One monumental effect of COVID-19 has been the role it has had in reimagining what work looks like — specifically where work is done. Whether it is in business or school, traditional in-person connections and organizational culture have changed for almost everyone in America. Many people have moved to a virtual modality where they will work from home some if not all the time.
While how we connect has changed, the value of a strong community culture remains an essential part of who we are. Notably, 56% of workers ranked a workplace culture as being more important than salary. Business professionals face an all-new task of promoting a healthy company culture during the age of working from home. How do you do it? How do you promote a culture to fit outside your walls without losing what makes it special in the first place?
Defining a “Work Culture” in a COVID-19 World
Work culture is more than fun and games. Culture is not just setting up a few ping pong tables or adding a couple of happy hour events. It’s about creating shared goals and values — something for you and your company to believe in. Culture drives effective communication and productivity while creating a comfortable environment for employees where they feel connected and valued. Organizational culture keeps your business and your team moving forward and remaining motivated even when you face tough times.
There’s no “one size fits all” approach to building culture and not every part of it is tangible. But, until 2020, one norm was that culture was something everyone experienced much the same way because they were in the same place. COVID-19 changed that. More than half of all global employees (52%) work remotely once a week, and 68% do so at least once per month. We are officially in the age of working from home.
Not having anyone in the office poses a unique challenge for managers looking to make their employees feel connected and included. Creating a virtual workplace culture as strong as the ones in brick-and-mortar businesses may seem challenging, but it’s a necessity we can’t escape. When effectively created and maintained, the result can make a huge difference for your organization.
The number of people who work from home (WFH) has skyrocketed and, for many business leaders, it has become the top day-to-day obstacle of a previously smooth operation. By approaching this shift with a positive mindset, you can enhance your team’s culture and position them for continued success even as the “workplace” continues to change.
Here are some aspects of workplace culture essential for adapting to a WFH lifestyle:
- Collaboration - Culture cannot be achieved through one person’s efforts. Your culture is dependent on employees working together to achieve a common goal. To get there, you should place a high value on collaborating with your peers. Whether you’re working in the boardroom or the living room, working together with your colleagues will help keep your team feeling united even in times of isolation.
- Communication - We have all experienced some sort of separation, which has accentuated the value of connection through communication. While confusing at first, video conferencing has helped to keep the workforce together and it will continue to be a benefit to your WFH culture. Find ways to catch up and connect about your non-work-related routines, ask questions and engage in the random moments that made in-person work become less formal and more family.
- Connection – One of the most vital aspects of maintaining strong organizational culture is human connection. Virtual team building can help advance workplace relationships and offer an opportunity for coworkers to connect on a personal level and strengthen your business from top-to-bottom. Staying in regular contact with managers and colleagues will ensure that everyone is on the same page, and strengthen both professional and personal relationships.
As the number of remote workers continues to grow, there is a greater calling for business leaders to develop a strong culture, both online and in-person, where their capable and motivated team members can thrive. Herzing University offers a variety of programs for those looking to enter the business world or looking to progress in their current career.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.