The way we work is fundamentally shifting. The classic 9-5 job in an office has fallen behind. Remote work has taken over, and along with it the predominant mindset has become "as long as you get the job done."
As the next generation of employees is facing a radically different working environment, it is up to the new generation to build the processes that ensure productivity, morale, and a cohesive remote work culture. Forget the old ways of thinking; it is time for innovation to shine and for millennials to prove that we will push the world forward.
One of the biggest concerns you hear is surrounding remote work culture. How can we maintain the value that in-person work brings, from a cultural standpoint, in a remote world?
- Trust your employees.
- Build a framework of structure.
- Offer non-work activities/incentives.
- Team retreats.
Let's dive in.
Trust Your Employees
I hear of so many companies that have insane micro-managing tactics when it comes to overseeing their employees. How tiring!
If I am going to hire someone, I'm hiring them because I trust them to do their job. If you have to micro-manage, then YOU are the problem! You've either hired the wrong person or don't know how to efficiently manage people.
In order to build a strong work culture, you need to have employees who believe in you and the business. If you can't trust your staff, then they won't trust you, and thus you are setting yourself up for a toxic work culture.
"I'm scared my employees will get distracted and not be productive working remotely."
People 200+ years ago thought that tomatoes were poisonous. Sound irrelevant? It isn't. The norm of society influences our thinking and status quo.
We think that employees will get distracted and not be productive if they aren't in the office, and you are right, if you hire the wrong employees. Hire people who aren't passionate for what you are doing and yes, you will get frustrated. Hire the right people and this "status quo" will slowly evaporate as our economy begins to realize that people can be even more productive when they have more autonomy over their time.
Build a Framework of Structure
Following up on the last point, it is all about believing in your team and giving them the autonomy to succeed. Autonomy does not mean just letting people run free, it means giving structure that helps strengthen the independence of your team.
Not everyone works the same way, we all learn differently and thus, have different pathways to optimal efficiency. As a company, it is your job to play to your employees strengths.
Give your team the sandbox to play within.
It is YOUR job to build the sandbox, put in the sand, and provide the tools to play with.
It is THEIR job to build the castle.
If you tell them that they have to build their castle within the hours of 9-5 and can only have a one hour lunch break and don't have the freedom to be creative and aren't allowed to wear shoes in the sandbox and etc. etc. etc...you make the project of building a sand castle a whole lot less fun.
Offer Non-Work Activities/Incentives
You don't have an office, so you need to get creative. The intention of non-work activities/incentives is to build camaraderie, to show your team members that you care about THEM and not just the work that they do.
Here are some fun remote ideas:
- Monthly Snack Package — let your employees pick up to $50 of snacks/drinks that you ship them every month
- Education Programs — do different team training sessions that invests in your employees as professionals, not just their relevant skillset (leadership seminar, etc.)
- Online Escape Room — a fun activity that gets the team out of their day-to-day habits
- Virtual Happy Hour — everyone gets to expense up to $20; jump on a call as a team and make your own cocktails and hang out to wrap up the week
This one is a bit tougher if you are strapped on cash, so that is why I am touching on it last. Barring COVID (I don't condone unsafe travel!), schedule some time for your team to actually get together and hangout. Do a retreat in a fun city, expense the entirety of the trip for everyone (flights, housing, a few meals each day) and enjoy one another's company. Don't do work, just have fun - get to know each other as people, as friends. Build mutual respect and hype up the team energy on the mission of your business.
Whether this resonates with you or not, there is no denying that the world is changing. So it's up to you, are you going to resist the change or are you going to adapt to tomorrow's world?
At Aloa, we're choosing to adapt.
Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions! I'd happily talk through our strategies and approach.