When the coronavirus hit in the spring of 2020, remote work came on scene as a short-term fix. Some nineteen months later, it’s a normal part of the way humans work. With no signs of slowing, it’s become a necessity for both employees and companies alike.
Employers have adjusted to get remote work right. They’ve invested in technologies like Zoom to make face-to-face meetings possible. They’ve thrown the traditional 9-to-5 out the window, allowing workers to log hours when they can. And they’ve changed long held expectations like dress code—who cares about ties and heels when there are hoodies and slippers to be worn, on camera or off.
Despite these changes, employers are still stuck on one remote work complication: office culture.
These issues are bigger than ping pong tables
Before the pandemic, a quiet movement advocating for better office culture had begun. Tech companies had long offered workers shiny amenities like ping pong tables, nap pods and kegs. But workers pointed out that such comforts made little impact on office culture when deeper, darker forces such as sexism, racism and overwork were at play.
Then coronavirus swept the globe, and companies could no longer offer such perks. Their absence forced the question, yet again: What is our office culture now?
Employees have been vocal about what office culture isn’t. In a May 2021 survey from Paychex, just 9%
of participants said that virtual get togethers like happy hours and trivia nights made them feel more connected to their coworkers.
Survey results showed that something much more metaphysical was working to bring workers together. Participants said they felt close to their teams when they were allowed to talk about their work frustrations. They said they related better to their colleagues when they were asked about how things were going outside of work.
These results and other research indicate that office culture is about much more than company perks. This is great news for remote workplaces. Culture will thrive at remote organizations when leaders focus on three key ingredients:
1. It starts with Empathy
Empathy is the foundation of office culture. Leaders and managers must model it as they interact with each other. At the beginning of the pandemic, consulting and benefits firm Mercer emphasized the importance of empathy by creating solutions that emphasized their well-being through focusing on their own growth and ways to overcome struggles individually and collectively, which kept turnover low. Mercer linked an employer’s empathy with long term loyalty from its workers, customers, and candidates.
2. Employees WANT growth
Employees will disengage with work when their skills aren’t sharpened regularly. Employers that provide regular opportunities for growth will find that workers not only get better at their jobs, but also leap for opportunities within the organization, rather than jumping ship for another company that recognizes their potential.
3. Find your own DEI solutions, and find them quick
Companies are placing more importance on DEI, and many organizations are hiring executives and other professionals who deal directly with the matter. DEI efforts can’t be one off, however. For diversity, equity and inclusion to truly define office culture, they need to be valued at the organizational level. Recent research published in the Harvard Business Review indicates that companies need to focus on reducing bias systemically, rather than on the individual level.
Learn more now
As you take the necessary steps to build a positive remote workplace culture, it’s important to see yourself and the people you’re leading. Think about Google Maps or Waze. When you understand your natural tendencies inside of your personality and behaviors and that of your team you create a starting place to begin your journey. Your next step is to determine where you want to go, your success end point. From there your map and journey should be one straight line in growing and developing yourself and your people, using the three points we’ve discussed.
PeopleBest measures the success inside people by looking at five simple ‘styles’ to predict success inside of people, teams and companies. PeopleBest also introduced an exclusive index to determine how productive and engaged a person will be called ‘Work from Home’.
To find out how PeopleBest can help you and your team, book a demo and set up a time to chat with one of our specialists.
PeopleBest is a revolutionary, simple and powerful way to look at what makes success happen inside people, teams and companies.