According to the latest report from Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs, at least 3.9 million American employees are working from home [at least half of the time].
If you have a team that is just starting to adopt work-from-home schedules, what strategies do you have in place to keep your remote staff cohesive and engaged? While this flexibility is highly sought after and appreciated, not every manager or employee knows how to be fully engaged while working out-of-office. In some cases, there are organizaitons who are unsure of how to maintain a strong culture in a remote environment [DH can help through our individual and team coachsulting services, just ask].
At DH, our team works remotely and has adopted some successful tactics to keep our company culture alive and engaged, even when we scale our team. Here are four of our favorite strategies that you can incorporate into your work culture:
1) Give autonomy, have accountability
For some managers, losing some sense of control of their teams can be difficult and lead to attempts to micromanage their employees’ activities. Understand that most remote workers are going to schedule their working hours around when they are most productive or alongside a schedule that promotes a healthy work-life balance. So managers should fight the temptation to micromanage by the hour, and give their employees a sense of autonomy in their work-from-home schedules. Not only does this aid in boosting productivity, but autonomy can provide employees with a heightened sense of accountability for their work. This hands-off approach can allow managers to foster trusting relationships among team members and to focus primarily on results.
2) If you can, have regular all-team calls or meetings
Individual work schedules and time-zone differences can make it challenging to coordinate team meetings on a consistent basis but don’t let that stop you from trying. Create a culture that makes it okay to miss a call or two [life happens] but enforces accountability to read up on meeting notes or watch recordings. Better yet, alternate hosts among team members and encourage their creativity. Having a welcoming attitude about these team meetings will motivate your employees to attend them and be present [both virtually and mentally].
Want to improve your team calls? Read some tips on how to run an engaging virtual meeting.
3) Chat in real time
Break the barriers of email communication and find alternatives for faster and informal ways to connect with your teams. Tools like Skype for Business or Slack [that’s what we use] allow employees to chat, start communication threads, and enable a culture of responsiveness. Don’t like being too available? You can also snooze notifications during a specific time interval. We have DHers all over the world, so snoozing is a must!
4) Make get-togethers exciting occasions
When your teams come together, try to have some fun stuff planned along with the agenda! Here are some easy ways to make your meetings more exciting or interesting:
There are plenty of opportunities to break away from the traditional meeting format and conference room setting. Making these get-togethers into memorable experiences not only brings your teams closer, but it creates positive associations with their work and organization. These moments also demonstrate examples for your teams on how they can live your company's culture in their interactions with one another.
Transitioning your teams into remote or flexible work hours? We've been working remotely for a long time and can help your organization develop a strong culture for its remote and expanding teams: