(Hint: The answer may surprise you!)
Companies’ attitudes toward remote work are changing at a faster rate because of COVID-19. Culture remains a key consideration for top talent, and businesses are finding ways to foster a healthy culture within a remote workforce.
A majority of company financial leaders say they will move at least 5% of their office-based workforce to permanently remote positions after the COVID-19 pandemic, according to research by Gartner.
The increased adoption of remote work is one cost-cutting step businesses took to curb the financial impact caused by national and global lockdown restrictions. The average real estate savings with full-time remote work is $10,000.00 per employee per year, according to Global WorkPlaceAnalytics. Plus, companies can save on operational costs including cleaning crews, food, taxes, rent, and utilities.
If a company only looks at a financial spreadsheet, remote work is a great benefit. One vital company pillar, not shown on a spreadsheet, is company culture.
Up until now, a company’s culture was fostered onsite. As business leaders embrace the idea of a permanent or even hybrid remote-workforce, can culture still thrive in a disparate organization?
In this blog post we’ll explore:
How is culture defined?
Examples of companies with a focus on culture in a remote workforce
Steps organizations can take to foster a company’s culture among remote workers
How is culture defined?
Culture, as applied to a business’s work environment, is a nebulous concept.
For example, The Society for Human Resource Management defines culture as, “… the glue that keeps an organization together. It is the silent code of conduct; it’s more about how things get done, rather than what gets done.”
Another example is from Builtin.com. The nationwide community for tech startups defines culture as, “… a set of shared values, goals, attitudes and practices that characterize an organization.”
Based on our research, here are the critical pillars to develop your organization’s culture.
1. A clear set of values
Values refer to the directional markers your business adheres. Honesty, respect, professional empowerment, or determination are some examples. Remember values are not what define your culture, they enhance it.
2. A professional, human attitude
Research suggests business leaders are shifting focus from a primarily shareholder-focused viewpoint to an equal view of shareholder and employee primacy.
Empathy is the, for lack of a better word, the buzzword of the era. Companies that acknowledge and validate an employee’s viewpoint perform better in both productivity and employee retention. Leading with empathy is crucial given today’s remote-work workforce juggling child-care, technology hurdles, and other pandemic related challenges.
3. Prioritizing Technology
Prioritizing modern technology practices can help improve customer experience and attract top talent from the labor market.
Technology allows remote-work staff to collaborate, communicate, improve work productivity, and feel a sense of community. A cloud-based tool like MeBeBot is an example.
Using MeBeBot, an employee can ask a question about HR or IT issues and the intelligent assistant will quickly provide an answer specific to the employees about their company practices and culture. MeBeBot eliminates the hassle of an employee searching for answers to their questions in company intranets or waiting for responses from internal help desks and both HR, Ops, and IT teams have more time to focus on productive work versus answering repetitive questions.
Set expectations for how executives, supervisors, and management interact with employees.
Recent events did not make leaders, rather highlighted the good leaders. And employees look to leaders for help in a crisis. In fact, a study by Mercer showed 61% of employees trust their employer to look after their health, and 55% trust their organization to teach them the new skills they will require should their job change or disappear.
5. Inclusivity among diversity
Study after study reinforce the practice that a diverse workforce is important to a company’s long-term success.
In fact, TalentLyft identifies the top 10 benefits of a diverse workplace.
Diversity within a company’s workforce can also apply to the balance of on-premise and off-site employees. In either case, organizations should design policies that ways remote and office-based workers can feel connected, included, and can operate as a team.
According to the State of Remote Report 2020 by Buffer, 20% of survey respondents say the biggest struggle with working remotely is collaboration and communication.
MeBeBot’s innovative technology aims to help improve that communication between employees and businesses. Today’s modern business implements several resource and collaboration management tools like SharePoint, DropBox, Confluence, Teams, Slack, etc. For remote workers, sifting through multiple platforms can waste time that is better spent on doing their job. Additionally, team members of HR and IT could spend all day answering the same questions.
Instead of adding work to these high-valued teams, MeBeBot is a single-source platform where an employee can ask a question and receive an answer one instantly. Plus, HR and IT teams can update these answers through MeBeBot’s customer-facing knowledge base and publish changes instantly.
Want to see MeBeBot in action? Watch the demo now.
Companies with a remote workforce that focus on culture
As more companies are forced to adopt a remote-first mentality, much can be learned from those businesses that already employ the strategy.
Zapier is a company with a 100% remote workforce. One of the best practices the company shares is that a manager’s focus should be to help their team succeed while growing the business. And part of that success included the team’s output, but also other factors.
Managers that show a genuine interest in their team by outlining clear expectations, demonstrating care about an employee’s professional growth, and providing opportunities to work on projects that matter, Zapier says organizations can see an increase in engagement.
Slack is another example of a company that does remote work well. Using its own collaboration tool, Slack recommends that its employees share when they are available for a chat, do not want to be disturbed, or are taking a quick break.
Documenting your company’s remote work policy and making it easy for staff to access using tools like MeBeBot can help your organization successfully navigate the remote work environment.
Steps organizations can take to foster culture among remote workers
Nearly 98% of remote workers want to continue working remotely for the rest of their careers, according to a study by Buffer. Needless to say, companies must consider a permanent remote-work policy, and part of that policy must include ways to foster the company’s culture among its employees.
There are a few steps organizations can take to foster a healthy culture among a remote workforce.
Step 1 – Define what culture means to your company and how it is applied within the company.
Step 2 – Codify the cultural pillars with buy-in from leadership, management, and employees.
Step 3 – Make the cultural pillars easily accessible to all employees through a tool, like MeBeBot. Eliminate the employee’s need to search for the document. Instead, allow staff to use MeBeBot to serve them the information without the hassle.
Step 4 – Allow for continual adjustment based on feedback from employees on how to improve the company’s culture for the remote workforce.
Are you empowering your employees with the knowledge of how to foster that ideal culture? Watch a demo to see how MeBeBot can help your business.