Whether this means flexible or complete remote working, there is no denying that the office ‘vibe’ will have changed forever.
In turn this could leave some employers facing the challenge of maintaining a company culture while many people aren’t actually in the office, says Peterborough-based recruitment firm Anne Corder Recruitment.
Recruitment partner Nel Woolcott said: “We know that the office landscape has changed for many, and while some staff have fully or partly returned to the workplace, there will be others – either existing employees or new starters – who continue to work remotely.
“Maintaining a company culture may prove challenging for some employers and/ or HR teams. It may not be possible to carry out the usual team-building activities and collaborative exercises they usually would, and connections between employees can start to weaken due to the distance.
“However, there are a number of ways to preserve the company culture while staff are working outside of the office. Transparency and communication are key – whether the news be good or bad; employees still want to feel part of the team, so engaging with them on all aspects of the business is key to inclusion, positivity and productivity.”
Nel added: “Employers may need to think a little more creatively about how they communicate their company culture, aspects of which may have changed due to the pandemic.”
Show confidence and trust in your employees. They have already proved they can work from home and studies show that employees who feel trusted are much more likely to have high levels of motivation and positivity, leading to stronger productivity rates.
When you can’t physically see and interact with workers in the usual office environment, it can be easy for trust issues to develop – but don’t fall into the trap of non-stop Zoom meetings or micro-management. Employees will respond much better if they are trusted with their own accountability.
Even the little things can make a big difference here. Maybe your office has a tradition of going out socially once a month, and although you might not be able to maintain that, try to come up with new ways to keep that sense of togetherness.
Look at remote working as a positive and a way of enhancing the life of your staff. Remote working allows employees to be more flexible with their working hours and gives them new ways to establish and maintain a good work/life balance. Allow them to make a few adjustments and alterations in order to work more happily.
Roll out the virtual red carpet when onboarding new starters. If you are unable to do a face to face meet and greet with the team initially, arrange a virtual introduction meeting and tour of the office to make them feel welcome. Make sure your company information pack us up to date with resources that will help them get to know the company, its history, values, strategy, key client analytics and product portfolio.
Coach the existing team on their role in onboarding the newcomers. Ask for volunteers to serve as a “buddy” for the person, but don’t leave it completely to them on how to serve in the role. Ask for their ideas on how they could have benefited from having a “buddy,” and add some of your own expectations for the process.
Adjusting to remote working has been a challenge for a lot of people, leaving many feelings pressured, scared, confused, and lonely. Not everyone is finding the adjustment easy so remain attentive and list to employee needs – keeping communication channels and social connections open at all times.