By Mike Bedel, CPA, CGMA
Partner, Director of Audit & Assurance Services
For many people, the weekly work routine is quite different these days. Rather than driving to the office and settling in at their desk, they clock in at their kitchen table and interact with co-workers through cyberspace.
Do you find yourself wondering why things don’t feel the same with your team interactions? Even as you work remotely, you can still maintain your company’s corporate culture.
A good leader is proactive in situations like the COVID-19 pandemic — both at the onset and throughout the prolonged timeline. Regardless of physical workspaces, good team leaders continue to communicate with their team. They will touch base with employees early on and serve as a source of stability and support. They will also create an encouraging, collaborative environment for setting mutual expectations and goals in the midst of any situation, including an economic downturn and a disruptive work environment. Just as technology is used as a tool to facilitate the operations of your company during this time, it can also be useful in recreating the friendly warmth of your office with virtual platforms like Gather, which allows users to design their meeting space and utilize digital whiteboards, podiums, conference tables and cubicles. This is one way to maintain your company’s culture during this unusual transition period.
Of course, expectations and goals will change as COVID restrictions evolve. If your company is operating remotely, you may want to focus on increasing online business. Owners and CEOs should stay in close contact with clients and managers to set expectations for deliverables and timetables. Safety should be your first priority for your employees, customers, vendors and guests. You should establish CDC-recommended protocols. Goals and expectations established at the beginning of this disruption were set more than six months ago. If they have not yet been revisited, this leadership task is past due. This is true for goals and expectations set for sales and customers as well as goals and expectations for your corporate culture and team members.
While working remotely, some team members may have to tend to children and pets or other distractions from their tasks at hand. Staying flexible during this time will help them adjust to this new normal. Effective coaching on how to adapt and remain productive may also be warranted. In addition to the flexibility and coaching, maintaining clear goals and expectations is essential for success in this (or any) setting.
Communication is key right now. Keeping in touch with your staff members will help them feel like they’re not drifting alone through cyberspace. Teamwork defines a company’s culture. Even if the office is empty and you’re all working apart, you can still keep that team spirit alive!