparency, and honesty. Now, in the virtual sphere, this concept is more important than ever.
With somewhat limited interactions, many employees may feel additional pressure from the added autonomy. Maybe they’re struggling with technology or other operational aspects that are minimizing their results. Perhaps they need help getting organized. Maybe they simply miss morning meetings over coffee. Whatever the reasoning, regularly checking in with team members ensures that all employees feel connected, recognized, and appreciated.
While the traditional workplace may look vastly different these days, the inherent concepts of camaraderie and corporate culture still exist. Employees still value the tertiary experiences that made their workdays fulfilling, challenging, and rewarding. They still thrive via proactive communication, appropriate workflow management, and the occasional happy hour. Thus, in the remote workplace environment, leaders can inspire camaraderie and corporate culture through proactive measures. While the concept of work has changed, the magic of highly effective teams doesn’t have to be lost. By implementing a few thoughtful measures in a digital workplace, leaders can ensure that working from home is meaningful, successful, and fulfilling.