Dayton, Ohio companies continue to offer their employees remote work options and it does not appear this will change anytime soon. Leadership is learning however, that “company culture” is getting lost in the shuffle. The lack of human in-office interaction is resulting in less problem solving, less collaboration, and quite honestly, less creativity. Additional tension can be added if the employee has family and pets at home creating frequent interruptions. Frustration elevates as the employee becomes detached and demotivated, as you watch their overall work performance falling. This was a great employee before the pandemic, what happened?
Well let’s back up for a minute and evaluate our culture as it was before the pandemic. What did our culture look like and how does it compare now in the virtual environment? Sustaining an inclusive culture remotely is a challenge but it is not impossible. If your employees are not feeling included, this may lead to toxic environments. It is vital that human resource professionals and senior leadership strive to sustain an inclusive, positive culture. More frequent check-ins with employees to listen to how things are working for the employee is so important today. Seek their input on how they feel. Do they feel valued, trusted, and included? Is their environment working for them? Listen with empathy, ask for feedback and be prepared to offer some solutions to ease the tension.
When onboarding new employees, consider having an appreciation gift sent to their home. It can be as simple as candy, cookies, or flowers. Follow-up to make sure they are set up with all the essentials required. Let them know you are there for them.
Consider a daily or weekly message from Leadership. Hold monthly virtual staff meetings to bring the team together. For the one-on-one connection, host “coffee with the supervisor” once per week to connect. Hosting social gatherings virtually will demonstrate your intentions to keep everyone together. Consider some fun events, possibly a “wine” toast once a month with the entire team on a virtual event. Let the staff plan these! Make it fun. Don’t forget to offer recognition personally and in group settings. Build a winning culture on the outside to meet or exceed what you had on the inside. Continue to evolve in the remote workplace and keep focused on connecting with your team.
Trust your employees. Focus on health, show grace and most of all, be kind. Companies that raise awareness with their leadership team on the importance of inclusion with remote workers are more likely to succeed and retain those employees.
Now back to the beginning where we were talking about helping the employee who feels alone, unproductive, and even burnt out. Communication is key and a good communicator knows how to listen first. Seek out the needs of the employee. If the family and home environment is difficult, speak to possibly working flexible hours. Do they have a separate place away from the family? Is it possible for them to work after the children go to bed? In the end, it may just be a situation where the employee is simply unhappy working remote. They miss the interaction of people and bouncing ideas off them at work. They miss the social aspect of going to a physical building and working face to face. Have empathy and understand where they are coming from. Take some time to seek “out of the box” solutions for them.
Offer resources such as Talkspace or BetterHelp. These online services offer counseling for individuals or couples seeking help with life challenges. Show them you care. Permit them to take some paid work time to seek outside help if they so desire. Follow up with them to make sure things are getting better.
Take a minute now and ask yourself, how would your team rate the satisfaction of your workplace culture either remotely or in the office? The pandemic has created so much fear and concern. If you need assistance from an outside consultant to help you build a more positive culture or take your culture into the remote environment, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to meet with you, listen to your needs, and customize an effective program for you. It is free to hear us out on what we believe we can do for you. LMSolutions is a Dayton, Ohio based organization, but we offer services anywhere in the United States.