Welcome to Tangent! For the latest Tangent updates and news, click here.

5 Ways to Preserve Company Culture While Working Remotely

Although shelter-in-place ordinances are beginning to lift, many companies are allowing employees to work from home until the end of the year. Parts of the country are now in their ninth week of quarantine, but perfecting the transition from office to home has proven difficult for many industries.

We know that wireless and internet providers have reported surges in calls and video conferencing, but the issue is more complex than just switching meetings to phone or video. How often should you hold video conferences? How do you stay connected with employees without crossing the line of micromanaging? And most importantly, how do you maintain a productive team environment when your team is divided? While these answers are specific to each individual enterprise, there are simple guidelines that can help you determine what is right for your team.

We’ve compiled 5 tips to help preserve company culture while working remotely and included examples our own practices that have proven helpful to the Tangent Systems family. While the timing of this advice is pandemic-related, these tips can be applied at any time to help improve remote work environments.

-Utilize a chat tool: Slack, Microsoft Teams, Facebook Workplace are some popular choices for quick and seamless work communication. Using a chat tool will decrease email clutter while increasing turn-around times. Many of these platforms provide supplementary tools like meeting calendars, organizational channels, file sharing and more. It’s also important to provide “watercooler” channels to encourage light, non-work exchanges between employees to replace the team-building banter that otherwise would have taken place in the office.  

-One company-wide daily check-in: We’ve transitioned our daily standups to a phone conference, although while we dial in from home, no one actually needs to stand up anymore.  The purpose of this short and sweet meeting is designed to allow each employee to summarize their tasks for the day, ask questions, raise awareness and stay connected to the activities of each department. This single call helps avoid micromanagement while still keeping everyone in the loop.

-Video conferencing at a regular frequency: Video chats for your team can be incredibly helpful to maintain relations and put a face to all of the emails exchanged throughout the week. Each company will find an interval that suits them best, but keep in mind there is such a thing as too many video meetings. As video chat fatigue sweeps the nation, employees are turning to social media to vent their frustrations that these meetings could often be accomplished through a quick phone call or email where they’re not forced to halt productivity. That said, starting at once or twice a week is a great place to start.

-Active listening: Staying aware of employee-needs is paramount for productive remote work. This Fast Company article explains that company core values should be updated regularly (especially during quarantine) and that this can be accomplished by gathering employee feedback and then analyzing, defining and implementing those values.

-Flexibility: This final tip is possibly the most important while we all adjust to the radical changes we face during the pandemic. For example, parents are not only working from home, they’re child-rearing and managing their kids’ transition to remote learning at the same time. There are countless other pandemic-related issues wreaking havoc on our schedules, so remember to allow employees to alter their hours, move meeting times, occasionally join a meeting without their video on, etc., within reason. Being open to change is vital to any transition and it will ease employee stress.

These tips won’t create a company culture out of thin air, but they will certainly help maintain whatever you established pre-coronavirus. Bottom line: open the lines of communication for your employees, listen closely to their needs and be ready to adapt when necessary.

Tell us in the comments what steps you’ve taken to maintain your company culture during self-isolation. Do you have other insights that have helped boost morale or productivity?

Stay tuned next week for a discussion on transitioning back to the office safely and efficiently.

Continue reading

Subscribe now.

Get a bi-monthly update with helpful guides and insights.