Remote and Hybrid work are the new normal. Organisations are slowly recovering from the pandemic and are trying out different ways of connecting while ensuring no disruptions in the value generated. To have a thriving team with your virtual team, you need to bring your culture online, appreciate the good work, share stories and celebrate successes.
It is an insurmountable task to keep morale high and nurture a bonding and sense of belonging high in an environment where all the team is not sharing a physical space. While many were used to an offshore model where the team is distributed across geographies and different time zones, the challenges seem to be different when team members are working from home instead of in an official environment.
Because of this, the traditional culture of meeting face-to-face in meetings, small talk and luncheons, etc., have been missed a lot. Such occasions play a great role in collaboration, problem solving and camaraderie. Apart from that working from home poses a challenge where the distractions are high and responsibilities of the team have been interfered with family commitments especially for team members with children. Also, working from home develops a feeling of mistrust in gauging the efforts of the team as they are physically not present.
Creating and nurturing a virtual work culture has several challenges. Without a proper plan for creating a virtual culture, employee morale will go down and burnout will sneak in. To nurture a virtual work culture, you need to identify and create balance and limitations with managers and employees. You need to have the skills to support and promote a healthy virtual culture.
Here are some tips to nurture habits that build a culture that ensures employee well-being as well as productivity of the company:
How to avoid mistrust?
It is difficult to shoo away the feelings of mistrust when you are not sure whether your employees are working or are watching Netflix all day long. The key solution for this challenge is to depend on the outcomes or the value the employee is providing instead of the number of hours he/she clocks in. If your company ties the performance to the hours, then it is time to change the way you measure the effectiveness. The goals should be tied to a timeline and if your employee is meeting the deadlines or provides a genuine reason for missing them, then there is no need to hold the feelings of mistrust and lack of control.
How to generate a sense of belonging?
If you think virtual lunches or virtual coffee breaks are all you have to do to have a sense of belonging then you are on the wrong side. Yes, they provide a way to unwind from the workload but it is not all that is needed.
A sense of belonging comes from a common purpose and working towards it as a team. Keep everyone aware of what needs to be achieved and most importantly why it is needed. An employee who is proud of what they are doing is most likely to perform better than the person who thinks it is a drudgery. A person laying bricks works happily and efficiently when he knows that he is building a palace and his team is working towards building a beautiful one. Ownership and accountability follows.
How to understand employees’ needs?
First in order to address employee needs, there should be an ongoing effort and framework to listen to them. Accessibility plays a key role in this. Building a framework needs a genuine effort towards engaging with them regularly and consistently. This should be done vehemently because being heard is a great reason for the employee to stick to the company.
How to maintain a work-life balance?
Work-Life balance sounds like there are two contradicting entities on either side of the balance fighting for more attention. But in reality they go together hand in hand with each of its own priorities at different times of the day. It is more of managing the priorities rather than thinking in contradictory terms. You should empathise with the employee when his personal life needs more attention and accommodate accordingly. As long as the goals are met the employee should not be bothered with unnecessary restrictions like regular work hours.
How to ensure effective communication?
As many organisations have already done, going digital is the only way in either remote or hybrid environments. In some cases some have to be on the field and on the go. Choosing the right technology that suits your needs is most crucial.
Whizzyle is a business communication tool that enables you to perform focussed conversations. It is where you can chat with an agenda in place. It is action biased as each conversation on a particular topic has its own task list. Download the app at https://whizzyle.onelink.me/Nvxs/join