Although the COVID-19 pandemic has doubled the number of remote working environments, this type of corporate structure is far from new. A recent study from FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics found that in 2020 alone, more than 4.7 million people were already familiar with some type of work-from-home set-up. For those businesses that are still adapting, even 7 months later, finding ways to make remote working feel less like the “new” normal, and more normal—period—is far from effortless. While employees are quickly learning to adjust to at-home offices, Zoom meetings, and solitude, HR professionals are steadfast in their mission to improve—and maintain—corporate connectedness.
Solidarity amongst employees has always played a crucial role in creating a functional corporate environment, but with remote working, it becomes even more critical. Finding ways to provide workers with a sense of support, connection, and community doesn’t just help prevent occupational burnout (which has proven to be a major detriment to businesses). It also keeps motivation high and loyalty strong during a time that might otherwise lead to apathy.
If you are seeking solutions to help bridge any potential gaps, consider the following ideas:
3 Tips to Foster a Sense of Community While Working from Home
Create Company Challenges
Studies have proven time and again that employees appreciate when companies show an interest in them beyond their contributions to the corporation. Offering incentives that foster personal growth help create fulfillment and satisfaction in your workers, thus leading to lower turnover, better results, and a more positive work environment.
You can capitalize on these desires to also foster connectedness throughout the workplace. For example, consider creating a company-wide employee wellness fitness challenge that encourages workers to exercise regularly and try out new routines.
Offer incentives for each milestone achieved; for instance, employees that log 50 hours of exercise in one month could receive an extra vacation day. Then, to help achieve these goals, offer physical team-building activities, such as weekly remote yoga classes, weekend hikes, or support groups designed to keep participants motivated. You might also consider investing in a new corporate benefits plan that provides access to gyms and exercise classes.
Schedule Monthly Townhall Meetings
For those employees that are new to remote working, the unfamiliarity of spending day after day alone can lead to stress. The mere fact that they spend their hours in solitude can leave employees feeling as though they are without connection or support.
Townhall meetings are an effective tool, especially during times of uncertainty. As such, you should consider implementing them monthly, especially during the current state of the world. Setting aside an hour or so each month to bring all members of your company together will serve as a reminder to your employees that they are not alone. Instead, they are still a valued part of a bigger entity, which could help quell any mounting nerves.
These meetings will also provide employees with an opportunity to learn about changes in your corporation, helping them to feel connected to the ever-evolving goals of the company, as well as stay apprised of the business’s successes and challenges. Furthermore, townhall meetings offer the chance for workers to ask questions, raise concerns, and voice opinions—all of which will help reinforce the idea that they are still heard and recognized, even when working from home.
Create Accessible Support Systems
Most companies make it known to their employees that the doors of HR representatives are always open. But during a time when job loss rates are at an all-time high, it isn’t surprising that employees might feel apprehensive coming forward about their difficulties adjusting to remote working.
To that end, consider creating ongoing support meetings designed to help employees thrive in their new normal. Each session should focus on a unique challenge posed by remote working, as well as offer actionable tips to overcome them. Also, consider designating a portion of each meeting to an open discussion. During this segment, employees can share successes, offer tips on what worked for them, and voice frustrations.
These meetings will not just improve the output of work from your employees. They will also help team members overcome feelings of isolation and fear that they are the only ones struggling. By being a part of a group, they will foster connections with other employees that will continue to grow throughout their careers.
Embracing Connection in Your Company
If you are seeking resources to support goals of connection and employee wellness, Gympass is here to help. We offer a broad range of corporate benefits plans for organizations of all kinds, and we are proud to partner with more than 55,000 studios and gyms across the globe, in addition to virtual classes, mental health resources, therapy, personal training, and more. To learn more about how we can help your business with our corporate service plans, request a quote today.