A positive corporate culture is becoming more important as remote work increases. The COVID 19 pandemic has prompted many companies to offer an alternative work solution to the traditional one. Working from a home office has become the norm for companies of all sizes and now defines many people’s workday. Some companies are delighted with the flexibility they have gained, while others are experiencing a loss of corporate culture.
How can a positive corporate culture be shaped in times of remote work?
Corporate culture refers to prevailing values, norms and attitudes that influence actions, behaviours and decisions within an organization. It influences structure and organization and contributes to positive communication and collaboration among employees. Corporate culture includes unwritten rules, attitudes and manners among each other that develop over years.
Corporate culture can contain some of the following elements:
• Behaviors and interactions: greetings, dress code, cohesion and loyalty.
• Managers: personal responsibility, decision-making, trust
• Communication: tone of voice, tone during breaks, communication channels (e-mail, telephone or radio)
• Organization and structure: work teams, flat hierarchies, self-organization, working conditions
• Working environment: workplace design, food and beverages
• Values and norms: Attitude toward mistakes, willingness to take risks, core competencies (speed, creativity or innovation)
Despite Remote Work: Building Social Closeness
In a home office environment, company culture is a primary concern for many leaders. How can ceremonies and rituals be reenacted and reimagined virtually? How can bonds be built and created with little or no face-to-face interaction? In a virtual business setting, company culture does not just disappear but can be reinforced to assist employees and freelancers. People need regular social interaction to stay motivated and happy at work. In a home office, interpersonal contact with fellow employees is non-existent. However, with the advancements in technology, companies can utilize benefits from different online messaging and communication platforms. Regular meetings in the digital space create proximity.
Relying solely on digital gimmicks will not be enough to develop a positive corporate culture in the home office. Just as in traditional offices, your entrepreneurial social skills will also matter in the digital space.
At this point, we have highlighted three valuable tips for you:
Tip 1: Employee well-being When employees work from home, the work-life balance looks like it has been turned upside down. An intensive exchange with the team is therefore inevitable.
Regular and active conversations with the team are an indispensable factor in remote working. The question of the working environment is also relevant. Open and transparent communication is thus inevitable and allows the employee to feel important despite the physical distance between employer and employee.
Tip 2: Stick to traditions Corporate traditions represent an important feel-good factor for employees. It is important to uphold the traditions that already exist. Celebrate every achievement of employees, as this is important and can boost employee morale.
In everyday working life, employees would have lunch breaks together. As a business owner, continue with these rituals. In the digital space, book fixed times when the team can take a break together.
Tip 3: Encourage communication The lack of direct contact may often lead to a lack of clarity and direction in the home office regarding the tasks to be completed. Instead of issuing long statements every day, managers should be available more frequently in the remote office to provide assistance. Employees need to feel that supervisors are there for them, despite the greater distance. In addition, open communication between all employees can foster greater inclusivity in the team.
Remote Work: How customers and employees benefit
Location-independent work: The model of the future world of work. Employees enjoy flexibility and continuously improve their work-life balance. 100% remote companies, like outsourcing4work, specialize in implementing home office models.
Maintaining or developing a positive corporate culture despite remote working? This is no problem for outsourcing4work professionals! With over 25 years of experience in the market, we have developed a well-rehearsed digital infrastructure and communication structure.
Let your company benefit from our future-oriented remote model.
Arrange a free and non-binding initial consultation now.
How can you design and promote ergonomic working in the home office? Working from home offers many advantages. You benefit from more flexibility and an individual workplace. But when it comes to health and safety, this new form of work requires a rethink, as employees are no longer physically present in the office.
Ergonomic working – teleworking or mobile working?
When talking about ergonomic working in the home office, the terms teleworking and mobile working are often used. However, these are not synonyms, but two different concepts. In teleworking, which is also legally defined, the employer sets up a workplace for the employee in his or her private area. There is also the possibility of switching between the workplace in the company and the home office. Teleworking is also subject to the Workplace Ordinance.Mobile working, on the other hand, describes working with one’s own devices, such as a tablet, laptop or computer outside the company. In this case, the employee is responsible for setting up his or her own workplace. The term “mobile working” has not yet been legally defined. Employers must fulfil their protection obligations for both teleworking and mobile working. Regardless of which home office form you choose, the Working Hours Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act must always be observed. Furthermore, the furnishing of the workplace is fundamental for productive work in the home office.
Ergonomic working in the home office
You can use a variety of means to work ergonomically in a home office. First of all, you need a suitable and quiet room in which you feel comfortable. You should make sure that the room temperature is pleasant, that there is plenty of light, that the view from the window is as good as possible and that the desk is large. In addition, there are other generally applicable criteria that you should consider so that working from home is healthy and productive.
Ergonomic furniture and work materials
Setting up the workplace ergonomically does not have to be difficult. The office chair should be individually adjustable and the employee’s eyes should be able to look straight ahead at the screen. An ergonomic desk helps to ensure a comfortable working posture. The chair and the desk should not restrict legroom, as the freedom of movement of the legs contributes significantly to the feeling of well-being at the workplace. Also, make sure that the keyboard and mouse meet ergonomic criteria. It is also a good idea to use a separate mouse when working on a laptop.
Define working hours and tasks
Get up later, no rush hour and no long ride on a crowded train. Employees can really save time in the home office. But how does this affect working hours? In fact, many employees report significantly higher productivity. However, it is important here to supplement the initial exuberance of teleworking with realistic expectations and defined working hours. Because employees can quickly overexert themselves with the extra time they gain. So set fixed working hours or a defined duration of work beforehand. Agreeing on breaks also helps to structure the working day. If possible, workers should also leave the room, go for a walk or retreat to a place of wellbeing.
Avoiding psychological stress
Psychological stress should be avoided in every working relationship. In the home office, one of the challenges is not being able to maintain physical contact. Here it is helpful to assign a responsible person to the employees for their worries and needs. You should also pay attention to daily communication within the team. While some people enjoy the freedom of mobile working, others may feel overwhelmed by it. Open and honest communication helps to ensure that the whole team is doing well, which in turn strengthens the company and boosts productivity.
Learning from the professionals
The companies that have the most experience with occupational safety and ergonomic working in the home office are those that have been dealing with remote working models and working from home for many years and live the philosophy of remote work themselves. On the website of NewWorkLife, for example, you can find helpful information and tips on the topic of remote work as well as a blog series in which German remote companies regularly introduce themselves – including outsourcing4work. As a partner, consultant and mediator of IT professionals and provider of cost-efficient BPO solutions, we have been working 100% remotely for many years and are one of the oldest and largest German remote companies. Ergonomic working in the home office is also a major concern for our company. We are happy to share our many years of experience in workplace design with you. Visit our website to learn more about outsourcing4work.
Home office as market advantage: how start-ups benefit from remote IT employees
More and more young companies are focusing on remote IT employees – and there are good reasons for this. Small budget, a handful of employees, but big goals: Young founders usually have innovative ideas, but few resources to put them into practice. This is where hands-on mentality is needed. Motivated and competent employees are one of the most important prerequisites for the success of the start-up. These days, know-how in IT is indispensable.
With the boost of digital technologies, our working world has also turned 180 degrees. Huge office spaces and physical presence are often no longer necessary. Teams can now work on joint projects from anywhere in the world. Cloud-based documents, communication via chat groups and video calls have become the norm. Remote IT employees offer many advantages, especially for start-ups.
Success factor remote work: Remote IT employees offer these advantages for start-ups:
Unlimited choice of IT specialists Whether it’s UX design, Sharepoint or SAP – for every program there are IT specialists who master the technology up to the smallest detail. But the respective experts are not always available locally. In many regions, companies often have a hard time recruiting qualified IT employees. Thanks to remote work, geographical restrictions are a thing of the past. Via cloud software and with the right communication tools, you can collaborate with the best IT specialists worldwide.
Lower costs for rent & co. Companies in the early stages usually only have a small budget. Why should you spend scarce resources on rent and utilities? By relying on decentralized teams as a start-up, you save costs for office space. The resources you gain in this way can in turn be invested in your product, in marketing and in qualified IT staff, taking your company to the next level.
Motivated and committed teams Many people have a half hour or longer to commute to their workplace every day. If travel times, traffic jams and waiting for delayed trains are eliminated, there is more time for leisure, family and relaxation. But it’s not just your employees who benefit from a better work-life balance. Balanced and motivated employees perform significantly better and manage their tasks more effectively. Start-ups in particular rely on quick results and an efficient way of working. Another advantage is that most employees appreciate the trust they receive from their employers. They return this appreciation in the form of commitment and passion for their own job.
Teamwork & regular exchange Of course, decentralized working does not only bring advantages. Personal contact is more rare in the home office, but it is irreplaceable for team building. However, chat groups, messenger and conference tools enable spontaneous and personal exchange. Even complex issues can be discussed and clarified in online meetings. Using cloud software and file sharing, digital teams can collect ideas together and give each other feedback at short notice.
Digital working at the cutting edge Paperwork, paper waste and cluttered warehouses have no chance in remote companies. Only the bare essentials are printed out, because most of the work happens in the Cloud. In this way, start-ups exploit the potential of modern technology from the very beginning and also make an ecological contribution. All work processes are optimized for remote work. This eliminates time-consuming digitalization and transformation debates.
Are you looking for qualified IT professionals?
We at outsourcing4work are experts for remote teams. We have been working 100% remotely ourselves for years. In the meantime, we are more than 100 employees living in 17 countries and working together successfully, thanks to a well-established digital infra and communication structure. With our years of experience and know-how, we help our customers in finding the right IT professionals and successfully integrating remote IT employees into companies. Within the shortest possible time, we provide you with experienced IT specialists from India, so that your start-up can also be on the road to success.
Virtual feedback is elementary for the successful collaboration of a remote team. Regular, appreciative feedback motivates and moves your employees forward. A satisfied team is more productive and efficient, which contributes to the success of your company.
How can feedback discussions between management, department heads, team leaders and team members best succeed in times of remote work and home office? Here are some best practices to consider.
In a remote working team, recognition and feedback are more important than ever. While brief feedback and exchanges often come naturally when working on-site or in a shared office, they must be explicitly addressed when working together virtually. The good news is that you can easily integrate virtual feedback into your daily work routine. By doing so, you create more trust and strengthen teamwork. Employees who receive recognition and constructive feedback are happier and more productive.
Establish an enriching feedback culture
Open and honest communication is key to successful collaboration in a company. Appreciative feedback creates a healthy dynamic and bond within the team. Make sure your employees feel comfortable through the feedback process and that each team member is valued. Deal with mistakes and problems constructively and establish a solution-oriented feedback model.
Tips for successful virtual feedback
These tips can help you create a positive virtual feedback culture in your organization:
Choose the appropriate time Always make sure the time and setting are right for the conversation. If possible, suggest multiple dates for a virtual feedback conversation. Make sure that both your employees and yourself will have the necessary time and peace of mind at the time. Do not share important virtual feedback in stressful situations. Also, consider your team member’s personal situation. Is your employee currently moving to another apartment? Then postpone the appointment for a week. Create a calm atmosphere for feedback and minimize distractions such as emails, chats or phone calls. Your counterpart should know that you are giving him or her your full attention.
Use the Video Call A video call offers the ideal substitute for face-to-face conversation. Platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, or Google Hangouts give you the opportunity to talk face-to-face in person. As an alternative, you can use the telephone. However, video calls are generally more suitable because they allow you to perceive the facial expressions and gestures of the person you are talking to, which means that misunderstandings are less likely to occur.
Don’t wait too long to give important feedback Whether your virtual feedback is recognition, praise or constructive criticism, it should always be timely. Home office or remote employees need to know if they are doing a good job and meeting expectations, or what they can do to improve. When it comes to specific feedback, don’t let more than 48 hours pass before the conversation. The team member should be told as soon as possible how he or she can improve the work or what tasks went particularly well.
Schedule a regular feedback cycle In addition to spontaneous notes and comments, a regular and pre-planned feedback cycle offers benefits for your team and your company. This ensures that you have the opportunity to engage in a collegial exchange with all employees at set intervals. In addition, your employees can then prepare for the conversation as well.
Constructive feedback Concrete examples form the basis for constructive feedback. Consider in advance the specific areas in which your team member has potential for improvement. Provide any necessary support and assistance. As a matter of principle, ensure that feedback is factual, constructive and applicable. Negative comments without suggestions for improvement can quickly have a demotivating effect on teammates.
Watch your language When giving feedback, stick to the facts and avoid accusations. Explain the consequences of a mistake and do not focus on who made the mistake. Share constructive suggestions for solutions and soberly explain how a problem can be avoided next time. Pay close attention to your counterpart’s reactions and feedback.
Ask your coworkers for feedback Virtual feedback should be a give and take. So don’t just give your feedback, accept feedback from your coworkers. Through mutual and appreciative exchange, you promote collegial, successful teamwork. Regular feedback discussions form an important basis for successful changes and improvements in the company, not only in virtual teams.
outsourcing4work – your expert for remote work
outsourcing4work is one of the oldest German remote companies and has many years of experience with modern working models and cost-efficient staffing solutions. We not only place remote IT professionals and offer customized BPO solutions, but also competently support our customers as a reliable partner and consultant in remote work. Convince yourself and arrange a free consultation!