How to build a strong remote work culture, and benefit from it!

15 Nov by Natasha Pita

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Remember how it felt when someone gave you a high five or pat on the back? Or a sense of validation from receiving direct eye contact? Or the empathy and understanding you get from facial expressions?

It’s been a while. We’ve cheered each other on via video conference… but it’s not the same.

The pandemic has forced many of us to transfer our working space from a buzzing office to the dining table. We’re now faced with having to navigate our professional tasks without those non-verbal forms of communication and nuance that encourage and support us.

So, how can we remain connected and engaged whilst being physically disconnected?

Throughout the past three months, our team have managed to develop and maintain a strong remote work culture and it has contributed to our success. Despite nationwide disruption and uncertainty – we achieved record placement results that created job security and encouraged productivity. It’s a positive cycle.


We achieved this in 5 ways:


1. Inclusiveness

We have a broad range of talent at Team. We have creators, promoters, negotiators, and analytical contributors and we understand that our success is dependent on everyone doing their bit. BUT, our communication styles are different therefore when we’re physically distanced it’s critical that everyone has a platform to be heard.

Whilst some people are confident contributing in a large Zoom meeting, others may prefer the dynamic of a smaller breakout meeting? Sometimes, our needs are best met through a one-on-one call or simply by committing to a timeframe to respond to emails.

People feel validated when they’re heard. Consider the best channel of communication for your team.

2. Consistency

Structure and a sense of predictability are necessary for me. Without it, I’m a loose ball of energy with big ideas but find executing these ideas challenging without a fixed schedule. Accordingly, I’ve learned to replicate the demands of my role at home by creating a timetable of tasks with calls-for-action.

Likewise, our business benefits from consistent and specific activity. When we made the snap shift to remote work, our internal and external meetings were immediately transferred to video conferences. We retained our weekly training, collaboration sessions, and monthly recognition and rewards. When Government ‘restrictions’ eased, we facilitated outdoor meetings between clients and candidates.

Consistency builds trust. Our commitment to continuing with the status quo gave our staff, clients and candidates a sense of security.


3. Accountability

Goal setting not only keeps us accountable, it also gives us purpose and motivation to focus. This is even more critical during uncertain times. During the 2020 nationwide lockdown we lost 90% of our job orders within 4 days. Our consultants were at a loss. We had to adjust our expectations but not our goals. Whilst our sales targets were temporarily reduced our candidate engagement skyrocketed. The result of our refocussed effort was longer term sales.

Fortunately, today the job market is stronger however there is a significant talent shortage. Temp contracts have fallen whilst the need for permanent roles has increased. The pathway to success requires creativity, collaboration and commitment!

Hold staff accountable for reaching their goals however be flexible in terms of how they will achieve this.


4. Boundaries

Working from home doesn’t mean we’re suddenly available 24/7! Our leadership team discussed this recently and the pressure we put on ourselves to respond to calls (or worse, video calls!) at any moment – regardless of what we’re doing.

The beauty of remote work is that it allows for a level of flexibility. When we’re clear about people’s roles and responsibilities it empowers staff to manage their working hours. An early riser may choose to bang out a bunch of emails first thing, allowing them to enjoy a long lunch or exercise when the sun is at its highest!

By setting boundaries and managing expectations you’re building trust with your employees. This is the base of a healthy work culture.


5. Social Connections

Physical distancing can jeopardise relations when communication is stripped of context and nuance. Our interpersonal relationships are highly valued at Team Recruitment and we nurture this by committing to regular social interactions in spite of our separation.

On Thursdays at 4pm we down work, pour a drink and partake in organised virtual antics. Through various events, we’ve seen glimpses into each other’s spaces as we guessed “Whose bubble?”, uncovered 30 interesting and unknown facts about each other, analysed “truths and lies” and discovered that one staff member in particular, is an absolute quiz queen!

Ironically, working apart has brought us closer. You can bridge the physical distance and support your work culture by fostering regular social interactions.

Whilst some of us will return to the workplace as restrictions continue to ease, hybrid work will undoubtedly become the new norm for many. Taking these steps to help build a strong and healthy culture outside of the workplace is therefore necessary and may uncover surprising results!