One unexpected outcome of the pandemic is that remote work has leveled the playing field in some surprising ways. Now that our meetings are held on Zoom or Teams or other video platforms, we’ve erased some of the boundaries that once were imposed by geography. (For thoughts on coaching employees to use video conferences most effectively, try this Best Practices one-pager.)
One company we’ve worked with shared recently that video conferences allow them to include more associates in meetings that they would have been excluded from before, simply because previously there wasn’t money in the budget to have them travel from other countries to corporate headquarters. Others have mentioned that there used to be an inequal balance of power in meetings where most people were attending in person while one or two were calling in and invisible to the other participants.
HUMANIZING OF LEADERSHIP
We’ve also heard several people mention how this past year of remote work has made leadership seem more accessible. When the CEO is attending a meeting from his or her kitchen table, with dogs and children and even significant others making occasional appearances in the background, it helps employees feel a stronger human connection to them as people, not just titles.
Companies have been forced to invent new ways for onboarding new employees, and in many cases, they’ve improved the process. One client of Tribe has created an online onboarding center with all the resources a new employee could need easily accessible. Team meetings on video also help them develop relationships with fellow employees across the globe. Instead of just seeing their names on an email or hearing them on a conference call, they’re seeing their faces and enjoying more interaction during meetings.
MORE INCLUSIVE RECRUITING
For companies planning on long-term remote work, or a hybrid arrangement that affords broad flexibility for where employees work, there are now wider opportunities for building a more diverse workforce. For instance, one of Tribe’s clients, a large national client headquartered in a smallish city in the Midwest, has realized that remote work allows them to recruit young talent from either coast who might not be interested in leaving city life. On the other hand, it allows employers in expensive real estate locations, like the Bay Area or Manhattan, to hire from small towns across the country.
One issue that many companies seem to be struggling with is how to preserve and build culture while employees are working remotely. Since much of a company culture is shared almost through osmosis, we may have to be more intentional about how employees, particularly new ones, are exposed to the culture. (For ideas on how to engage remote employees without forced fun, see this Forbes piece.)
FUTURE OF WORK
It will be interesting to see what changes of the past year stick, as we emerge from the pandemic. We know that the rapid pace of change and adaptability will not leave us in the same place we started. The future of work will be shaped by the solutions we’ve created to work together remotely, and to bring us closer together even when we’re working far apart.
Interested in addressing cultural needs with your remote workforce? Tribe can help.