Remote work is here and it’s not going anywhere, and trends are emerging among companies that are successful in building collaborative work environments in a work-from-home world.
Among the reasons why remote and hybrid work are the new normal was proved when the government attempted to control the spread of COVID-19 by forcing thousands of businesses to close. According to Forbes, the complete disruption of office work actually increased productivity as employees put in more hours, took fewer breaks, and felt better.
And WFH (work from home) is what workers want. Two-thirds of respondents to an independent survey said they would find a new job if their present employers required a 40-hour, on-site work week.
What has this done to the notion of teamwork? Pre-pandemic, team members most often worked together side-by-side, or at least in the same building. Today, companies and employees are adjusting to the reality that “teams” may never be in the same room.
Here are some ideas for building esprit de corps if your crew is spread all over.
#1 Temporary Office Space
If you have completely abandoned the idea of maintaining a physical location—and that’s a great way to reduce overhead—you’ll still need a professional setting for occasional employee and client meetings. You shouldn’t have much trouble finding something suitable. Hotels rent suites and conference rooms, and a cottage industry has grown up that provides office space rental by the hour, day, week, or longer.
Business cannot be conducted by computer without an investment in software and systems that support collaboration. Communication tools like video conferencing and messaging platforms are just scratching the surface. Successful WFH workplaces also use project management software to coordinate tasks, document sharing and version control systems to organize output, and collaborative editing tools. Integrating those software and network components enables realtime collaboration, improves communication, and drives productivity.
#3 Employee Reward Systems
Employee reward systems are another way to strengthen team bonds. They encourage friendly competition and build teams who are enthusiastic about working for your business because they know that if they work hard and work well with those around them, they will be able to get more out of the job.
#4 Celebrating Employee Achievements
The little things matter. They are the personal touch that means a lot in the professional world. Calling a team video meeting for a remote birthday party, to celebrate a promotion, or other life events—a wedding or the birth of a child or grandchild, for instance—reminds employees that though they are spread out, they are still top of mind. If you say that your employees are your most important asset, this is how to prove it. Celebrating their lives outside of their jobs is a good way to build trust and help your employees retain their individuality within your company.
A few final thoughts
There are plenty of ways that your business can begin to build a better community and stronger relationships within its remote infrastructure. You will find that using employee reward systems and celebrating employee achievements, as well as providing high-quality communication software and using temporary office spaces, can all contribute toward building a healthy and supportive workplace.