Even before a global pandemic put pressures on employers to close in-person offices – either temporarily or permanently – the work-from-home culture was a growing trend. For the last several years, many employers have begun to think more flexibly about allowing their workers to be productive away from a traditional office setting. As the pandemic necessitated work-from-home due to safety concerns, industries saw that employees were productive from home offices but, more importantly, that many employees enjoyed working from home.
While the benefits of a remote workforce are becoming more and more apparent – the ability to recruit the best talent regardless of geography, better work-life balance for employees, etc. – keeping teams connected and maintaining a strong corporate culture can be complicated when workers are spread out across the globe. Following are some tips for setting your organization up for success when managing a global, remote workforce:
#1 – Set Smart Ground Rules
It is important to define what your company expects in terms of team interactions. While most people look forward to interacting with others, remote work can lead to feelings of isolation, hence regular check-ins are necessary. It can become easy for a worker to bury themselves in tasks and neglect real-time discussions with other team members. To help, organizations can set up a “culture-cadence” to foster connections and keep workers engaged with their colleagues. It is important to understand that everyone is different, and for workers who are naturally introverted and self-directed, it is beneficial to create opportunities where they can remain connected to teammates.
#2 – Invest in the Right Tech
There are many different options when it comes to work connectivity software and engagement platforms. Connectivity and collaboration tools are crucial. While it doesn’t really matter which you choose – Microsoft, Google, Slack, or any combination of these kinds of tools – consideration should be given to how your employees prefer to work and if your remote workforce has any unique or specific needs. Technology should be reliable and accessible from the tools your workers want to use. Laptops or desktops should obviously be supported, but remote workers also rely heavily on smartphones and tablets to get work done while traveling or simply managing their busy, multi-faceted lives. As we untether employees, we must also untether the work itself, as much as possible.
#3 – Don’t Forget to Have Fun
For those of us that have worked in traditional offices, we can all remember the birthday parties, the Halloween costume contests, and the laid-back holiday get-togethers. These events foster a sense of inclusion and family that make going to work fun for employees and employers alike. It is important, as we try to build and maintain strong company cultures among a spread-out, remote workforce that we try our best to create virtual opportunities to connect and engage in fun activities and events. It helps to be mindful for how to engage in these activities via technology – perhaps providing prompts for employees to engage or getting workers talking about their interests. Birthday slideshows are a way to celebrate someone and what they mean to the team, even if we can’t all share some cake. Schedule meetings with pets and give workers the opportunity to show off their dogs or funny cats. Whatever you do, resist falling into a business-only cadence for meetings. It is so much more fun to work with friends, and by making the right commitments, we can offer workers engagement opportunities that build a sense of belonging, even if they’re scattered across the globe.
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