While many leaders fear that remote work has already somewhat diluted their organisation’s work culture, especially as rituals and ceremonies enacted in the office are inaccessible, the reality is if a business hasn’t made morale a priority, it has likely, unfortunately, slipped.
As a direct consequence of lockdowns, most of Australia’s white-collar workforce have been working remotely or from their home offices since the start of the global pandemic. Back in May 2020, JobAdder surveyed a few of its employees to determine the appetite of returning to the office and found that 90 per cent of employees were experiencing benefits from working from home.
Outside of JobAdder, the sentiment has remained the same for many workplaces. In fact, Employment Hero’s 2021 Remote Report found that remote work was still the most popular option (from 92 per cent in 2020 to 94 per cent in 2021). However, 31 per cent yearned for camaraderie from coworkers.
Under its “Team Anywhere” policy, Australian tech darling Atlassian announced in April this year that its team of over 5,700 staff worldwide would be able to work wherever they wanted. However, the company’s founders have made it their active mission to ensure they were building diverse distributed teams and prioritise bonds of belonging regardless of where they were working.
While the appeal for Zoom calls celebrating Friday night drinks may have faded away after the first few lockdowns, businesses are still making it their priority to ensure that team morale remains strong for remote workers. Whether through complementary therapy sessions, organising catch-ups outside of lockdown periods, or fostering inclusive ways of communications across the board, job satisfaction should remain high.
So how do SMEs bring scaling back onto the agenda when working remotely? The answer lies in the level of transparency they want to provide.
Simply, leaders can’t expect to have a positive and consistent company culture when employees are not informed about all relevant information regarding the company.
Ensuring the wider team is across the scaling plan, even briefly via regular team meetings, allows them to feel like they are part of the process.
When remote workforces, it’s also important that businesses establish a “one team, one dream” type of mindset. This is when everyone is working towards the same business mission and values, no matter their role or location.
Bosses can do this effectively by opening up a line of communication between different employees.
Whether that be through a team-wide Slack channel, regular meetings, or making introductions between employees in different locations. Rather than working in silos, workers should collaborate and compare strategies and how they can be adapted for different audiences and customers.
To ensure all team members get the same experience, remote onboarding should be streamlined and implemented across all regions so that all team members are provided with the same level of attention and information across the business.
At the end of the day, people make a business. Without the right team at the helm and the right processes and lines of communications put in place, a business won’t grow without the right work culture.
By Graham Moody, Chief People Officer at JobAdder