Pre-pandemic company culture was often an underappreciated value where happy hours and a pool table often showcased companies “leading the way.” Maternity and paternity-focused organizations then showcased valuing employees above and beyond standard benefits and a 401K match. Then hit the pandemic and if you were getting work done, you were most likely working from home. As many organizations are evaluating how best to move forward, employees are clear they want flexibility. Now companies have rent, utilities, and facility upkeep for a portion of the workforce to use if at all. This means hiring, training, onboarding, appreciation rituals and face-to-face check-ins are now virtual so how do companies make staff feel appreciated, connected, and want to stay?
The Shift in Working-From-Home
The shift here is leaning in to accept culture is different now. IBM’s CEO even released a work-from-home pledge encouraging family sensitivity, not camera-ready moments, and increased check-ins for overall well-being. This pledge has an entire pillar dedicated to kindness. Let that breathe for a moment. It's rare to see a CEO publicly ask an entire employee base to focus on self-care and kindness as fundamentals to successful employment.
The Communication Behind Work-From-Home
Science has proven the strongest connections are formed when people can gather together to experience all elements of communication (body language, nonverbal cues, and spoken word). Now we are tasked with overcoming the strongest form of communication effectively. We are seeing organizations be very clear with the purpose of increased touch points and opening/closing meetings with dedicated personal care questions: How are you doing? How is your family? Can I help you in any way outside of work? Rethink your clients and how are you communicating with your internal and external clients. Can we make it easier with the existing tools we have? Many large brands are utilizing slack to communicate internally for needs as basic as staying safe and keeping up to date on software to community-driven needs like grocery pickup or parenting advice. That same tool is then integrated to work with external vendors and clients for ease of use and less reliance on email inboxes.
The Future of Work-From-Home
The future seems bright for those organizations willing to meet staff where they are. Focus on more openness and accepting people have lives outside of work. Embrace employee individuality and speak candidly with individuals on what they need to be successful. Find ways to meet with your staff in person if possible. Local sales retreats, employee lunches, and walking brainstorming sessions can all be effective low-cost alternatives to allow employees to feel heard and still create a sense of connection. Remember how you treat your employees is how they will most likely treat your clients.