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.
Data protection in the home office has now become a very relevant topic, as mobile working and general digitization are steadily increasing in Germany. Handling and protecting personal data is, therefore, more important than ever before. In this article, you will learn how the home office can be integrated into your corporate culture in a data protection-compliant manner.
What data protection principles are actually relevant when working in a home office? In principle, all data with which the respective employee comes into contact at his or her home office must always be taken into consideration. According to Article 4 No. 1 of the EU Data Protection Regulation (EU-GDPR), personal data describes all information relating to a natural person who can be identified by means of the allocation of various data.
In addition to this personal data, social data from the German Social Security Code also plays an important role. These are defined primarily in Section 67 (1) SGB. In principle, the processing of this information can pose a risk to the personal rights of your employees, which is why it is essential to observe the data protection guidelines for companies.
DSGVO guidelines for data protection in the home office
Since May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) adopted by the European Parliament has applied to the European Union. In it, the main issue is to protect personal data. It provides that work from home should be done exclusively with hardware and software provided by the employer. This regulation applies not only to laptops and PCs but also to storage media such as a server or other hardware provided by the employer.
For your home office employees, you can, for example, use a VPN connection that allows employees to access your company’s IT infrastructure. Alternatively, if it is not possible to set up such access, the data can be stored locally. In this case, the personal data of the employee must be encrypted in advance. The locally stored data should also be transferred to your company’s systems as quickly as possible.
Data protection risks at a glance
If your employees work in a home office, data protection risks may increase. Here are some examples of such risks that you should avoid at all costs:
Espionage and unauthorized intrusion into IT systems
Exposure of sensitive company data
Faulty manipulation of hardware or software
Unauthorized third-party use of devices and systems
Uncontrolled data loss
Unauthorized access to personnel data, customer data or trade secrets
Implementing data protection in the home office
How can you ensure data protection in your employees’ home office? To do so, you should consider several factors:
Computer and hardware protection and security Protect desktop PCs, laptops and other hardware with passwords. Computers should only be used by authorized persons. To protect personal data, ensure that information can only be read by authorized users.
Keep documents confidential Discuss with your employees which documents must be treated as particularly confidential. Documents containing personal data or company secrets should be kept in a secure location so that family members or guests do not have access to them. Here, for example, a lockable study or a lockable filing cabinet is advantageous. The data carriers used, such as USB sticks, should also be locked and always encrypted.
Do not dispose of confidential documents If your employees no longer need confidential documents, they should not mix them with private waste paper. Company internal papers may contain notes or documents with sensitive personal data. Therefore, all paperwork documents should always be shredded before disposal.
Secure Internet access Make sure your employees have encrypted Wi-Fi access at their home workstations as well. In addition, workers should be able to use a secure connection to company servers.
Data backup Protect yourself against the loss of your data. Both your employees and yourself should always store data on the respective company server. In the event of theft or system damage, this will ensure that the company’s internal data is secured and will not be lost.
Encryption of the data Check whether your company’s systems have automatic encryption. For this, it is advantageous to have an encryption product that can prevent data loss in the event of power failures or encryption aborts on the system side. You should also make sure that the encryption algorithm meets your company’s requirements and is compatible with the computer used.
Expert advice on remote work
If you are currently dealing with the topic of data protection in the home office or would like to inform yourself about remote work, please contact us. outsourcing4work has been working 100% remotely for many years and offers you competent advice on modern remote work models and the possibilities and pitfalls of the home office.
We have been on the market for more than 25 years and stand by our customers as an experienced partner, consultant and mediator of IT professionals in a competent and reliable manner.
Convince yourself of our together-to-the-goal way of working and contact us for a free initial consultation!
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!
The home office is revolutionizing work and life, and mental health is an important aspect that employers and employees should keep in mind. Employees can no longer work together in an office and work may take place exclusively in a home office. How does this affect mental health and what factors should you consider in terms of mental stress in remote work?
How does digital working affect health?
Digital working offers many benefits for companies, such as accelerating business processes and becoming more competitive. For employees, working in a home office means, above all, a better work-life balance.
To guarantee these improvements for both entrepreneurs and teammates, you should pay attention to mental health. After all, digitalization brings some changes for employees as well as challenges in their daily work routine. As an employer of a successful remote company, it is important to be aware of these and offer support in everyday work.
The following aspects should be considered concerning mental health:
The appropriate work location for the home office.
The organization of the workload and multitasking.
The constant flow of information.
The coordination of virtual collaboration.
The limited personal contact.
The accelerated work processes.
The constant availability independent of time and place.
Performing sedentary work.
How do you stay mentally healthy in the home office?
A fundamental feel-good factor is a right workstation. An ergonomically equipped workspace, for example, can contribute to this. Sufficient light and a quiet workplace where the employee can concentrate are other important factors. To maintain mental health, the employee should have good organization and structure. This starts in their personal life. Endurance sports, fitness, or other athletic activities have been shown to support mental well-being.
In a report on physical activity and health, the RKI writes the following: “Physical activity has a beneficial effect on emotional and mental health in both mentally ill and healthy individuals”. With this in mind, workers should be encouraged to take time for themselves every day and incorporate physical activity into their daily routine.
Organization and work effort play just as important a role for employers. Make sure workers can complete their tasks in a timeframe that is convenient for them and avoid overtime. A work laptop and cellphone can help employees break from work after hours and better separate their personal and work lives. This way, you can focus the flow of information within work time and there will be no overwhelm due to constant accessibility.
Allow employees to maintain contact with each other virtually as well. To do this, you can set up virtual team meetings and internal employee chat rooms for exchanges. Promote positive interaction with each other, use smileys when chatting to express positive feelings, and make regular feedback appointments to encourage and support employees in their work.
Workplace relaxation tips
Regular physical relaxation and shutting off your mind will help you become more balanced. If you work in a home office, you should pay special attention to your own needs. To that end, here are some tips that will help you relax.
Breathing is an important part of dealing with stress. If you pause and take a few deep breaths in and out, you will notice how your body relaxes and your thoughts sort themselves out. Such breathing pauses can be deliberately scheduled several times throughout the day via smartphone reminders.
Deal openly with fears
Anxiety is also an important factor in professional life that has a significant impact on mental health. If you dare to name this fear openly, you will automatically learn to deal with it better. In anxiety-ridden situations, controlled breathing in and out can also be very helpful.
Pay attention to exercise and nutrition
A balanced lifestyle helps to be successful in professional life as well. Nothing is worse than overexerting yourself. By getting the necessary exercise and eating a healthy diet, you strengthen your body and therefore your mind.
Harnessing the power of plants
Even the most relaxed employee can get into a stressful situation where no breathing exercises or other relaxation techniques will help. Instead of turning to sleep pills or other medications, you can harness the power of plants. Valerian, Johannis herbs, hops, lemon balm, passionflower herb, lavender, and roseroot have been used for centuries to treat stress symptoms.
outsourcing4work- An experienced home office partner at your side
Working in a home office brings various challenges for employers and employees and mental health plays a relevant role. outsourcing4work has been successfully working 100% remotely for many years. With our experience and a well-established digital infra- and communication structure, we support our customers as a partner for IT and BPO services, as a mediator of IT professionals and consultant in matters of remote teams.