This week we are bringing you some ideas to help keep your company culture strong. Our tips are based on some of the smaller details our clients are noticing around remote work that can become bigger issues in our new virtual office setting. Perhaps you too are noticing a few cultural glitches as you become more familiar with working online and physically away from your traditional office location. You are not alone. Below are a few tips on how to improve the remote office environment.
This week’s TallSky topics for you:
- Virtual Offices and Distributed Work Forces – Tips to Drive Culture
- Government Updates: Paid Sick Leave
Virtual Offices and Distributed Work Forces – Tips to Drive Culture
Let’s talk about being ‘present’ during virtual meetings and conference calls. You may have experienced meetings where your employees don’t turn their cameras on, or perhaps they fall off the video (i.e. turn off the camera) part-way through a meeting. Do you wonder why they’re suddenly gone? Have they left the meeting, or just turned their camera off? If you’ve experienced this it may be time to set clear expectations about the protocols you expect from your team. They will be more engaged in the discussion and with their peers, and you will be able to assess their responses much more accurately. Think about instituting a process where conference calls and meetings must take place with the camera on at all times. This ensures all employees are ‘in the moment’ and truly present throughout your meeting, whether it is 1:1 or a team call.
Being connected through our video enables us all to see facial expressions, and ensures people are connecting with and understanding each other. It enables the host or the person speaking to feel more comfortable, engaged, and important. It also helps indicate body language and lets us see how people react and how they might be feeling. Whether you are on a FaceTime call, a Zoom meeting with your team, or in a virtual class, we encourage organizations to mandate a “Camera on” format for all calls and meetings.
In our virtual world, we are missing the contact and small moments that allow us to connect on both business and personal levels. Encouraging or helping arrange for your team members to coordinate a virtual coffee or tea date with you or a co-worker on a regular basis will help promote these connections. It will help fill the void of the lunch room or water cooler, and promotes curiosity and fellowship among employees. Some might think this is encouraging ‘wasted time’ when in fact it helps tremendously with our mental health and connection with each other. While not as spontaneous as traditional office practices where we often decide last minute to ‘go for coffee’, this can be a great alternative and could just be the perfect ‘pick-me-up’ needed to feel connected and have a chance to share experiences over coffee or lunch.
Core Business Hours
Lastly, working virtually opens up most people’s work day schedules so that home and personal life can be arranged around the work day and its flexibility that is truly valued by your employees. Being able to work early in the morning or late in the evening can be a positive aspect of our current reality, as it provides us with increased flexibility in our day, particularly if we’re juggling family life. Consider setting core hours when all of your team is online and working at the same time to increase the opportunity for spontaneous discussions, problem solving and keep the connections strong. While many of us are more productive working at home, there are some things that happen more quickly and efficiently when we’re all together. Core hours may only be a 3 or 4 hour block of time and might be two or three days out of five, but organizations who implement this type of work schedule will hopefully achieve the best of both worlds. One where we can focus and dedicate solo time to our work and another where the team works together (virtually) to brain-storm and exchange ideas, experiences and knowledge.
Government updates: Paid Sick Leave
There are early discussions starting at the federal level regarding the issue of paid sick leave. Our Premier is encouraged by this action and would like to see “fair and equitable paid sick leave programs that protect people and businesses”. Whether this becomes a legislated requirement or not, businesses will need to decide how to manage employees who are arriving to work ill or are symptomatic at the workplace. Clear guidelines and ideally, a sick policy will help inform and protect your employees and customers. Make sure you have considered this aspect in your COVID-19 Safety Plans.
Our team at TallSky Consulting continues to support our clients, new and valued. If there is anything we can do to assist you in completing your safety plan or drafting or updating policies, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We continue to offer our expertise as and when you need it, and from our virtual offices to yours.
DISCLAIMER: The information is provided as general information on these topics, and given the rapidly evolving environment, they may not be relevant with recent updates or changes on the topic. These materials are not meant to be a substitute for specific legal advice. Please do not rely solely upon this information for making decisions regarding employees in your workplace.