As Arizona and other parts of the country see spikes in coronavirus cases, many companies are allowing employees to continue working remotely.
Lynda McKay, owner of HRextension, an HR consulting firm in Phoenix says, “Working remotely isn’t a new concept, however, it is incredibly new to many employees right about now. For many people, this could be the first time in their career that they are working from home. It comes with new challenges for everyone, including management.”
Below are a few tips for companies to create or maintain a strong culture while working remotely:
• Team and company unity is a must: Maintaining team and company unity when everyone is physically and mentally apart everyday all week must take intentional agreed upon, unified effort on the company supervisors, managers and leaders; this means an established plan and accountability for follow-up.
• Consistent and interesting communication: What makes any company strong, with a strong culture, at any time is consistent and interesting communication. Setting up webcam meeting with everyone from the team is fine but chaotic to say the least. Though, ongoing weekly planned, employee to supervisor meetings, with webcam or not, is what is truly needed. No longer do we see our employees in the hallway, lunchroom etc. making it easy to connect.
• Company leaders need a plan: Company leaders need to determine and agree upon collectively how each leader will actively connect with team members each week, as well as their peers. Example: A team leaders agree that a one to one weekly call to each employee is required and documented via a simple agreed upon format. Communication questions established as a guide (not to be used as an interview), to generate good weekly discussions. These calls need to be no more than 15 minutes and include dialogue on 3 work topics and 2 personal topics.
• Personal Connections: Work is now very personal because it is being done in employee’s personal homes. You may see family members or hear pets on a calls. It’s acceptable to ask how the family is, what everyone is doing to keep busy, how are the children, etc.
• Leadership meetings: Each week, a meeting should be established for leaders to re-group and discuss what’s going on with their employees. This could be done by department or dividing a large team into groups. This will allow company leaders to hear updates of success, challenges and home life events, etc.
• Daily/Weekly Polls: Daily or weekly check in polls are a great action item to add in addition to the 1:1 communications (not as the only action); easy quick polling of giving a weekly rating of work can provide where the concerns of inclusion are suffering. Examples: Ask employees to rate 1 (lowest) – 4 (highest), things like, ‘last week was very challenging” or “I had great interaction with my coworkers this week”…items like this are very telling where a supervisor could proactively intervene.
Lynda McKay, certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) has more than 25 years of experience as an employee benefits and HR consultant. She founded HRextension in 2017 and offers a variety of services such as managing HR Helplines, employee hiring and firing, payroll and benefits, employee handbooks, exit interviews, legal compliance and much more. To learn more about her expertise, visit: http://www.hrext.com.