Building a strong company culture and HR policies to match can be challenging enough when you have all of your employees and managers in one location. In a work environment that has shifted to a remote-driven workplace, those in HR have their jobs cut out for them in more ways than just one.
When all employees, or at least the majority of employees, were based in one location, there was a level of control that the HR department had and was able to leverage. With staff spanning multiple locations, HR policies need to lay out more specific guidelines that hold employees accountable and set them up for remote success. Work-from-home opportunities aren’t going anywhere, and have truly embarked on becoming the workplace of the future.
Distinguish Work Practices
Spell out how employees will communicate with each other. What situations prompt an email vs. a phone call vs. a virtual chat? Build out a plan for communication by clarifying what is most important for conversations had with customers; speed, quality, amount? When taking a look at different roles within the company, determine the workday length for each. For example, a specific managerial position might be expected to work 60-80 hours a week, while an associate role should be prepared to work 40-45.
Adopt Collaborative Tools
Communication is critical for a business to be successful when everyone is in one location, let alone multiple places. With the amount of remote-specific software options available, it’s easy to find a tool that fits the communication policy explained in the work practices section. For example, Slack is great for real-time chat threads focused around certain ideas, topics, or projects. Then you have Zoom for video meetings and conferencing, or an occasional Friday happy hour. Find a tool that covers every communication facet needed.
Coordinate In-Person Events
Despite working remotely, don’t forget or underestimate the importance of in-person connection when it can be done safely. Choose a frequency for events and execute accordingly. Many companies will hold a yearly “state of affairs” type of event where half the day is spent discussing company goals, and the other half involves team-building activities and more personal socialization. Award ceremonies are another great event to get everyone together in the same location. Celebrate accomplishments and milestones for those who deserve recognition. Throughout the year, when possible, it’s good to mix in community outreach activities. All are great ways to boost company morale and highlight company culture.
Once policies are in place, continue the focus on developing and reminding what a specific company’s culture is all about for every remote employee.
Keep Staff Informed
Whether it’s a project, a timeline, or a pandemic, make sure every employee is aware of the information they need to know and sometimes might want to know when you can provide it.
Set Clear Objectives
Working from home doesn’t allow managers to physically check-in on how things are going. So it’s necessary to tell direct reports what is expected and how you can guide them through the process of accomplishing it.
Facilitate Secure Environments
Employees should feel safe working from whatever location they are from both a physical and digital standpoint. Knowing the importance a company puts on security gives the staff a sense of ease and future job candidates a comforting reason to be interested in a company.
What is the most important HR policy enacted for a remote-work environment, and what is it about company culture that keeps remote workers engaged and successful? Join the conversation on LinkedIn and check out How to Motivate Remote Workers.