Eighty percent of employees say they want to work from home at least part-time. And three in four consider remote work the “new normal.” In an attempt to stay competitive, organizations everywhere are offering totally remote and hybrid work options to current and potential employees.
While it’s great that companies are accommodating employee needs, a new issue is arising: How do we maintain a remote culture that keeps employees engaged, even from afar?
Our Guest: Creative Entrepreneur Jeremy Parker
On the latest #WorkTrends podcast, I chatted with Jeremy Parker. He’s an entrepreneur who was named to Crain’s Class of 2020 NY 40 under 40 list. Jeremy formed the Creative Promotional Product Division under MV Sport. He also helped start Vowch Commonwealth and is currently co-founder and CEO of Swag.com, a swag distribution company that supports a healthy remote culture.
Jeremy understands that who you work with is just as important as what you’re working on, especially in the case of startups. According to Jeremy, a great remote culture starts with the recruiting process and finding the right people for what your business needs right now.
“When onboarding new hires, it’s important to find the right culture fit, especially for startups. Different employees are required for different stages of a business life cycle,” Jeremy says.
And of course, he adds, before offering someone a role, you have to consider the candidate as a person, and determine if they will be truly happy at the company and empowered by the work.
“I think the most important thing across the board is making sure the people you hire really care about what they’re doing. That they’re willing to work hard. They need to feel passionate about the work and feel ownership over it,” Jeremy says.
Bring Remote Workers Together with Pocket Offices and Swag
Once the right remote employees are hired, how do you make them feel connected even when they’re far away? One strategy: Offer them swag.
“If you see somebody wearing a shirt representing your favorite sports team or college, you have an instant connection. It’s the same thing within a company,” Jeremy says. “If you’re wearing the same things, it brings people together around a shared purpose and mission.”
Also, getting creative with events for remote workers is crucial. While employees may be located all over the world, it’s still possible to offer in-person opportunities for bonding.
“Instead of having one central hub and making employees drive two hours each way, find little pocket offices in different locations. So even if remote employees can’t meet everybody at the company in person, people can get out of the house and collaborate with others,” Jeremy says. “Everyone’s feeling isolated (especially with COVID). So whatever you can do to bring people together and create unity is important.”