Once you know that flexible working makes sense for your organisation in the post-Covid world, you have to realign your brand culture accordingly to ensure your output is not adversely impacted.
Currently, around 83% of HR professionals say that their companies are embracing flexible work, but 50% are concerned about the impact this will have on company culture. 39% of C-level executives believe company culture may have already been diluted due to flexible working during the pandemic.
Managing a flexible team can be very challenging if your distributed employees are not aligned around the same values and principles. However, relationships and trust developed from years of working together in person can be difficult to build when teams are not always face-to-face.
Fortunately, there are a few ways business leaders can adapt company culture for a flexible working strategy.
Instil New Values
A strong company culture revolves around a strong set of shared values among your team members.
Usually, companies focus on things like punctuality, authenticity, and attention to detail. However, you may need to introduce new concepts during the shift to flexible work.
Start by building a culture of personal responsibility and accountability. Let your team members know they will be responsible for delivering results and proving they can make their flexible work schedule count. Each employee must accept a level of responsibility for the success of their new schedule and agree to make changes if necessary.
To help build accountability, redefine your expectations for all employees by embracing a remote working schedule. Let them know when deadlines will be set and how often they should check in on work progress. Highlight what success looks like for your team and how you will deal with disappointment.
Establish An Environment Of Mutual Trust
Trust is one of the most important parts of strong company culture in the age of flexible work. Unfortunately, around two-thirds of employers say they don't trust their staff to deliver their best work when operating outside the office.
Employees cannot deliver exceptional results if they do not feel trusted by their managers. A lack of trust leads to discontent and may convince your team members to look elsewhere.
The good news is, over the last couple of years, most companies have already discovered their fears about lack of productivity among remote employees to be unfounded. Countless staff members shifting to remote or flexible work have become more productive.
Just as micro-management does not work in the office, a lack of trust outside of the office will stifle your team's creativity and workplace satisfaction. Giving your team more trust and even a little autonomy over their workflows will keep them happy, productive, and invested in your company.
Update Your Communication Strategy
Companies working in a flexible world rely on effective communication.
When employees are located in various parts of the world or moving in and out of the office, it's not always possible to bring everyone together for face-to-face interactions.
Reduced communication leads to feelings of isolation and can damage the sense of belonging among your team members. With this in mind, companies need to invest in new methods of communication and collaboration.
Use messaging tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams to give your employees a fast-paced and asynchronous way to chat. Set up schedules for regular team meetings over audio and video conferencing.
According to one survey, around 87% of remote employees felt more connected to the rest of their team with access to video conferencing tools. To help keep employees motivated when working from home, video calls should not just be a novelty but a core tenant of your company culture.
Train Employees to Be Problem Solvers
If your employees are not always in the same space as your managers, IT teams, and other experts, they will not have the same support and guidance as in-office staff. As such, these employees need access to more training and support to assist with problem-solving.
Training employees on how to troubleshoot problems themselves and resolve common issues without additional assistance will help keep them productive.
At the same time, continued training opportunities for employees looking to expand transferrable skills like communication, leadership, and problem solving will help engage and motivate your teams. According to the Huffington Post, companies offering comprehensive training programs achieve a 24% higher profit margin than their counterparts.
Start by ensuring your team members have all the training they need to thrive in their roles wherever they are. After that, speak to your team about the training they'd most like to receive going forward.
Invest in The Right Equipment and Tools
Building an effective company culture around flexible work requires companies to invest in the correct tools and resources for their workforce. By 2025, around 70% of the workforce will be working remotely, at least part-time. However, no employee can achieve their best results if they do not have access to the correct tools.
The exact resources required by your team will depend on a number of factors, but some common requirements include:
Office equipment - standard office equipment like desks, phones, cameras, chairs, and computers, are generally a must-have.
Connectivity - working in a flexible environment requires a strong internet connection. If your employee does not have the best internet connection, you may need to invest in an upgrade to keep them productive.
Software - access to specific programs, often delivered over the cloud, will be crucial for any employee.
Adapting Your Leadership For Flexible Work
The success of most flexible work strategies will depend highly on the skills and methodologies of your managers and team leaders.
Ensure all managers and leaders know how workplace successes will be measured and the expectations for each team.
Focus on Outcome-Based Assessment
Good leadership in any business starts with a clear insight into how work will be assessed and measured.
Traditionally, business leaders and managers have focused on assessing performance based on what an employee is seen to be doing. However, in a flexible work environment where it is impossible to constantly check over an employee's shoulder, the focus needs to shift to the actual output of the team member. Just because your staff work according to a specific schedule does not mean they are meeting deadlines or delivering their best work.
Consider how performance is typically measured in your organisation. Is it focused on productivity or results? Or do superficial metrics like "time at the desk" come out on top?
Create Strategies for Assigning Work
Sometimes, when employees are working remotely, it is hard to assess which of your team members are overworked and which are not.
To ensure good well-being among staff members, boost staff retention, and enhance engagement, team leaders must keep their fingers on the pulse of their workforce. This could mean regularly checking in with team members to see if they are comfortable with the amount of work they are receiving or having an open-door policy for people who need help.
It is also worth using tools like project productivity tracking software to assess each team member's productivity levels and workloads. This will help team leaders ensure that team members are not overloaded with too many tasks.
Increase Coaching and Feedback Strategies
Coaching and regular feedback are two leadership tools that will support your flexible workforce in multiple ways. With regular coaching, one-to-one meetings, and goal setting between managers and employees, you can build relationships between your workforce and team leaders.
A good relationship between employees and managers can reduce the risk of churn in many workplaces. It also ensures your leaders know which people in your team might need extra training and support to adapt to a new workflow.
Feedback, on the other hand, helps to keep teams motivated and engaged. According to Forbes, employees who are regularly acknowledged by their managers and given feedback are five times more likely to stay with their employer.
Consistent feedback ensures your employees know what they are doing correctly and what they might need to change about their working styles to achieve the right results. It is also an effective way to ensure your employees feel recognised for their work.
Here at Lucy Walker Recruitment, we have placed and filled over 100,000 temp and permanent assignments over the last 30 years so have a range of techniques, ideas and platforms which could help you. Why not call us on 0113 367 2880 to have a conversation with one of our team. Alternatively drop us an email here or check out our Testimonials and Case Studies.