How to build remote work culture to support virtual teams. Four key factors employers should focus on when building a remote work culture.

Employees aren’t ready to rush back into the office just yet. Half of them, understandably, are still worried about the risks of COVID-19, according to a recent survey by Korn Ferry. 

The good news is that nearly 65 percent of workers think they’re more productive at home anyways. In fact, roughly 75 percent of employees said that they’ve been able to maintain or improve their productivity at home in another survey by Boston Consulting Group (BCG). 

The most challenging part of switching to a virtual workforce is building a remote culture that keeps employees connected and allows for fluid communication and collaboration at all levels. 

How to Build Remote Work Culture to Support Virtual Teams

Strong remote work cultures streamline communications to help keep teams connected and on task. BCG recommends employers implement new systems, norms, and technologies to support four key factors (social connectivity, mental health, physical health and workplace tools) that build a strong remote work culture with success strategies including:

  • Identifying ways to maximize social connectivity among employees
  • Creating awareness, tools, and benefits that support the mental and physical health of all employees
  • Investing in and building capabilities to use the technologies, tools, and systems that enable employees to work and collaborate remotely
  • Measuring employee productivity in conjunction with employee perceptions
  • Ensuring that the transitions between respective team norms for onsite and remote are as smooth as possible, giving employees a cohesive experience that feels designed, not random

“While COVID-19 has caused great personal, health, and economic hardship, it has also presented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reinvent the workplace,” said Debbie Lovich, a BCG managing director and senior partner. “And doing so will be essential if companies are to meet employee desires for flexibility while harnessing their potential for productivity and remaining competitive when it comes to recruiting and retaining the best talent.”

Remote Work Culture and Employee Recognition

Employee recognition is an important part of workplace culture and nearly half of employees have been frustrated about their efforts not being recognized in a remote work environment, according to a survey by Prodoscore. When asked how they would feel about a tool that would allow their daily contributions to be recognized versus only the end result, 80 percent responded positively.

“We were not surprised to learn that the majority of employees surveyed were not only open to giving employers visibility into their workday but welcomed it,” said Sam Naficy, CEO of Prodoscore.

When asked what would be most beneficial to their remote productivity, over 30 percent of employees said visibility software that identifies ways to be more efficient, 25 percent said collaboration tools and 21 percent said video conferencing. 

Employees want their employers to find ways to recognize their hard work in a remote setting and they also want tools to help them communicate and collaborate with their teammates more easily. 

According to BCG, even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over, 60 percent of employees want to maintain some flexibility in where and/or when they work. Many employers have started looking into ways to extend remote work offerings to reduce overhead costs, expand their talent recruitment pool, increase job satisfaction and bolster retention efforts. 

It’s all the more reason to focus on building a strong remote work culture now and improved communication is key to achieving that. 

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