In the remote workplace, it can be difficult to manage workplace attitude, behavior, and culture, but that has become very necessary in 2020.
Workforces around the world, after all, were required to work from home, adopt new workflows and tools, build new business strategies, and more.
One consequence of the global transition to remote working is that managers must rethink the way they supervise and interact with employees.
Managing workplace attitude, behavior, and performance, for instance, all require new strategies and techniques.
Below, we’ll cover some tips for managers who want to maintain a positive work environment in today’s virtual workplace.
Tips for Managing Workplace Attitude in the Remote Workplace
Here are a few ways to improve and better manage attitudes and behaviors when the entire office is working online:
1. Ensure employees align with the company culture
Organizational culture, according to organizational development expert Edgar Schein, consists of a workforce’s shared assumptions, espoused values, and artifacts – that is, the visible aspects of a company’s culture, such as dress codes.
The rules of behavior, which are determined by the values of the company and the workforce, are part of this model.
For instance, one company may value a formal, professional workplace attitude. Another may take a more casual approach to behavior in the workplace.
It is important to note that there is no such thing as one “perfect” workplace culture.
Instead, what is important is whether the company’s values and the values of the workforce are aligned. That alignment will often determine what is positive and what is not.
A company whose espoused values include ideas such as “play hard, work hard,” for instance, would not align with workers who have a lax work ethic.
For more tips on how to align or change the workplace culture, check out some of our articles on organizational culture change.
2. Listen and learn from employees
The remote workplace is a new experience for many employees, so it is crucial to obtain their feedback and learn from their input.
That information can help in several ways:
- Employees can offer ideas that can be used to improve the online workplace
- Their perspectives can provide insight into their behaviors and attitudes
- Listening to employees can make them feel heard and appreciated, which can, in turn, improve their attitudes
Insights such as these can help managers understand what employees like about the remote workplace, what they don’t, whether they are satisfied, and so forth.
That information can provide important keys to understanding existing attitudes and working towards changing employee behaviors.
Research has shown that remote working has many benefits and many employees prefer it.
One study from Buffer, for instance, found that 98% of remote workers would like to continue remote work, at least some of the time, for the rest of their career. And 97% would recommend remote work to others.
Having a flexible schedule and work location were the two benefits to telecommuting that employees liked the most.
However, loneliness, or social isolation, was also named as one of the biggest challenges to remote working.
Without constant social connection with their teammates, it can be difficult to create a cohesive, positive workplace culture. As a result, employee productivity, behavior, and attitudes can suffer.
One way to combat this is by deliberately creating a space for online social interaction.
A daily virtual water cooler chat, via Zoom, is one way to keep team members connected on a social level. Video games are another example. The choice of the online “social venue” should naturally depend on the team, the company, its culture, and so forth.
As mentioned earlier, listening to employees is a good way to collect feedback – and they may also be able to provide some ideas about how to stay socially connected in the virtual, digital workplace.
4. Lead by example
There are a number of essential traits, qualities, and best practices that managers and leaders should follow, both online and offline.
Leading by example is one of the most well-known and effective ways to engage employees.
Employees, after all, will be much more likely to follow, trust, and have confidence in a leader whose actions align with their expectations.
At the same time, embodying the workplace attitudes that you wish to see in others will indicate to them exactly how they are supposed to behave.
When leaders don’t embody the company’s values, however, it will be that much more difficult for employees to actually understand which attitudes and behaviors are expected and acceptable. This, in turn, will produce more miscommunications and greater friction in the workplace, which can then have a detrimental impact on the workplace culture, team cohesion, attitudes, and behaviors.
In short, strong leaders make strong teams. The more actively managers and leaders work alongside the workforce – instead of “above” them – the easier it will be to keep employees engaged and productive.