The majority of you reading this now are most likely working remotely - some of you may have found it a blessing in disguise and some of you may be wishing you were back in the office. Working from home is not for everyone though many find that you currently have no other choice given the impact of COVID-19.
"In the last 15 years, regular work at home employment has grown 173 percent. That’s 11 percent faster than the rest of the workforce (1)".So what can we do to keep morale high and ensure we are encouraging unity within the work day?
Firstly, communication platforms are vital in keeping a company running smoothly day to day. Without a platform to collaborate on or upload content, email threads get longer and important information gets lost in the inboxes. A communication platform allows you to keep up to date in real time with the use of instant messages, discussion boards & notifications for quick updates. You may not always have time to wait for an email reply so a chat feature can be very helpful for speedy responses making for more efficient work. As statesman, scientist, and philosopher Benjamin Franklin famously quoted, 'Remember that time is money'.
Secondly, make time to chat about non-work related topics. Some companies may refer to this as a water cooler or team social. Simply have a break with a colleague to discuss your hobbies and interests outside of work, although this may usually be done in the break room or whilst grabbing a coffee together, this can now be done via a video conferencing tool when working remotely. Have a chat about your surroundings, familiarise yourself with theirs.
"Host a virtual happy hour or virtual lunch break, something that is agenda free and meant purely for socializing. It’s also a great opportunity to introduce your children or pets — something you rarely have the chance to do in an office setting(2)."
Thirdly, make sure to show appreciation for your team and give credit where credits due. "One great way to impart the feeling that work is appreciated is to give company-wide shoutouts to individual employees or teams for specific achievements. This will remind individuals and teams that their work is contributing an overall mission and keep everyone privy to company successes (1)." It's one of the ways a good business thrives - yes we want the industry labour wheels to be turning, but we also need to ensure that the people turning those wheels feel valued, and their hard work is being acknowledged.
Arguably, business is a type of community. Belonging to this community creates a sense of unity, adding value to the overall success of the business.
‘Your brand and mission is a centre of gravity, pulling a group of those nodes together’(3)
The ‘nodes’ are anyone the business has a relationship with, ranging from employees, clients and fans. The ‘community onion’ concept helps visualize these individual layers of a business community. The layers are:
As these members have different purposes, they will require various methods to be kept engaged when working remotely. Social media and zoominars can actively promote participation in the community, and unite a business's many members. This highlights the importance of technology when working remote as an essential form of communication. Whilst team chats and catch-ups may be useful for teams, joining a webinar or an onboarding session would provide a sense of belonging to the business community for a new client.
‘When an existing community is strengthened, people who once felt marginalized now find validation.’(5)
Having a community is also cost efficient, as recognising and meeting customer needs means customers are likely to be satisfied. A community grows loyalty, it fulfils the human desire to belong to something. Now more than ever, as we face uncertain times people crave the support that comes from belonging to a community. Especially when working remote- having a form of engagement within a community, helps us to feel less isolated and work more productively.
Whether you are enjoying working from home or are missing the buzz of the office, we hope this provides you with tips on how to increase unity across your business when working remotely - from instant messaging and video conferencing to the water cooler!