How Remote Workers and Telecommuting Affects Your Company Culture
Telecommuting is an increasingly popular option for businesses of all sizes. With modern technology, it is easy for workers to use conference calls, cloud storage, mobile apps, and other tools to work from home offices. Many businesses are switching to remote workers because it helps to save overhead costs and allows the business to scale up their workforce as needed. While there are many benefits to working from home, telecommuting can have an impact on the culture of your company.
How Do Remote Workers Affect the Company Culture?
Now more than ever, companies are replacing full-time workers with freelance employees. The effect that work-from-home employees have depends entirely on the current culture. Many technology companies have an environment that is ideal for telecommuters. The environment must be supportive for these employees, and it must encourage collaboration between all staff members. If the company is not currently supportive, the business can start by working from the executive team down to modify the corporate culture.
Preventing Common Pitfalls Among Remote Workforces
According to Entrepreneur, one of the biggest problems with remote employees is communication. It can be difficult to keep every employee in the loop if part of the workforce is at home. Some companies navigate this problem by developing an online community where staff members can interact. As a result, this creates an open environment for asking questions, having social conversations and figuring out solutions.
Other than ensuring clear communication, companies have to make sure that they are building a team spirit among their employees. Remote workers should contribute to making company decisions. Their opinions may be useful, and it also helps each worker to feel involved. Whenever possible, have employees come into the office to meet the rest of the staff. Forming these relationships is key for integrating the entire staff.
Learn About Each Employee
In a typical office environment, smart managers learn about each employee’s aptitudes, motivations, preferences and unique abilities. This same attitude should be transferred over to telecommuting. According to Forbes, learning about the employee should go beyond reading their resume so that the right person is always put into the right job. Employees should be encouraged to be just as self-aware about their motivations and capabilities.
Stick to the Company’s Traditions
A company’s traditions are a major part of their culture. Company picnics, holiday parties and annual cards all serve to create a sense of community. Each tradition helps to define the company culture and introduce new employees to the environment. Some businesses forget to involve online employees in their company’s traditions. Unfortunately, this can leave some workers feeling left out and can prevent telecommuters from learning about the culture.
The obvious solution to this problem is to involve everyone in the company’s traditions. New traditions like a monthly newsletter or awards for the month’s best employee can help to create an atmosphere where everyone feels involved. Staff members who like their company, their job and their co-workers will be more likely to continue working for the company.
Include Online Workers in Orientation Sessions
When someone is first hired by your business, you probably introduce them to their co-workers, discuss their job title and go over key details. This same approach should be used whenever you hire remote team members. Each new employee needs to learn about the details of the position, the company and the role that they will play. In addition, team member orientations can be conducted using teleconferencing, email or phone. Most of all, make sure that remote employees are just as knowledgeable about their job requirements as traditional workers are.
Remember to Include Casual Checkups
At the office, you often ask your team how they are doing or how their weekend was. It is normal to check up on employees at the office, and it helps your employees feel valued. Casual conversations can also take place with your online employees. This type of conversation helps to build relationships, increase trust and boost collaboration. Your remote workers may not have time to talk, but they will appreciate the fact that you cared. Over time, your casual conversations will also give you a better understanding of what your remote workforce needs to succeed and become involved in your company culture.
In conclusion, for many businesses, hiring remote employees may initially weaken their company culture. It does not have to be this way. Involving each worker in decisions, incorporating company traditions and ensuring collaboration will help to nurture your company culture.