Over the past year, many South African businesses and their employees were thrown head-first into the world of remote working for the first time.
Some employers found this new approach has enabled them to reduce operating costs and increase productivity. Meanwhile, many employees enjoy the flexibility of their new working arrangements.
Yet, some business leaders who have transitioned to a remote workforce feel like something is missing.
After a prolonged period of working from home, many employees may begin to feel lonely and disconnected from a larger purpose. This is all about culture and morale and how it is developed within the office environment.
Before COVID-19, remote work for companies wasn’t commonplace since culture developed through face-to-face contact. Business leaders had worked hard to create a culture for their organisation as it played a central role in attracting, retaining, and developing talent.
Although not all elements of the office experience can be replicated in a remote world, there are several aspects companies can change to develop a culture in an era of remote work.
Here are 6 great ideas about how leaders and companies can empower staff to connect and share ideas:
1. Daily Video Coffee Talks
A morning coffee meeting over a video call with the team is a great way to start the day. This helps to get team members set for a day of productivity.
2. Friday Lunches
Friday lunches are a good way for leaders to connect with their teams.
Every Friday, or once a month, employees could be invited to a team lunch and eat together on a conference call, with topics and presenters varying every week.
3. Printable Activities
Working from home when schools close for holidays or lockdowns can get a little crazy.
Offering printable books with activities like colouring books or scavenger hunts is an excellent way to show appreciation for parents in the workforce.
In addition to giving the little people ‘work’ to do, it can be fun for everyone to show each other their children’s artwork.
4. Offering Small Incentives
Giving away some weekly or monthly prizes (gift cards, chocolates, etc.) to high performers and those who go the extra mile is a great way to build morale and enthusiasm.
5. Slack Channels
Tools like Slack are great for building remote communities where employees can share their interests and experiences.
One idea is a wellness channel, where team members can share mindfulness tips, at-home workouts, and new recipes to try.
Another is a movie and TV channel, where they can chat about what they’re watching and recommend shows and films to each other.
6. Water Cooler Channels
By Gerhard Hartman, VP: Medium Business, Sage Africa & Middle East.