How to Strengthen Your Remote Culture With a Virtual Office
February 2, 2021 by Alexis Babiarz
Did you start 2021 off right by ditching that pricey office lease for your business? Smart move. By switching to a virtual office, you’re going to conserve some serious time and money — and very likely see a boost in your team’s productivity.
But you might worry that what you save in overhead, you’ll sacrifice in solid company culture. Well, there’s no reason to fret. It’s entirely possible to have both a lean, efficient virtual office and a strong, healthy company culture. Below, we give the top three ways to make that happen.
Set them up for success
Given all that occurred in 2020, your team probably already has some experience with remote work. But if that was temporary and your recent shift to a virtual office is permanent, you may have some foundational shoring up to do.
For example, your people might not yet have the technological toolkit they require. Make the investment in shipping or otherwise transporting computers, printers, and/or scanners to each of those team members whose work requires it.
If your business is healthy enough to sustain a staff, don’t cut corners by getting rid of company tech and asking employees to use their personal laptops and other devices. With a “BYOD” policy, the security risk is higher, as is the risk of legal complications.
Bring in a ‘water cooler’
Fans of “The Office” may recall the episode in which the character Dwight Schrute moves the communal water cooler next to his own desk in an effort to overhear crucial bits of information and gossip he believes employees are divulging when filling their cups. Turns out, he was onto something.
A recent study found that “if there are no ‘watercoolers’ — anywhere small groups of employees can chat and collaborate away from their formal working space — employees are much less likely to share their ‘risky’ ideas and intentions.” According to one of the researchers, these are the “ideas [that] are precisely those needed to fuel innovation and productivity and improve culture in the workplace.”
Even though there’s no more physical water cooler around which your employees can gather, you can still ensure your team has a place to go for discussion. Consider using Slack or a similar tool to implement a company-wide chat channel. You’ll want to implement some ground rules — no offensives language or work-inappropriate content, for example — but otherwise, try to let it remain employee-only, so your team feels like they have their own (virtual) space.
Communicate your values
Your employees will have an easier time embracing and adhering to company values if those values are clearly and regularly articulated. If you don’t have any set out in writing, make time to write some that are inclusive, optimistic but sustainable, and reflective of the company you’ve created. Want real buy-in from your team? Include them in the writing. That way, they have a say in shaping a foundational part of the company for which they work.
Still considering deep-sixing that traditional office lease? Try a virtual office instead. Contact Metro Offices today and learn how we can help keep your business efficient and professional.
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