There is no going around the fact that COVID-19 has radically changed our lives. The most significant change came in the business world. The mega work transition that led to new working standards increased discussions and openness about workplace cultures.
The current workplace and job market in the United States is fierce. Employees are now more empowered than ever. Employees are more than vocal about their personal experiences, work environment, etc. They are increasingly willing to move from one job to another due to dissatisfying work culture and positions.
The Pew research found that 1 in 5 adults was willing to quit jobs in 2021. Another survey by CNBC states that almost half of the employees are looking for a new plan and job soon. 44 percent of employees are now “job seekers,” as per Willis Towers Watson’s 2022 Global Benefits Attitude Survey.
Most workers quit their jobs in 2021 over low pay, feeling disrespected and limited opportunities for advancement, and, most importantly, toxic work culture. We will discuss toxic work culture later in this article. However, if you want to what a toxic remote work culture is and what causes remote cultures to become toxic, you can click here.
Surprisingly remote working is no longer a temporary working arrangement. Employees consider remote work and flexible working hours as workplace necessities. In April 2022, 42 percent of Americans were working from home. An Upwork survey estimated that 22 percent of the workforce would work remotely in the US by 2025. Unfortunately, working remotely often causes several detected and undetected issues.
Addressing Work from Home Issues
Typical work-from-home issues include lower internet connectivity, isolation, and less teamwork. While these might seem unimportant at first, these issues contribute to a higher employee turnover rate in the long run.
Fortunately, several good internet service providers provide remote workers access to high-speed internet service. Take Cox Communication, for example.
Suppose you are running a team remotely or responsible for creating a better work culture. In that case, you need to address issues and work towards creating a change. Here are some ways to create a healthy remote culture and embrace hybrid work.
Schedule Virtual Breaks
Even though there is no physical break room, remote working employees still need breaks during the day. Instead of rejecting the idea of a break or not acknowledging the free time for remote workers, one idea is to let people know a specific time when they can take coffee breaks. You can limit your virtual breaks to fifteen or thirty minutes, where you can encourage fun conversation and activities. You can also have virtual lunches with your colleagues so that you all can experience the face-to-face conversation element.
Learn a New Hobby or Skill
Another fun way that helps people stay connected in a remote culture is by learning a new skill or hobby together. For instance, if you are part of a global team, you can encourage an employee from France to teach other teammates their language. You can also organize a virtual workshop once a month where one person can teach a skill or hobby, and others can learn. Maybe you get a yoga instructor to help others learn new stress management techniques.
Leverage Visual Collaboration Software
Companies that encourage collaboration in the workplace make space for higher productivity. A Stanford study showed that people encouraged to collaborate in a workplace stick more in extended organizations than 64 percent longer than people who work alone. Workers encouraged to collaborate have higher engagement levels, higher success rates, and less fatigue.
Fortunately, the time we live in is all about proliferating remote work culture. Many companies have started accepting visual collaboration tools as their primary source for workplace collaboration. These collaboration tools can imitate the conversation and actions when employees work together in person.
For instance, your colleagues can share a meeting room or collaborate over a video chat. Visual software also comes with templates for design and strategy planning for a project.
One such tool is MURAL. MURAL creates a whiteboard experience in a digital interface. The software helps teams brainstorm, mind map, and idea generation. The best part of MURAL and other visual collaboration tools is that employees can contribute and share their ideas regardless of their geolocation.
Usually, only the most confident employees speak loudly and share their ideas in person. The introverted and shy employees do not have a say in project planning. A visual tool can help the meeting host encourage equal participation so that every employee’s ideas and suggestions are valued. The equal collaboration will create a more healthy environment and eventually lead to better remote work culture.
Many workers who work from home are only responsible for completing their tasks and showing their availability. This approach can lead to missing new opportunities and put the employee in a bad light.
If you are reading this and thinking about becoming a more proactive employee in a remote work setting, then here is an idea. You have to approach your manager and make sure you initiate 15 to 30 minutes of weekly calls. This will help you bond a bit better with your manager and help send regular updates to the executives.
There is no denying that adapting to a new work mode is challenging, let alone running a team. Once you decide to switch to a remote work team or company, several challenges will come across. However, if you are determined to accept the new and lasting work culture that helps you save money, you need to stay motivated.
So, once you have worked on ways to connect with your teammates and colleagues, your next target should be addressing toxic remote culture habits.
The Truth About Toxic Remote Work Cultures
As we said at the beginning of the article, the current job market is only empowering employees. Employees are the boss. Gen Z is currently the largest generation and also the workforce of the near future. Nevertheless, the concerning part is that these tech-savvy workers do not accept workplace misconduct or abuse of employees’ rights.
The Adobe survey of over 5,000 workers found that 56 percent of the workers from Gen Z are planning to switch jobs in 2022. Gen Z is unquestionably the most significant contributor to the prominent Great Resignation. Bankrate and Microsoft found that 77 percent of the Gen Z workers are ready to quit their jobs. While these surveys do not add up to the actions, there is no lie in stating that the young workers are vocal about toxic work culture and low wages.
A record of over 4 million Americans quitting their jobs in April 2021 caused an unprecedented situation in the US job market.
The great resignation was a great revelation of great discontent. Young workers realized how toxic work culture had spoiled their generation and the people before them. A toxic work culture did not allow workers to have time to spend on self-care or family.
The pandemic helped workers worldwide see how work and life can go side by side. The pandemic caused a significant shift in employee perspective and helped them sort their priorities. Workers in today’s time have a sense of purpose and demand organizations that can keep them engaged, care for them, and help them with work and life balance.
It is no longer a hidden truth that today’s workers demand and appreciate a healthy work culture, whether in an office or a remote setting. The Adobe survey found that over half of employees in an enterprise are willing to spend more time pursuing their passion. Catering to young workers’ demands is a necessity for employers.
It is not only because the talented generation is good at what they do, but also to ensure a higher and better work ethic. The Monster survey in 2022 shows that 76 percent of young workers believe that they are responsible for their career development.
Another survey explored what Gen Z demands from employers. It stated that 93 percent of young workers believe that a company’s impact on society affects their final decision on taking or not taking the job.
What Does ‘Toxic’ Really Mean?
The word “toxic” is yet another buzzword, but it holds more importance in the business world. Toxic workplace traits are not limited to just mean bosses or unfair treatment. Instead, other elements like the dissatisfying work environment in in-person or remote work also contribute to a toxic culture.
Regardless of location, toxic work culture is harmful to employees’ career development. However, studies have found that a remote work environment can become more toxic than in-office working standards. In a remote setting, toxic cultures usually promote behaviors that negatively influence employees’ well-being.
Reasons Why Remote Workplace Might Be Toxic
Inability to work in-person
There are several reasons why a remote workplace can become toxic soon. First comes the inability to provide employees with in-person work opportunities. Everyone loves to work from home, but not everyone can. Working from home can be comforting to some. However, it is not easy for others to separate space at home to dedicate only to work. Many employees crave the space at the office where they can focus and collaborate.
Most importantly, not every employee has access to high-speed internet service. Although internet service providers like Cox Communications offer a variety of internet plans ( read more about Cox communication internet plans here) that can fit a wide range of budgets – it is still a struggle for some employees to replace their old internet service with a new one.
Here organizations should help workers by allowing them to choose between in-office or in-home working arrangements, basically a hybrid setting. Employees can be more productive in an in-person space and face fewer struggles when compared to working remotely.
Lack of Relationship-Building Opportunities
Remote workers suffer isolation, and many companies neglect these issues—many companies lack to offer relationship-building opportunities in remote work culture. When going remote, the older employees have a stronger bond with one another than employees who have joined recently.
Wrapping it Up
Remote work culture comes with several challenges. While remote workers can handle issues like internet connectivity, the growing concerns like lack of relationship-building opportunities and toxic work culture are an employer’s duty to look after. As an employer, you might have difficulty satisfying employees, especially the Gen Z workers. However, in the article above, we have offered some experts-backed tips on creating a healthy remote work culture that can encourage employees towards better career satisfaction.