How to Promote Healthy and Productive Virtual Work Policies

As lockdowns and restrictions around the world start to ease and more people are allowed to head back to their offices, there has been a somewhat understandable confusion in many companies over how to approach work from home arrangements.

Some organizations have stressed the need to have their workforce back at desks as soon as possible, while others have fully embraced virtual working, allowing employees to make their own decision about where (and even when) they want to work.
While the circumstances might be very different depending on your business type and sector, the reality is that accepting this massive shift in work culture and finding ways to adapt your systems and employee experience strategy is crucial for maintaining productivity and employee engagement.

We explore a few ways you can promote healthy and productive policies around virtual working that still line up with your organization’s culture and ethos around inclusion and integration.

Build Policies around Your Employee’s Health

When it comes to working from home, or from any place for that matter, a decent setup is extremely important for productivity and concentration, but also health.

An improper work setup can bring with it blurred vision, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, neck and back strain, and most commonly, poor body posture. On top of all this, there’s an added layer of stress that comes with handling high pressure projects from a workstation that is less than adequate.

To help your employees work at their best and avoid short or long term health issues, consider sharing resources and guides on how they can create the right set up at home. This can include everything from positioning their screens in a place that reduces neck strain or making sure there is adequate lighting in place.

An increasingly important aspect of this topic is mental health and wellbeing. Many of your employees may not be lucky enough to have a dedicated room where they can work, or space away from their family members, who might also be working from home at the same time.
Consider sharing various strategies and tips with your teams that can help them cope with difficult situations and do the best with what they have available to them. Being open to people’s concerns and challenges will also signal to your employees that you’re aware of the difficult changes they are going through, even if there’s no quick fix that can solve all their virtual working problems.

Set Measurable Expectations for Success

Whether you’re still a modest sized startup or a large enterprise level company, it is important to set boundaries and a clear set of expectations for all your employees. This is vital for providing the kind of structure that many people lose from being around colleagues or their managers. Establishing measurable goals ensures that your team is still aware of what counts as high-quality work and helps to keep people focused and engaged on their tasks.

The key is striking a balance between established major goals and smaller, probably less significant, targets. Avoid the temptation of giving your employees too many daily goals to hit as this can feel like micromanagement and is often not that productive. Instead, focus on the bigger picture and let your employees chart their own course toward important project outcomes.

Trust in Your Processes

Assuming you’ve already built some effective processes around how your team communicates and collaborates with each other for projects and tasks, try to avoid bombarding your team with emails and telephone calls.

Rather than managing small details and triple checking people are doing what they need to, focus on building processes that give your employees autonomy and allow them to find the best way to use their time as efficiently as possible.

Create Clear and Efficient Communication Guidelines

Zoom, Slack, Teams, Trello, Asana, and InVision are all great communication tools that can contribute to an inclusive virtual workplace, but using these tools without creating new guidelines can create several challenges in your organization. A few issues that can arise are:

  • Certain employees may not feel comfortable using video calls continuously throughout the day, especially when they are working in a busy home environment or next to their partners
  • Some people might favour one platform over another and miss out on vital communications due to a primary mode of contact not being established (e.g. employees only checking emails but not checking Slack for real-time updates)
  • Messages may get lost as people communicate across multiple content management systems and are overwhelmed by too many notifications
  • Some of your employees may be unhappy to receive WhatsApp messages for work and would rather use this, or other platforms, for personal messages only
  • To overcome these and other issues with communication, it’s important to establish efficient and fair guidelines that work for your teams… and then ensure they are embedded.

    Looking for More Advice?

    If you’re looking for more advice on how to improve the way your organization works in relation to virtual work setups, communication strategies and employee engagement, get in touch with us at Service Brand Global.

Ways to Improve Learning and Development Opportunities in the Workplace

Having opportunities to learn and grow is a major driver of employee satisfaction and a key selling point for organizations in the global jobs market. Despite having a grasp of this concept, many businesses are hesitant to invest in employee training and development programs.

This might be due to fears of costs, impact on productivity when employees time is taken up by non-essential work activities, and the risk of employees upskilling and leaving you for a role in another company. However, while there are some careful considerations to be made about how you integrate development opportunities in the workplace and how to achieve a good return on investment, the data shows that companies that invest in their employees perform better.

Whether it’s helping your organization be preparedas technology and changing consumer behaviour present new challenges for your business, reducing turnover, or simply improving employee engagement, adapting development schemes is a smart move for businesses of all types. Below are just a few ways you can bring such schemes into your workplace.

Internal Exploration

Many companies operate with large divides between different departments. However, while this might be necessary from a logistics point of view, with specialised teams handling very unique areas from supply chain to custom service, this can often impede organizational alignment.

One way to remedy this while offering a chance to present new learning and development opportunities to employees is to provide ways for team members to interact with other parts of the organization that they are unfamiliar with or aren’t even aware of.

This is especially effective in large global businesses where it is sometimes a challenge for people to see beyond their immediate job role or department. Providing lectures, tours and interdepartmental activities can help to make people more aware of the role they play in the company and allow them to expand their experience and understanding of the industry they are in.

One clear benefit for employers is that employees moving into management positions can always benefit from a better overview of how things work, even if they’re not directly involved in certain areas, giving them a greater chance of bringing values to life and embodying the culture of the entire company rather than just the immediate circles they interact with day to day.

Invite Specialists

By inviting specialists to run workshops and share insights into your industry, you can improve your team’s knowledge in particular areas while helping them to keep up with industry best practices and trends. Many different outside facilitators can come into the workplace as a neutral third-party, contributing to your employee’s overall learning and development.

Some organisations choose to invite guest speakers to talk or run workshops as part of an annual calendar of events. This can be a cause for excitement if well-known industry experts are taking part and can also be adapted session to session based on your current needs as a business or simply the interests of your employees.

While internally conducted sessions are also useful, an external perspective provides a ‘fresh’ view which can enhance your organization’s innovation and growth.

Encourage Self-Learning and Build a Hub of Free Resources

Having a way to share the existing knowledge you already hold as a company through easy to access and use resources can offer employees the opportunity they need to learn at their own pace. It’s common that really valuable research, guides, reports, instructional videos and other documents that organizations have already invested money into producing are not widely available, or even known about, among your employees.

For example, if you have tutorials on how search traffic and funnels work for your brand, this can be useful to more than just people in your marketing team. Equally, comprehensive brand guidelines and mood boards that really capture your story and mission as a company, should not only be available to a select few people. Why not give everyone access to this asset and encourage greater integration across your business? This can also really help in bringing values to life.

Focus Building a Culture of Education and Growth

Actively integrating education and growth into your company culture is also a powerful way to quench your employee’s thirst for learning and developing, while positioning yourself effectively to constantly adapt and evolve as an enterprise.

Strong organizational leadership requires conscious measures to understand the strengths and weaknesses of different professionals in your company before making a plan of action to improve the effectiveness of the organization as a whole. This macro scale approach is something that can also be felt on a personal level as employees play an important role in how the collective unit grows and matures.

Final Thoughts

Letting your employees constantly grow and strive for improvement is one of the best ways of bringing values to life in any organization. When you are actively encouraging and supporting people’s growth, they are more likely to recognize how the organisation’s values are aligned with their personal values and see the organization as a vehicle for progressing rather than a barrier.

Providing opportunities internally will help to retain the employees you want, while providing the kind of employee experience that attracts the best talent in the jobs market.

What Is Brand Vision?

Brand vision refers to the trajectory of a brand and what it hopes to achieve in the future. It is rooted in your core branding, but it encapsulates more than just the here and now. A perfect brand vision for your company will help to guide your business strategy and outline where you hope to be one day.

If you imagine your core brand identity as a kind of anchor, your brand vision is a place on the map you hope to chart a course to. It should resonate with customers and help to inspire employees.

Continue reading “What Is Brand Vision?”

What Is the ‘One View’ Approach to Employee Engagement? A Quick Introduction

Service Brand Global’s our approach to employee engagement is to encourage ‘one view’ of the organisation. Our strategies and methods for helping companies to improve employee engagement are always based on this concept.

We cover this topic extensively in our recently published book, The Values Economy,  and here are a few key takeaways you can implement if you’re looking to improve things in this area of your business.

Continue reading “What Is the ‘One View’ Approach to Employee Engagement? A Quick Introduction”

Customer Service Training – Strategies for Improving Customer Experience

While most companies understand that customer service is a key aspect of their business, many do not know exactly how they can train their team so that all customer and client-facing interactions are delivered to the highest standards.

Even fewer know how they can instil a deeper sense of principles in their employees so that customer service activities match their core beliefs and brand values.

Continue reading “Customer Service Training – Strategies for Improving Customer Experience”

We’re In this Together! Building A Culture of Trust for the ‘Next Normal’

Protecting employee health and welfare remains a top priority for many leaders. And while the benefits of this go far beyond business performance, it’s true that there’s also a strong financial case for building a culture of trust in the workplace, as we continue to go through very uncertain times together.

We explore this topic and how businesses can frame their future decisions around inclusivity and shared values as we all navigate new challenges.

Continue reading “We’re In this Together! Building A Culture of Trust for the ‘Next Normal’”

How to Build Holistic Customer Experiences

Company owners and business leaders know that customer experience (CX) matters, but building an effective strategy that works across multiple channels isn’t easy.

For one thing, the way digital platforms are evolving means that your channel-based approaches need to be constantly monitored and optimized. We’re also seeing completely new channels enter the mix, such as the increasingly popular Clubhouse a growing number of brands are already leveraging to communicate with new and existing audiences.

Continue reading “How to Build Holistic Customer Experiences”

How to Define Brand Success for Your Business

Whether you’re building an entirely new brand or rebranding your organisation around different values and goals, defining what brand success actually looks like is important for tracking the intended outcomes and benefits of the process.

After all, building brands for purely superficial or abstract reasons isn’t beneficial or practical. We should build them to help us achieve better organisational alignment, a sense of identity (both internally and externally), and improve engagement among employees.

Continue reading “How to Define Brand Success for Your Business”

The Link between Employee Accountability and Engagement

Many companies invest resources in raising the engagement of their employees, but despite their best efforts, are not able to see anything like the results they were hoping to achieve.

While the specific reasons for this can be just as varied and complex as the company itself, in some cases, a key reason for this is the lack of trust and accountability employers offer their employees when it comes to core business and operational tasks.

Continue reading “The Link between Employee Accountability and Engagement”