While many aspects of U.S life make their slow return to normal, one thing has become clear — the workplace as we knew it may never be the same. Sprawling organizations like Dropbox and Twitter have announced that all employees are permitted to work from home permanently. Even more companies have opted for hybrid models that offer employees a few days per week in the office.
According to a recent study by Upwork, by 2025, 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely, an 87% increase from pre-pandemic levels. Knowing this, many organizations are scrambling to find ways to maintain a positive work culture outside of a traditional office setting.
If your organization is planning to adopt a remote or hybrid work environment for 2021 and beyond, consider these suggestions to maintain morale and strong company culture:
- Be thoughtful of one another. While working from home has many perks, small moments of acknowledgment and socializing among colleagues are often lost outside of the office. Therefore, it is important to find ways to recognize and support one another. Here at Lovell, a team member designed a set of postcards to send to all employees along with a handful of stamps and home mailing addresses. Employees are encouraged to send these cards to one another to simply say hello or thank you. Although a small gesture, receiving this simple act of kindness can have a big impact on our working relationships as employees and friends.
- Stay connected as peers. According to numerous studies, employees often cite feelings of isolation as a primary downfall of remote work. Hosting online get-togethers like coffee chats, virtual board games, or happy hours are easy ways to encourage employees to take time to relax while building lasting relationships with their co-workers.
- Encourage clear boundary-setting. Many people agree working remotely helps achieve a better work-life balance. However, living and working in the same physical space can easily blur the boundaries of “on” and “off” time, throwing off the desired balance. Helping teams and individuals to set communication guidelines, including clearly defined work hours and lunch breaks, can help employees produce quality work and boost morale.
- Offer opportunities for growth. As we transition to accepting remote work as a norm, many employees fear they will not have access to the same opportunities for advancement and growth as their in-office colleagues. As opposed to seeing remote work as a hinderance to growth, empower employees to develop new skills and proficiencies that can take their work to the next level. Successful remote and hybrid employees must be great communicators, time-management experts, and great trouble-shooters in times of crisis. Take advantage of this new frontier to support employees in reaching their goals and becoming the best team members they can be by considering time and financial support for professional development courses that offer personal satisfaction and benefit to the organization.
Hollis Baker served as Lovell Communications’ first virtual intern. Her experience working with our team remotely will serve her well as she graduates from Spelman College and enters the workforce in today’s new environment.