We’re Not There Yet
Yes, here we are and it’s a new year and a majority of our employees are still working remotely. The good news is that now we have a vaccine. The bad news is we’re just not sure when things will get back to normal. Or will things ever be normal again? One thing we know for certain. We have discovered new ways to communicate and interact with our employees and that can definitely be a good thing.
New Strategies to Consider
A recent Forbes article offers managers some innovative ideas to interact and communicate more effectively with their remote working employees. Even though leaders have devised novel solutions to virtual collaborations, they have found that some worked well, and others didn’t. It’s time to toss the ones that flopped and try new tactics to “replace” the office environment.
Forbes suggests the following ideas for employers to explore during 2021:
Structure time to ‘show up.’ Basically the workplace creates a collaborative framework around the shared environment. Without that, companies need even more structure in a virtual environment. Employees report that they lack the organic engagement of passing someone in the hall and sparking unplanned conversations. In the year ahead, this may mean setting aside “open hours” for people across several teams to meet virtually in informal environments so they can talk without a specific agenda and decompress.
Offer options for different personalities and preferences. Leaders need to prioritize their culture and communications to keep everyone engaged. Consider revisiting assessment tools to understand how individual employees communicate and troubleshoot their work issues. Some people may need more face time, and others may appreciate submitting detailed progress reports. It’s up to managers to reach across the divide and define better strategies for keeping all team members involved.
Explain new policies with transparency and detail. If you decide to create a hybrid model or full in-person model, be prepared to explain the rationale behind your decisions and the value of having everyone together. Employees will question the safety of returning, their commute times and their personal work-life needs. Leaders and managers must explain workplace policies with vision, compassion and a focus on the business imperative for returning to the office.
Acknowledge the challenging circumstances. As part of their inter-office communications strategy, executives shouldn’t hesitate to talk about the difficulties of this year and the immense amounts of pressure that everyone has faced, no matter what their role in the company. Find ways to acknowledge these moments and open up opportunities to discuss people’s concerns.
Create space for better relationships. If there’s one positive to the remote work environment, it’s that we’ve been given the ability to see colleagues as whole human beings. Ultimately, communication will be the major underlying factor in company culture and employee engagement in our new remote and hybrid workspaces.
Consider how your people like to communicate and how they like to receive others’ communications. Now is the time to be creative about the behavioral science and personal aspects of our work environments and put in the extra effort to ensure everyone is connected.
Obviously you’re going to need a technology platform that maximizes your ability to recognize and reward your remote employees and also enables them to acknowledge and applaud each other. You’re going to need a virtual recognition program. We do virtual. Give us a call.
And if you'd like to learn more about creating a great workplace culture, click below to read more.