Although remote work offers benefits to employees – among them a redefined work-life balance and reduced commuting time – it has drawbacks. One such downside is its effect on corporate culture. Remote workers are deprived of the collaboration and socialization that comes with in-person and face-to-face communication. And remote working is here to stay, even as the pandemic forces companies to reassess their return-to-office strategies.
Unified communications (UC) platforms can help remote workers recapture some of that office culture with a variety of collaboration tools and features. Some are in the hands of IT to choose and set up. Others need business leaders to adjust to the new reality of keeping remote workers motivated without the benefits of face-to-face interaction. Let’s take a look at how to leverage unified communications to sustain corporate culture in the age of remote work.
1. Use video for one-on-one management/employee sessions
With many companies having some or all of their employees working remotely, the primary concern for management is to keep motivation and productivity high. One-on-one meetings can put employees at ease and keep communications open. UC platforms have the tools to replicate the feeling of an in-person, one-on-one meeting.
Video offers more than the ability to simply see a specific staff member. Managers can also determine how the employee is reacting, by assessing cues and body language signals that could signify frustration or tension. Employees can be praised for their performance in several ways, either vocally or through emojis, memes and GIFs sent via chat.
2. Allocate time for team breaks or huddles
Consider scheduled breaks that would invite different team members on a video call for a casual chat, like a virtual happy hour. These caucuses should allow employees to catch up on non-work related matters. These meetings should take place as often as necessary to allow employees to maintain their interoffice relationships.
3. Personalize your video, but be professional
Let employees customize their meeting backgrounds – within reason – to reflect their passions and interests. Zoom, for example, offers a variety of backgrounds. Other meeting software vendors have their own offerings or help employees upload their own background images.
The ability to customize a meeting can add levity to employee collaboration. Third-party services, like OBS, can also add advanced personalization to video calls.
4. Have the right equipment for the job
It’s not just about the software; make sure remote workers are equipped with the right devices and support. Good quality cameras and microphones are essential for a high quality UC experience. High-speed Internet access is another important consideration; delays, buffering, and lag all contribute to employee frustration.
In today’s job market, where competition is fierce and employees can work wherever they want, companies must find new ways to maintain their corporate culture. UC platforms are an important way for organizations to maintain corporate culture in remote work environments and keep employees connected beyond their work workflows.