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How to sustain company culture whilst working remotely

With teams now having been physically apart for weeks, here are four things to consider to help sustain your culture. 

1) Purpose

Let’s all remember why we are doing what we are doing. What is our purpose? Is it meaningful? Are we feeling it?

It’s about understanding what the priorities are and giving people a clear sense of purpose. We’d recommend looking at your company objectives and key results and during this time revise them and reprioritise and continue to do this as we adapt to the circumstances.

Don’t just keep your purpose and company objectives to board meeting discussions. It is important to communicate new business priorities openly. Honesty fosters a culture of transparency and trust, and will encourage everyone to get on the same virtual bus and move in the right direction.

Based on the situation we are all, in many of us have had to diversify our offering, restructure our teams and in some instances, wear hats that we haven’t worn before.

Having a strong leadership team that communicates with everyone transparently and consistently will increase your teams engagement as we all work towards a common goal collaboratively.

2) Recognition and appreciation

Recognition should be at the top of any employer brand agenda. However, it’s often overlooked and it’s easy to prioritise other areas, especially in the current climate. Where previously this might have happened organically during a meeting or at the desks in front of colleagues, now that we’re all working remotely, there’s an element to which this needs to be more thought-through.

It’s widely acknowledged that recognising and giving appreciation to an employee is very motivating, provides a sense of accomplishment and makes individuals feel valued for their work. A simple ‘well done to…’ or ‘this person has gone above and beyond today…’ can make a real difference, especially when you consider that quite a lot of people are isolating alone right now.

For companies who have values that live and breathe through their people practices, we would recommend using these values to reward and recognise the actions of their employees. Recognising good work and behaviours in company meetings or team catch ups will make a difference. It’s always nice when the recognition comes from the founder or CEO. Find the right way to shout out greatness in your organisation that shows that you appreciate your people and their efforts.

3) Learning and development

I used to do a lot of my reading and learning on my morning and evening commutes. Now we are all working from home and there is just so much content out there to read up we need to find some time to stimulate our brains and keep us learning.

Formulating ways to counterbalance the lack of brain stimulation should be a high priority on Covid-19 comms strategies. Here are a few to consider:

Apprenticeships

You can still start apprenticeships for employees who haven’t been furloughed and most providers are delivering their programmes virtually. The reality for most of us having more headspace whilst working from home makes it a great time to start an apprenticeship. These are also very low cost, especially for small businesses.

Reskilling

A lot of training providers (apprenticeship and otherwise) are providing significantly reduced cost or free courses, which anyone can access. Encourage your people to share their ‘secret’ skills with the team if they’re up for teaching others and motivate everyone to achieve personal goals independently. Reskilling might be relevant for people who have been furloughed so that they can come back to the business with new skills. It’s important that we all stay mentally active for our own wellbeing.

Learning and Support around Mental Wellbeing

Working remotely has been for the majority of us been something we have had to get used to pretty quickly.  Sharing resources with your team members to help them keep mentally well has never been so important especially as some of us are living on our own, with our families or caring for people who are unwell. 

At JourneyHR we work with a CBT therapist who provides a monthly 1:1 session for any team member who wants some help. The feedback we have had has been extremely positive.

4) Mixing up the way we communicate

Covid-19 communications plans need to be varied and engaging for both active and furloughed employees. Company-wide Monday morning virtual check-ins where business decisions are shared transparently gives everyone the opportunity to ask questions, feel valued and included.

Encouraging everyone to share photos, videos and work achievements can also connect a team and fuel social media content in a genuine, emotive way.

Engaging a remote workforce is not totally uncharted territory for most modern businesses, but Covid-19 has meant we need to roll out virtual communications 100% of the time. It’s hard to know where to start or what to do sometimes.  We will all have good days and bad days but communicating often, getting the support when we need it and supporting others when they need it is how we will all get through this together.

Further reading: How to manage your team’s performance remotely 

 

As businesses navigate their way through this period of change and uncertainty, strong and effective leadership has never been so important. Aside from making sure the team is safe and well, how managers approach this ‘new normal’ will have a huge impact on how engaged, positive and motivated employees feel.

 

JourneyHR’s Aliya Vigor-Robertson looks at how to manage your team’s performance remotely. 

About: Aliya Vigor-Robertson

Aliya started her HR career in 1996 and co-founded JourneyHR in 2010. Aliya works with Founders and business leaders in the creative industry and advises them on creating sustainable and creative cultures where their people can thrive and their businesses get great results.

Aliya is also a DBA Expert. Find out more about the DBA’s Experts Register here.

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