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Remote Work Culture and Wellbeing

More and more companies are adopting remote work culture in their workplace, with the flexibility of being able to work from any location with a flexible schedule sighted as some of the key benefits of remote work culture in maintaining and hiring the best talent. A recent study by the International Workplace Group (IWG) found that when respondents were faced with two similar employment offers, 80% would turn down the offer that didn’t offer flexible working, and that 85% of businesses found that productivity in their business increased as a result of greater flexibility. With remote work no longer a perk in an employment offer, but rather an essential part of a business’s success story, are these changes in working conditions affecting employee wellbeing?

Maintaining Remote Work Culture and Wellbeing

With the many benefits of adopting remote work culture the workplace, it’s easy for a manager or business to overlook how working from home can affect employee wellbeing. A yearly study on remote company culture by OWLLabs found that 82% of managers were concerned with a reduction in employee productivity and employee focus, and only 59% were concerned with employee loneliness.

Employees working from home often report three key challenges with remote company culture:

  • Loneliness – People are inherently social and thrive best when surrounded by our friends, family, and colleagues. This is especially true for team members with extroverted personalities. In remote team culture, social needs can suffer leading to loneliness.
  • Detachment – Remote workers often find that there is a tendency to focus too much on the tasks at hand and less on the social relationships associated with the office environment.
  • Inability to switch off – When working from home, employees often cite the inability to switch off. In an office environment, it is much easier to leave the work ‘at the office’. In a home environment, there always that tendency to do just ‘one more task’. 

Whether you are a manager of a remote team or an employee who has recently transitioned into a remote working role, maintaining your wellbeing is important to reduce stress associated with remote work culture.

10 Ways a Manager Can Promote Wellbeing in a Remote Team

For a manager of a remote team, communication and setting clear expectations can go a long way into reducing the anxiety of remote workers. Here are 10 tips you can integrate into your remote team culture to improve employee wellbeing

  • Regular team meetings – Keeping up with the day to day schedule associated with an office environment can help your team stay on task. Have a morning team meeting using your favourite video conferencing software. Ensure the meeting is at the same scheduled time for added benefit.
  • Touch base frequently – Touching base with individual team members frequently not only aids in social interaction but is also a good opportunity to provide feedback and review.
  • Feedback and review – Employees often cite a lack of feedback from managers when on a remote work assignment. This leads to uncertainty about whether work is up to standard and the inability to judge progress against benchmarks.
  • Be specific with goals and tasks – Provide clear direction about tasks and goals that need to be accomplished. Having clearly defined tasks when working from home provides a set of benchmarks about what needs to be accomplished daily.
  • Lead by example – If you are working on a collaborative project, take opportunities to lead by example. Schedule ‘mini-meetings’ with your team, provide feedback on their work, and have your team review your own.
  • Encourage social interaction – Without the team’s favourite café down the road, encouraging non-work-related social interaction can go a long way to improving employee happiness. Setup ‘off-topic’ or ‘random’ chat channels on your group chat and encourage team members to call each other – even if it’s only to share what they are eating for lunch.
  • Open communication policy – Create an environment where open communication is valued and even rewarded.
  • Flexibility – As a manager, being mindful of each employee’s home environment and allowing some flexibility in working conditions when inevitable issues at home arise will work towards building trust and good-will with your team.
  • Meet the team – Schedule some time for your team to meet team members in other departments and learn about the business as a whole.
  • Friday Night Social – Finish the work week off a little early and schedule in a ‘drinks with the team’ meeting on Friday afternoon. Share the week’s success stories and talk about some difficulties in a laid-back environment.

10 Ways an Employee Can Thrive in a Remote Working Role

For an employee, learning how to juggle the work / life balance in remote company culture will aid in reducing anxiety and stress. Here are our 10-tips that you implement while working remotely.  

  • Eat healthily – With no workplace salad bar from the cafeteria, the tendency to snack on anything in our pantry is more present than ever. Maintain your health with a meal plan and some healthy snacks to get you through the workday.
  • Vitamin D – Help out your circadian rhythm and get the Vitamin D our bodies need with short breaks on your balcony or a quick walk around your local park.
  • Change of scenery – Take calls in the quiet space of your bedroom, team meetings on the patio, work on spreadsheets in the office, and complete research in the living room.
  • Be social – Take the time to call friends, family, and co-workers throughout the day.
  • Exercise – Keep active with a regular exercise routine. With no stairs to climb at the office, being proactive with some simple exercises works towards keeping the mind and body healthy.
  • Keep a routine – Set a daily schedule for when you will be working from home by starting and finishing work at the same time every day. Take breaks throughout the day and take the time for a proper lunch.
  • Keep abreast of information – Stay up to date with relevant news and updates from your team and manager. Where you are working from home due to a crisis, monitor the local news for the most recent developments to keep abreast of what’s going on outside your home.  
  • Dress for success – While there is certainly the opportunity to ‘lose the tie’ while working from home, the simple act of getting ready for work can be a big motivating factor in completing your daily tasks.
  • Communicate – If you are unsure of a task, give your manager or another team member a call for clarification and feedback.
  • Switch Off – Know when to switch off, avoid that ‘one last task’ or ‘one last email’ and leave it for tomorrow. Balancing your home-life and work-life is a strong contributing factor in long-term happiness.

Remote team culture can be rewarding and fulfilling for both employers and employees. At Future Fitouts, we are an office fitout company that encourages our team to strive and achieve their goals and dreams, while building a culture that is both fun, professional and productive. If you would like to learn more about how we incorporate remote team culture into our workplace, get in touch with us today.

For more information on remote work, you might also be interested in a previous blog we wrote on working from home.