How to Sustain Morale While Working From Home
Jed Ayres, Global CEO, IGEL
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote working was a bit of an anomaly. Traditional office spaces created the means for workers to stay proactive, motivated, and successful – or so we thought. COVID-19 has forced businesses into an experimental approach with some surprising trends that indicate employees are more devoted to a work from home lifestyle, and with studies suggesting higher performance levels, hikes in productivity, and overall increases in job satisfaction.
The future of work is changing shape – many businesses throughout the country will reportedly transition to a remote working environment to keep the momentum flowing, long after COVID-19. I’ve seen the benefits of this new way of life first-hand: no commute, more time with the family, and increased comfort from working in a home environment. Though sustaining a proper work ethic has never been easier for remote workers; sustaining employee morale is another story.
What is company culture?
Simply put, company culture is the environment in which we work. Zappos, Netflix, and Google have all established high reputations that praise their efforts in creating successful company cultures; treating the employees on their team as an investment in their company’s success. Employee social gatherings, catered work meals, continued education, and health and wellness perks are just a few of the popular amenities modernized businesses are offering to obtain high functioning workers. However, as organizations begin to transition to remote work, certain benefits need to be altered to reflect the changes in our working environment.
How do you maintain company culture in a remote world?
As employee gatherings and in-office gym memberships may be a luxury of the past, there are still a variety of means businesses can take to embody organizational culture.
Virtual happy-hours and employee hangouts.
Bringing new meaning to BYOB, businesses throughout the world are embarking on a favored tradition digitally – happy hour. Bosses and employees alike are meeting one night a week to sip on their preferred poison and catch up with the team, both professionally and personally. For those who opt-out of alcohol-related activities, digital hangouts are also becoming widely popular with apps like HouseParty that allow teammates to play games, trivia, and more.
Develop a culture team.
Members of your staff would thrive on the ability to sustain creative control in building a teamwide culture. Giving a voice to your staff more than builds morale but helps everyone feel part of a unit.
Phone Trees, Team Building, and more!
Encouraging your team to stay in communication is more crucial than ever. The advancements of technology make it easier and more seamless to stay in touch. Phone trees, in particular, are becoming increasingly widespread, emboldening staff to create a daily tree for each member to spend a few minutes with a fellow colleague, only to instruct them on who to call next. This ensures every member has been contacted by one of their teammates. Team Building exercises are also taking virtual work by storm with a series of questions and activities established to get to know each other better. These focused exercises build assurance, comfortability, and perhaps even blossoming friendships.
As most of us know, humans are quite malleable and can easily adapt to a variety of environments. As evidence suggests, the work from home benefits outweighs any negative connotations, with most workers pleased with their newly found working environment.
Managing a remote team.
Working remotely doesn’t just end with the workers, what about the managers and upper-level executives that are responsible for leading a variety of teams? We’ve easily grasped how to work from home, but how do we lead and inspire?
Communication is key.
It’s no surprise that communication is the underlying factor is being an effective manager, but executives need to step up their game, now more than ever, to ensure they are available, accessible, and aware of their staff’s needs.
Set up weekly individual meetings with members of your team.
Whether you have a team of five or sixty-five, it’s important to give each individual a few minutes of your time to discuss their new working situation, the tasks at hand, but more importantly, how they are doing. Asking subordinates how they’re feeling and how they’re maintaining a work from home balance, gives them a sense of ease and comfort when communicating with top corporate officials. Understanding where your team is at both professionally and personally will help guide the company as a whole to a well-rounded and well-communicated establishment.
Invest in mental health.
Online counseling and apps such as HeadSpace may give members of your team the much-needed support to adapt to remote working, seclusion, and loneliness. As society caters to a better understanding of what workers need to sustain a healthy outlook on work and on life, managers should take the time to discuss these topics with the team and offer professional assistance as needed.
Traditional work, as we know it, has dramatically changed. From before COVID-19 to the future of what remains, one thing is for sure; humans are spirited and headstrong, and if it’s any consolation from the brilliant minds of Bill Gates, who created Microsoft from his parent’s house, or Jeff Bezos, who started Amazon in his garage – one thing is for certain: work is something you do, not somewhere you go.
About the Author: As Global CEO, Jed Ayres leads IGEL’s seasoned team of executive leaders as the company works to align with the world’s most prominent cloud providers to transform end user computing by simplifying and securing the cloud-delivery of all needed applications and resources. Ayres brings more than 20 years of technology experience to IGEL and has a wide range of industry experience across workspace management, virtualization and mobility. Prior to joining IGEL, he was the SVP of Worldwide Marketing for AppSense and previously held the title as CMO at MCPc; a $300m+ Solutions Provider. Ayers has held a number of advisory board positions, including Citrix Platinum Council, VMware Global Partner Advisory Board, Hewlett Packard Partner Marketing Advisory Board and the Cisco Marketing Council. Ayres holds a BS in Business Administration from Sonoma State University and an MBA from San Francisco State University. He resides in Marin, California.