How to Preserve Positive Culture When Making Work from Home Permanent

Does your team have the option to continue working remotely even as social distancing restrictions lift? While preserving a positive work culture can be made easier by eye contact, non-verbal cues, and across-the-table collaboration, many companies are weighing the pros and cons of returning to in-person work.

A lot of companies transitioned almost effortlessly to a fully distributed team as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and now as social distancing restrictions and stay at home orders lift, businesses are making the tough decisions about how to move forward. 

Companies have to make unique decisions on how, when, and if they will return to the office. And some companies are giving employees the option to work from home indefinitely. One of the most visible companies to adopt this model was Twitter.

While having the option to work from home is viewed positively by most workers, there are some unique challenges that need to be addressed to make sure culture is not damaged by a fully or semi-distributed team. At McKinley, we were “early adopters” of the distributed team movement. We have been working as a partially distributed team for over a decade. Here are three lessons we’ve learned on how to preserve positive culture when working from home.

How to Preserve Positive Culture When Making Work from Home Permanent

  1. Build connection and positive culture through recognition. During the unprecedented challenge of the pandemic, it’s vital to highlight and call out the contributions of team members. At McKinley, we do this in our staff meetings every single week highlighting how various staff members have put our company’s core values into practice as they serve our clients and consultants with excellence.
  1. Be more transparent than ever. Build trust with your team members by being frank about changes, challenges, and expectations. According to a report by Predictive Index, “in a fully remote workplace—frequent, transparent communication is critical. Executives should give status updates and answer questions weekly.” Transparency builds trust and loyalty.
  2. Encourage your teams to over communicate. It’s important to establish a level of communication that will help the team stay connected and on track to reach goals, especially as teams transition to establishing permanent work from home routines. Consider a more frequent cadence of communication. If it feels like too much you can always drop a meeting from the calendar. Distributed teams work well when expectations are clear and collaboration is celebrated.

Transitioning to our “next normal” of work is not easy. Many parents still don’t have childcare for their children. Other professionals deal with unseen battles with anxiety and depression that are heightened under uncertain circumstances. Remember, empathy breeds loyalty. Remind your employees that you understand these are unprecedented times and there is a level of grace that will be extended to everyone. Communication, celebration, and transparency are key pillars of preserving positive culture amidst transitions. 

by McKinley Marketing Partners