Even pre-coronavirus, there were strong signs that the world of work was headed in the direction it’s in now. Remote working was already on the rise, more and more people were doing their jobs effectively from the digital workplace, and organisations were increasingly appreciating the importance of business technology to remain competitive. Many businesses have had to speed up this digital transformation to satisfy lockdown measures, squeezing years’ worth of changes into a matter of weeks. And so we’ve landed in this new world of work a little faster than expected.
Now that people are starting to return to the office, with many more continuing to work from home even beyond the pandemic, businesses will now need to consider how to support a workforce that’s split across locations. It’s one thing to manage a remote-only or office-only business, but quite another to manage one that does both. And without the luxury of years of planning, business leaders will need to adjust quickly once more. Here’s what you can do to support your remote and office-based staff:
Make meetings more inclusive
Video calls have kept us all connected from afar, allowing client meetings, one-to-ones, and virtual water cooler conversations to take place seamlessly. The challenge now is how to keep meetings productive and inclusive when some are in the office, and others remote.
If a meeting is taking place in the office, don’t forget or exclude your remote workers, however unintentionally. Be proactive in making them feel part of the discussion, otherwise they may feel unappreciated or undervalued.
One thing that dispersed companies have found useful is getting everyone to dial into a video meeting, regardless of their location. This avoids marginalising people who aren’t physically present in the office, giving everyone an equal opportunity to contribute. If you’re leading a meeting, make a conscious effort to make introductions at the beginning and create deliberate opportunities for people to ask questions or share feedback.
Working on a “live document” during a meeting will encourage collaboration between remote and office-based teams as well. Set up a collaboration area on your intranet to give dispersed teams a central base for sharing ideas, adding notes, and formalising action points throughout the meeting, and invite staff to add any further feedback afterwards.
Create a remote-friendly company culture
Businesses have been refreshingly creative when building their virtual company culture, with weekly quizzes, photography competitions, and afternoon happy hours keeping staff connected and engaged throughout a difficult time.
As people start returning to the office and socialising in-person (at a safe distance, of course) remember to include those who are working from home. Create a remote-friendly events calendar that caters to people’s different working locations, so that wherever staff are based, they can feel a sense of belonging. Those virtual socials mentioned above are as effective in-person as they are online, and will enable everyone to take part. For example, teams can attend quizzes via your intranet, share photography entries on your internal social media, and join happy hours via video call.
By being inclusive in your company culture and enabling staff to have shared experiences, you can encourage a stronger bond amongst your teams.
Claromentis bread baking competition photos 🥖
Engage staff with digital and physical rewards
Peer recognition and praise from your manager do wonders for employee engagement and morale, so make sure you have processes in place to show appreciation for both remote and office-based staff.
Physical rewards, such as sending corporate gifts via post, have grown in popularity since lockdown began, according to recent surveys. The element of surprise in receiving an unexpected gift lets staff know that they’re valued, and in fact increases the connection that they feel towards their company.
Digital rewards can be just as effective. Awarding your staff or coworkers with badges – which are then displayed on their intranet profile with pride – is a great way to give instant recognition for a job well done. Sharing messages of thanks on the company intranet gives others the chance to join in and give their colleagues a virtual pat on the back, as well as providing measurable insights into how people are performing.