3 Ways WFH has Affected Your Company Culture
It’s pretty much been a year – give or take just a few days – since many companies asked employees to work from home.
So we’ve been wondering: how has this changed the culture at those businesses that now have most of their workforce working from home?
A discovery: remote work IS viable!
Perhaps the first thing that changed in C-suites and in the minds of company leaders and managers is that remote work definitely is doable. Telecommuting did grow in the years before the pandemic, albeit it slowly: Brookings.edu in April likened this “inertia” to “sticky work cultures as well as a lack of interest from employers in investing in the technology and management practices necessary to operate a remote workforce.”
But the lockdowns and move to remote work where feasible showed companies that telework is more than doable and even has many benefits: employee productivity increased, as did employee morale and engagement.
Still, the change is a big one:
- Employees with school-aged children had to figure out how to work from home while helping their little ones tackle remote learning.
- Since many schools have remained shuttered as the pandemic has continued, many working mothers are experiencing burnout: 9.8 million working mothers, actually.
- Employee oversight is an issue for some employers: sales of surveillance software skyrocketed in the last year. (The impact on the employer/employee relationship is to be determined.)
Your company culture, therefore, undoubtedly has changed in three particular areas
- Co-worker relationships are…different.
While Zoom meetings and other virtual get-togethers do help co-workers connect, they’re just not the same as working together in person. No longer can colleagues run down the hall for a quick brainstorm session and no more lunch dates with co-workers.
Work friendships matter. In fact, it’s the number one place where colleagues make friends because of the convenience of it: have enough in-person team meetings and just watch friendships form!
What’s more, having at least one friend at work has been shown to increase enjoyment, productivity, and even employee loyalty.
- Many employees are having a hard time disconnecting from work.
While no company truly wants their workers to be “on” 24/7, many remote workers report saying it’s difficult “unplugging from work.”
- Employees may start feeling no one is “seeing” them.
Such invisibility has good and not-so-good points: workers may feel no one notices when they do good work…or when they behave poorly.
Turn these “negatives” into positives
Here are some suggestions as to what you, the employer, can do:
- First, acknowledge the negatives. Ignoring them and hoping they’ll resolve themselves never works. Look at them as making the positives of remote work (no commute, more life/work flexibility, etc.) even better while improving upon the “negatives.”
- Make it “policy” that no one will work more than the usual 8 hours in a day (with some exceptions for major deadlines, as needed, etc.).
- If your office is open for in-house work, offer the option of coming in to work (if employees feel safe doing so). Many employees certainly appreciate having no commute, but they desperately miss collegial interaction.
- As you offer remote work, also offer “flexible” work. Let your team know they can log off for a couple of hours for a long lunch, or log on later, so long as work is done. (In fact, if employees complete a day’s work early, let them know they can “end work” early.
Remote work more than likely will continue at high levels once the pandemic ends. Now that employers and employees have experienced the good and bad aspects of it, it should be relatively easy to tweak the practice so that everyone can enjoy the best features of it moving forward.
If your business has a need for IT and finance/accounting professionals, learn more about how The Intersect Group can help you find them.