Long-term Working From Home and Company Culture
By Stephanie Clark | Published March 10, 2021
We are a full year into living at work, also referred to as working from home— during a global pandemic. Some of us toggle between Zoom calls, and helping our children stay awake during distance learning. Then we pivot to caring for our aging parents, que the ding of another urgent email, and find ourselves working well into the evening. Wash, rinse, repeat. Without a clear end in sight, it can simply feel heavy. The type of heavy that sits on your chest and weighs on your heart. Working mothers are disproportionally impacted, resulting in mass exiting of the workforce. Self-compassion, empathy, and genuine connection are more essential than ever—for you, your employees, and to preserve your company’s culture.
Pause to check in, and engage
Empathetic curiosity and seeking to understand how you can empower and support your employees are key, especially when they are working remote. Its key to provide a safe space for each employee to share about how their long-term working from home arrangement is affecting them. Here are a few questions that may help you engage in this discovery dialog:
How are you doing, really?
Are you able to bring your authentic self to work? If not, how can I help you feel more comfortable in doing so?
What flexibility in your work schedule will make a positive impact in your work/life balance?
Are you able to carve out time during your workday to engage in something that brings you joy?
What can we do differently to support you in achieving your goals?
Do you have suggestions on how we can improve remote employee engagement?
It takes a village—where are my people?
You have likely heard “it takes a village to raise a child.” In business, it takes a village to create and maintain a positive company culture. For many employees, settling into their new and unique long-term work from home routine means limited interpersonal and social interactions with their extended colleagues and teams: their village. No more spontaneous opportunities for cross–pollination while passing through the office, during potlucks, or at annual company parties. Being a part of something larger than ourselves, a village, gives us purpose, connection, and hope. “Hope provides lift, drawing remote employees out of present impossibilities into a future filled with possibilities.” The late Dr. Shane Lopez, a Gallup senior scientist, spent his career studying hope. He defined “hope” as “the belief that the future will be better than the present, along with the belief that you have the power to make it so.” Bringing the village to remote employees through employee resource groups is an excellent avenue to instill hope, to bring employees into the light, and generate workplace joy.
Turning hope into action
Employee resource groups (ERGs) are an exceptional, and affordable, way to foster communal support, empowerment, hope, and engagement. If the thought of starting an ERG feels overwhelming, not to worry, check out ABD’s Insights. We are in this together! ABD launched a number of impactful and well-received ERGs, and we want to share our learning with you. Watch a replay of our webinar Creating and Engaging Employee Resource Groups to learn how to establish and leverage ERGs to support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) in your organization.
Stephanie Clark, SPHR is a Senior HR Consultant at Newfront.