There is no question that COVID-19 has swiftly changed all aspects of our lives, from the start of lockdown
Businesses have been forced to close and others to work remotely, the change has ultimately created a new normal for everyone. Offices once being open, allowed employees to connect with one another and create relationships that have ultimately come to a halt since the start of quarantine. Your boss might have never known exactly how your life outside of the office was, but now working remotely your team could have seen your spouse making dinner or your children walking around in the background of your Zoom meeting.
Company culture has vastly changed during quarantine, some outcomes being better than others; in this article, these points will be discussed along with guidance on working remotely in an altered work environment.
The Workplace After Covid-19
Quarantine and lockdowns sweeping across the globe, companies and their employees have had to learn how to work from home efficiently.
Employees first adjusting to working from home, has gradually turned into a whole work culture change during coronavirus. Managers have had to lead their teams virtually, as employees needed to learn how to grasp instructions through emails and messaging as well as self-motivate. There are still ups and downs of working remotely that need to be smoothed out, but overall this can be a learning experience for years to come that can positively impact your organization.
Employee Trust – Trust has been a huge emotion that’s been able to connect people during the crisis. For companies especially, employees need to have trust with one another to make sure tasks are completed and company goals are met. Without this system of trust and loyalty, a company would not survive, so it’s a reassuring feeling knowing a business is still on its feet because of the bonds between employees.
Adapt & Strengthen – This is a time where companies with a shaky foundation can reinvent themselves and strengthen their culture’s bond. Employers have adopted new leadership mindsets to guide their employees and create a better environment for employees working remotely.
Family Feel – With everyone working from home, it’s likely that an employee or two has been interrupted by family matters while in a meeting. Employees understand that some others may be teaching their children at home alongside their normal workday, or general household chores, resulting in the culture being more understanding of family affairs, all of which can strengthen bonds within the company.
Emotional Support – Employers will need to find ways to emotionally connect and let their employees know that they are heard even without that in-person interaction. Since most companies are completely working from home, it’s going to be tough for employers to create real connections with employees as well as an overall safe work environment.
Negative Environment – If your company’s work culture has embedded pessimistic and negative building blocks, it’ll be hard to rebuild a positive atmosphere with employees working remotely and no way to work at creating an optimistic atmosphere in the office. The worst-case scenario would be the culture ultimately being too packed with negative opinions and perceptions that any new employee that comes on board would become dismissive to the situation in order to keep their job.
Slacking Off- Managing and watching over employees as closely as it was done in the office is virtually impossible due to the circumstances. From their freedom at home, employees in some cases will have the tendency to slack off and get distracted from their workday. Leaders will have to balance motivating employees from home without the initial trust from meeting them in-person while avoiding micromanaging so that employees don’t feel as if they are being intruded on.
For the most part, the work culture change during Coronavirus has been difficult for all parties involved, but it has also been a time for people to unify and find new ways to work together, ultimately keeping businesses and industries running. Instilling a positive work mindset into your everyday schedule will help all get through these times and accept this new way of working.
Creating a Positive Company Culture
A renowned expert in culture change and author of Humble Leadership, Edgar Schein, stated, “Leaders must show that with complex, messy, systemic, interconnected problems like responding to Covid-19 or the next pandemic, collaboration must escalate as a central value in producing new, better and innovative adaptations.” Below is a list of tips to incorporate into your own business work culture:
Empathize – Not having in-person interactions can be tough to read a person and how they are connecting with you. Make sure to empathize with others whether you are the employer or employee to show others you are a trust-worthy person. Remember to listen and respond caringly to others to create a safe and reliable work atmosphere for all.
Stay Positive – No one wants to have a call with someone or enter a Zoom meeting with another worker that sounds miserable. If you are one of the first people in a meeting, you’ll likely be the one setting the tone for everyone else, so don’t sound negative on your end. You don’t need to be cheering with excitement but be mindful of how you respond to others. Start each day with an optimistic outlook, remember you are not alone during this crisis.
Check-Ins – If you are a leader, make sure to set up occasional check-ins with your team and employees to keep everyone on the same page. For jobs that are more independent, it also creates a nice break up of the day to chat with other employees and refreshes them before diving back into work.
Clear Communication – Make sure all tasks and goals for the day are clearly directed and communicated to all employees involved. Working remotely can sometimes lead to miscommunication, state tasks clearly and ask questions to ensure assignments don’t slip through the cracks. Clear communication will result in a stronger team outcome.
Celebrate Success – Keep the culture energy up by celebrating even the smallest accomplishments. It’s important to praise and congratulate one another during a time where people feel unenergized and dreary. Celebrating successes will boost the morale of the company.
It’s clear that this hasn’t been an easy time for anyone, drastic lifestyle changes have happened and new ways of communicating have formed. The world does not seem like it will be going back to the old way of life anytime soon, so it’s crucial for leaders and employees to bind together and create a trustworthy and motivating environment for all. Times are evolving but remember some changes will be for the best.
This blog post is written by David Pittaway, he is a creative content writer for an NYC based digital agency, Aumcore helps brands and companies improve and optimize their user experience design to improve conversions across all platforms as well as aid with crafting their marketing strategies and approach to branding.