In the wake of the coronavirus / CVOID-19 pandemic, more companies than ever before are embracing a remote work environment. Having your employees work-from-home might be the only way your business can stay in operation at the moment. But it might seem as if your team has lost something by going home to do their jobs. There’s no opportunity for water cooler conversations or lunch break discussions when everyone stays home.
Maintaining your company’s culture and keeping your employees engaged and excited about their jobs is a must at all times, and becomes particularly imperative during times of stress. Even though your team can’t be in the office together and can’t meet face-to-face, there are still things you can do to make sure everyone feels like a respected member of the team and that the culture you’ve worked so hard to build stays intact.
Invest in Communication Tools
The tools available for telecommuting and remote work have come along way in recent years. Now that more and more people have reliable, high-speed internet connections at their homes and now that web cameras are standard on pretty much every laptop, video calls are a cinch to do. A variety of video conferencing software programs are available, some of which allow for encrypted, secure calls. Zoom and Google Meet are just two examples of video conferencing tools your company can use to maintain a sense of connection when the team works remotely.
Slack is another tool that helps facilitate communication among remote teams. You can set up different channels on Slack, such as “Important, Must-Read Communications” for information your entire team needs to see, and “Water Cooler Chats,” where employees can casually chat about what current events or TV shows they watch.
You can also use project management software, such as Trello so that everyone knows what projects are currently on the table, where projects are in the pipeline and who is responsible for what.
When your team worked in the same building, you might have had team-bonding activities and traditions, such as a weekly coffee hour or after-work happy hours. Those traditions can continue or start up after you’ve gone remote. You don’t have to limit use of video calls to work-related meetings only. You can also use those same tools for team-building, engagement-boosting activities, such as a virtual happy hour or remote lunch and learns.
Whatever activities you decide to use, make them recurring events. For example, happy hour could become something your company virtually hosts every second Friday of the month. You might offer a lunch and learn every fourth Tuesday, and so on.
If possible, make the tradition something relevant to your company or relevant to your employees. If it turns out that a large portion of your team likes to play video games, you can decide to put together a virtual video game championship. If people love to read, you can create a book club.
To minimize the feeling of disconnection and remoteness that can develop when meetings take place over the internet, it helps to start each video conference with an icebreaker or check-in. For example, at the start of the meeting, the person leading it can ask everyone to briefly share something they read, watched or listened to recently or to share something that makes them feel happy. Taking just 5 or 10 minutes or so at the beginning of a meeting to check in can remind people that they are still part of a team and that what they are doing for the company matters.
Highlight Your Company’s Values and Vision
When everyone’s distant, it can be easy for team members to lose sight of what your company’s mission and values are. Pay attention to the work people are doing and every so often, highlight the efforts of an employee that really reflect your company’s values or that help your company fulfill its vision. Rewarding and calling out people who are remained committed and connected to your business, even during a challenging time will help other team members remember that they’re all working together.
Maintaining a strong company culture even if when your team can’t work in the same location is possible and is a must for ongoing growth. New Direction Capital’s team of virtual CFOs can help your business adjust to an ever-changing world and put together a plan for profitable, strategic growth. To learn more about how a virtual CFO can help your business, schedule a call with ustoday.