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Work provides a sense of purpose and meaning, allowing employees to feel that their contributions are making a difference in the world. But, in remote or hybrid environments, workers can feel disconnected from their colleagues and the shared goals of their organization.
A Bankrate survey found that 55% of employees prefer flexibility or remote options on their salary. It shows how important flexibility is for your employees, whether they work in remote or hybrid environments. And with the COVID-19 pandemic ushering in a new era of remote work, building and maintaining a supportive company culture has become a priority for many leaders.
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As businesses adopt new strategies, it has become clear that remote work is here to stay. The benefit of remote work is two additional weekly hours (thanks to the removal of a commute) for employees to invest in self-care, professional skills and/or personal activities, leading to greater fulfillment and satisfaction in work and life.
According to the US Census Bureau, the number of remote workers has increased dramatically. From 2019 to 2021, the number tripled to 27.6 million in the United States. Despite concerns that remote working undermines company culture, forward-thinking companies have used technology and creativity to foster strong cultures that benefit both employees and the business.
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Here are four ideas for leaders who want to transform their company culture into a more supportive culture, whether fully remote or hybrid.
1. Provide access to resources
Remote work can create challenges for employees who may not have access to the same resources – such as a suitable workspace, high-quality technology, or a reliable Internet connection – as their in-office counterparts. Therefore, when they cannot be seen and heard in the same way as office workers, they often feel neglected or judged.
Helping your employees create a work-from-home environment they love and feel confident in is the answer. Countless studies have found that having a positive work environment improves collaboration and fairness. This statistic holds true for hybrid workplaces as well.
The first way to build a supportive company culture in a remote environment is by providing employees with the resources they need to create an enjoyable workplace. This includes providing them with the necessary equipment, a comfortable desk and a budget for “extras” that make them happy to be a part of your remote company. By providing these resources, employers can help remote employees feel more connected to their team and maintain productivity.
2. Establish a Sense of Connection
Without an authoritative environment, your employees can easily feel isolated. Create socialization initiatives that help employees feel connected. Encouraging employees to communicate about non-work-related topics can foster a sense of community and help your team feel more connected. This helps them deal with their secluded culture, almost the same vibe they might find in an office.
A thriving company culture doesn’t happen by chance. It takes deliberate effort and planning. One way to do this is by creating opportunities for employees to connect and share common interests, as Zapier and GitLab did. Zapier uses Slack channels to create a social space where employees can connect over their hobbies, while GitLab hosts 15-minute virtual events to help remote workers build relationships and get to know each other better. Is.
Another company, Buffer, uses Slack’s Donut integration to arrange for one-on-one employee sessions. And they encourage in-person meetups to strengthen employee bonds. GitLab also encourages in-person meetups and provides travel expenses to its employees to make it more attractive. This connection helps bridge the gap between remote and in-person workers.
3. Provide Multiple Remote Benefits
When it comes to employee benefits, most entrepreneurs limit themselves to healthcare only. But by providing remote benefits beyond just healthcare, organizations can build a culture of support and inclusion, regardless of where employees are.
Yusuf Sherwani, MD, co-founder and CEO of Quit Genius, the world’s leading virtual clinic for substance use management, says: “As an organization, we also break down the barriers of remote working and make it equally accessible to our employees. We build culture by delivering benefits. In the US, the UK and around the world. But, it all starts with open lines of communication between our people, the HR team, managers and leadership – wherever they are.
Providing employees with access to a variety of wellness benefits, such as mental health, addiction treatment, and parenting groups, can significantly impact employee satisfaction and retention. Prioritizing the mental and physical health of employees equally (especially during times of economic uncertainty) can help businesses save money.
To address this, I recommend offering mental health days that allow employees to flexibly take time off and manage their well-being needs. It’s an effective way to reduce employee stress, prevent burnout, and improve their well-being, whether they work remotely or in the office.
Offering non-health care benefits that meet employee preferences (such as flexibility, personal growth, financial well-being and a sense of purpose) enhances the employee value proposition. Quiet Genius, for example, offers a range of benefits such as unlimited PTO, a learning and development reimbursement program, financial wellness tools, a 401k plan, and an ownership plan to meet employee needs.
Providing benefits that support work-life balance, financial security, personal development, culture and community is critical to employee satisfaction and success in all work settings. Employees who feel connected to a company’s mission and culture are more engaged, collaborative and loyal, resulting in higher tenure, increased survey participation and a positive Employee Net Promoter Score.
4. Bring key stakeholders on board to drive company culture
Creating a new company culture can be challenging. But it is possible if you plan your steps ahead of time. Leaders must reinforce existing company culture or capitalize on the shift to remote work to create a new culture. This is more than just the responsibility of HR. Bringing key stakeholders on board helps maintain and promote company culture in the long run.
An article in the Harvard Business Review emphasizes the importance of a leader’s judgment during inflection points. They can choose:
There’s nothing. Work to devise new ways to strengthen the existing culture. Take advantage of the shift to remote work to deeply reset the culture.
Creating a warm and fair work environment in remote settings requires a deliberate effort from leaders. As a leader, I help remote employees feel valued, have more interaction with them, provide feedback and be transparent about career development opportunities. By prioritizing the unique needs of remote workers, employers can create a supportive and inclusive culture that drives success.
A positive company culture is critical to employee retention and productivity, but it takes a more conscious effort to maintain it in a remote environment. Remote workers prioritize a supportive and inclusive work culture in order to thrive. As a remote employer, it’s important to understand and create a culture tailored to the needs of your employees. Creating opportunities for collaboration and fostering a sense of purpose can have a significant impact on your employees’ job satisfaction and productivity.
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