Do you remember when, on live TV, a professor was famously interrupted during a news broadcast by his toddler walking in? Then his wife ran in to take the child away, and it was all captured by his camera and viewed live by the world.
The reaction to that interruption was understanding laughter, and that same scenario has been repeated in many a Zoom call since. Sure, there have been other kinds of slip-ups and mishaps, and that’s to be expected when working from home.
We’ve all struggled with the transition to remote work in 2020. But there’s a more dangerous force operating here, too. The loneliness that remote work causes can be isolating to an unhealthy degree. Company leaders must acknowledge the isolation and the effect it can have on employee health.
Trading a bustling office settling for a home office is a difficult swap. However, company leaders have the opportunity to keep their employees’ morale high by breathing new life into the remote company culture.
And what better time to try something new than in the new year?
New Year, New Habits
Studies show that, if you want to develop a new habit, the best time to start is at the beginning. Whether that’s the beginning of the week, month, or year, is up to you. Approach the day or the task like it’s a fresh, clean, blank page.
You don’t know what 2021 will bring. No one does. All we know is that it’s a clean slate, a fresh beginning for everyone to do better given the circumstances. So it’s the perfect time for company leaders to begin new cultural practice for remote work.
No one likes a chatterbox when they’re trying to work hard. However, the change to remote work has de facto eliminated all casual conversation between coworkers.
This is one way that company culture has fizzled out in 2020, but many companies have already taken steps to bring back casual conversation into the work-from-home setting.
Slack channels dedicated just to non-work conversations are a good option, as they help make sure informal conversations live on in a remote work world.
But it’s time to do more than that. Follow the lead of tech companies like Slido, which hosts special virtual get-togethers for team socializing. From Coffee/Tea(m) Time Tuesdays to Monday Morning Meetings, Slido prioritizes keeping their employees connected.
Make Meetings Great Again
Many companies have decided that there should be meetings for specific teams, for the whole staff, and, interestingly, for small groups. Conversations between small groups of random employees who might not have any reason to talk are an important way to keep company culture alive.
While they might not meet in the elevator, employees on different teams can meet through a pre-arranged Zoom breakout room or through Slack’s Donut feature.
The frequency of these meetings is up to you, but once a week team meetings are a must. Through polling, companies have discovered that video conferencing is an extremely important way to keep employees feeling connected.
All The News That’s Fit To (Digitally) Print
Keeping employees informed about how the company is performing is essential. While it used to be easy for a manager to drop in and tell a team member how things are going, now those updates get lost, either because of a lack of opportunity for that conversation to happen or because other tasks are prioritized.
Don’t let your employees feel like while they’re putting in the hours from home, they don’t have any idea about how the company is doing and therefore they aren’t really a part of it. Employees will feel disconnected and unmotivated to perform to the same levels they used to before remote work if this is how they feel.
Instead, send out a weekly newsletter with information about the progress the company is making. Status updates on important projects, as well as summaries of events and customer feedback, will show employees how their work fits into the big picture.
By starting fresh with the new year, opening up channels for informal conversation, holding multiple video meetings a week for different groups of employees, and sending out a company newsletter, you can breathe new life into your company culture.
Remote work makes life difficult, but it doesn’t have to be isolating. Your employees will appreciate you taking steps to keep your company culture alive.