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Maintaining Workplace Cultures across Remote Workplaces

When we contact our clients, we often get feedback about how we, Verus, are very consistent in our approach, our findings, delivery and professionalism. I put this down to our culture. Workplace culture is all about patterns of behaviours, interactions, rules (both written and unwritten), and the ways people either live up to or ignore the values and beliefs they embrace. It was formed by how my peers and I operated in our work environment. Our work environment has changed, perhaps not as significantly as some workplaces as we always worked from home, however it has definitely changed.

For most of us our COVID19 culture has certainly been impacted in many ways, with many of us working from home and managing our own work environment, by company strategies being revised, by systems and work practices changing, risk profiles being updated and roles being altered.

Workplace culture makes your business unique, gives it a personality and feel. A positive workplace culture, drives engagement, impacts happiness and satisfaction, and affects performance. When our employees talk positively about the business, it also builds reputation, branding and attracts talent. Now that many businesses have gone from defined workplaces to many if not hundreds of satellite workplaces, building and/or maintaining culture in this new way of working needs to be re-imagined, as we no longer have the physical interaction, the conversations, observations and conditions that aided with culture when we all worked together in one place, that was designed to impact on worker health, comfort and how you feel.

So, what are some of the things we can do as people leaders to assist with building a refined culture that continues to reflect the shared values, beliefs and trust that we previously had? In particular, maintaining those cultural elements that keep workers safe, no matter where they are working, here are several points to consider:
  • Share a clear strategy and vision, be transparent and explain to workers how decisions were made.
  • Regularly communicate with workers about business performance, relate it to them and the organisation’s strategy.
  • Challenge workers with projects that are meaningful and add value. Explain how their contribution effects the business.
  • Recognise effort when goals are met.
  • Don’t always talk business, we are working in our homes, our personal life is probably everywhere around us when we are on web conferences etc. don’t ignore it, show interest and genuine care. Obtain feedback from workers about what else they need, how they are coping and any help they may require. Show compassion and care.
  • Provide workers some choice around start and finish times. It will show compassion and adaptability, workers will appreciate the flexibility as they juggle homelife activities.
  • Managers must be proactive, rather than reactive, anticipating their people’s changing needs. Make time to consider these risks and opportunities.
  • Re-enforce effective risk management practices, this may require upskilling to have your workers thinking more fluently about managing workplace risks.
  • Offer training and upskilling courses. There is a whole lot of IP in your people, improving their skills and knowledge is a win, win.

It’s not easy to maintain a healthy and positive culture when the WFH environment has so many distractions and challenges, with limited to no access to our traditional workplaces. Managers will need to be creative as they juggle incorporating some of the points listed above, progressing their own work, maintaining their own wellbeing and continually monitoring the effectiveness of their culture building strategies. Managers’ ability to adapt and manage worker needs, risks etc. will be one of the keys to a successful and positive workplace culture, no matter where the workplace is!
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