Building Upon Company Culture Remotely
Everyone knew that working remotely was the way of the future… it’s just that most people probably didn’t realize “the future” would arrive quite as quickly as it did.
According to one recent study, about 4.3 million people in the United States were already working from home at least half the time, a number that increased by an enormous 140% since 2005. But with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic putting nearly three billion people around the world under mandatory lockdowns, those numbers have exploded – creating a significant number of challenges for many people.
In addition to that, if your employees have kids, they’re no longer simply remote workers – they’re also educators and full-time babysitters, too. People suddenly need to find new ways to juggle their day-to-day professional responsibilities on top of their domestic ones, and a lot of people are finding it far more difficult than they likely thought it would be.
That’s why, as a business leader, you’re in a position to have a more positive impact on the lives of your employees than ever before. Because it isn’t enough to do whatever you can to maintain the productivity of this remote workforce- You need to pull out all the stops to help empower their optimism, too.
Killing 2 Birds With One Stone; Mix Education & Fun
Before we dive fully into the topic of maintaining employee optimism, it’s important to acknowledge that there are still certain topics that are more critical than ever – notably cybersecurity- that shouldn’t be left to the wayside. One of your top priorities should still involve using COVID-19 as an engaging, educational opportunity to improve your security posture and provide users with security awareness training. At our Boston IT Support company, TSI, we formulate fake phishing emails to help train our clients to ensure that they’re still adhering to best practices and with the increasing amount of COVID-19 scams, maintaining a degree of healthy paranoia. Although you may be thinking how this can help improve employee morale and productivity, keep in mind that these can also be a fun exercise where you could offer rewards or incentives for people who don’t fall for these simulated “scams”. Our training solution keeps these important security principles fresh, and with just a little bit of creativity, it’s a fun, interesting way to help keep people who suddenly find themselves working remotely engaged as well. Here’s a link to a previous post about our solution and some of the interesting ways you can train your employees;
If you’re able to play your cards right, you may be able to use COVID-19 as a great opportunity to build an even stronger foundation for you and your employees than you had before all of this began, setting the stage for an even better, more collaborative environment when things finally “return to normal.” If there’s a true silver lining to any of this, let it be that.
Bringing People Together, Even When We’ve Never Been Further Apart
On the topic of keeping people hopeful and optimistic as we march farther into this brave new world, consider trying to do some of the things that you used to do in person in a virtual capacity. The chances are high that by now, you’re already using some type of video conferencing platform like Zoom, Skype, WebEx or something else of that nature and are comfortable using them. (Just remember not to pull a Will Reeve!; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JASrM50ODLA.)
And as we spoke to in last week’s newsletter, these platforms have more uses than beyond just teleconferencing business meetings. For example, you could consider hosting a virtual “Happy Hour” with your team or department on a Friday afternoon. It’s a great way to remind people how connected they truly are to their teams and reiterate that their company and colleagues are there for support.
If you want to take things to the ‘next level’, you could also assemble your people together online for a night of gaming. You could host a fun virtual Trivia Night or even take this new opportunity to combat your colleagues to death in the latest first-person shooter game. You can create teams and leader boards that can really help morale, and provide a welcome distraction at a time when it’s desperately needed.
You could also get people together for a “home movie night,” provided that you pick something that everyone can agree to watch! For the best results, take a look at some of the titles that are popular right now on streaming platforms like Netflix or Hulu and give people a few options that they might want to consider. There are a lot of fun ways to use marketing platforms that would typically be used for conducting customer surveys to see what’s preferred and take it from there. You could set a date for a weekend and send out options a few days in advance, letting everyone vote on what they all want to watch together. Here’s a link about how to watch a movie using Zoom;
Regardless of what you choose to do, the key thing to acknowledge is that workplace bonding is still important – and it’s arguably more essential to maintaining employee morale than it’s ever been up to this point. The average person’s day is probably filled with more personal challenges than they ever realized existed and to say that “taking a night off” to spend time with colleagues is hugely beneficial, is probably a bit of an understatement. In the end, your employees need to know that you haven’t forgotten about them and despite working remotely, they’re still incredibly important to you both personally and professionally. It’s of the utmost importance to be honest with employees and let them know you’re going through similar difficulties and hardships that we’re all experiencing and will get through, together. It’s normal for employees to feel isolated or siloed these days and it’s easy for them to lose track of what your company’s greater, long term outcome will be. The methods outlined above won’t just help users remain productive but also clarify their role in your organization’s bigger picture and provide the human interaction we’re all lacking at the moment. These types of employee engagement can work wonders for workforce engagement, which is a great way to make sure that your business not only survives COVID-19 but also comes out all the better on the other side because of it.
Building Upon Company Culture Remotely
If you're still looking for more ways to maintain the productivity AND the optimism of your workforce during the Coronavirus pandemic, understand that we're here to help. Please feel free to reach out to either myself or one of my colleagues at TSI so that we can learn more about your business and understand what’s most important to you.