I remember the day as if it were today: I was sitting on my laptop, writing a marketing concept for a customer when my husband called me from New York. He was visiting friends there, enjoying his favorite city. It was early February 2020 and he said: “Annika, it feels strange to be here. I somehow have the feeling I might not get out of the country by the end of the week.”
Two weeks later, our borders were closed and I was no longer sitting alone at home on my laptop. My husband sat in the next room. Our children interrupted us during work, sometimes one of us, sometimes the other, so happy about the unexpected ‘holidays’ at home.
With the Covid Pandemic our work lives have changed drastically from one day to another. Companies that would never had allowed home office days had to install remote work environments for their teams overnight. Colleagues that were used to face-to-face-meetings didn’t see each other for months.
With social distancing measures and restrictions on gatherings, remote work has become the norm for many organizations. However, remote work is not just a temporary solution during a crisis. It has several benefits that can improve you company culture in the long run, too.
This is why remote work can positively improve your company culture:
Remote work allows employees to have more control over their work schedules, which can help improve their work-life balance. They can work during their most productive hours and have more time for personal commitments. For me, working at night after the kids have gone to bed has become indispensable. Having more flexibility can lead to increased job satisfaction and overall happiness, which can positively impact the company culture.
Studies have shown that remote workers are often more productive than their office-based counterparts. This is due to several factors such as fewer distractions, no commute time, and the ability to customize their work environment. With increased productivity, employees can accomplish more in less time, leading to higher job satisfaction and a positive work culture.
Remote work has made it easier for employees to collaborate with colleagues from different locations and time zones. With video conferencing and collaboration tools, remote workers can communicate and work together effectively. This can lead to better teamwork, improved problem-solving, and a more cohesive work culture.
Remote work can also lead to cost savings for both the employees and the company. Without the need for office space, utilities, and other expenses, companies can save money. Employees can also save on transportation costs, clothing, and food expenses. This can lead to improved financial well-being, which can positively impact the overall company culture.
The flexibility that comes with remote work can also reduce stress levels for employees. Without the need to commute to an office, deal with office politics, or deal with the pressures of being physically present, employees can focus on their work and personal lives. This can lead to reduced stress levels, which can lead to a positive work culture.
Remote work can also lead to increased diversity and inclusion in the workplace. With the ability to work from anywhere, companies can recruit and retain employees from different locations, cultures, and backgrounds. This can lead to a more diverse workforce and a culture that values diversity and inclusion.
Remote work can also have a positive impact on the health and wellness of employees. With more control over their work environment and schedule, employees can make healthier choices such as taking breaks to exercise, preparing healthy meals, and taking care of their mental health. This can lead to a more engaged and motivated workforce, which can positively impact the company culture.
From improved work-life balance to increased productivity, remote work can benefit both employees and the company. By embracing remote work, companies can create a culture that values flexibility, collaboration, diversity, and inclusion, leading to a more engaged and motivated workforce.
After three years of remote work, I hear many leaders complain about a lack of company culture and feeling of togetherness. It is a very narrow line that executives must walk today between the complete freedom of employees to be wherever they want and work whenever they want, and the need for exchange and teamwork, building trust, and achieving agreed-upon goals.
Companies often reach their limits in this area. The rapid shift from pure on-site work to remote work only leads many companies to a cultural crisis. This is precisely where I, as a New Work facilitator, come in. I accompany you and your team through the change process. Together, we develop solutions tailored to your company for productive and trustworthy collaboration.
I have worked in a wide variety if work environments and teams. From a startup that we had started from scratch, working without any hierarchies. There we struggled to find a forum where we could not only exchange ideas and give positive feedback – but also constructive criticism.
I have also worked in huge corporations where it took me months to find like-minded digital marketing experts to exchange experiences. And where team meetings mainly consisted of orga talks about how to clean the coffee maker properly. How to get on in the team was mainly discussed behind closed doors next to the coffee machine. Or in half-yearly, half-hourly feedback talks with your team lead that had filled out 10 page feedback sheets prepared by the HR department.
Which of these business models had the better feedback culture?
My experience is that a culture of constructive criticism does not depend on the size of the team or the company.
It depends on the way you and your team communicate, and mainly on creating a work environment where everyone feels safe!
Why is creating a safe work environment important?
Whenever you feel safe with the people you work with or for, you will feel seen and respected. You will have the certainty that your opinion is worth being heard and that your work is being valued. When feeling safe, you will not only deal better with criticism, but also be able to formulate criticism constructively. And moreover, you will be more motivated to reach your goals.
Creating a culture of constructive criticism is essential for any growing team. When done properly, constructive criticism can help individuals and teams grow and improve. However, it can be difficult to know where to start, especially when working with a team that is constantly evolving.
In this article, I will share my advice for creating a work culture of constructive criticism in a growing team:
1. Set clear expectations and guidelines
Before you start implementing a culture of constructive criticism, it’s important to set clear expectations and guidelines. This includes outlining what constructive criticism means, how it should be delivered and received, and what the goals of the feedback process are. Having clear guidelines and expectations in place will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that feedback is delivered in a way that is both helpful and productive.
2. Start with small steps
When implementing a new culture of constructive criticism, it’s important to start with small steps. This can mean starting with one-on-one feedback sessions before moving on to larger team meetings. Starting with small steps will help build confidence and trust in the feedback process and will make it easier for individuals to give and receive feedback.
3. Emphasize the positive
Constructive criticism is all about finding ways to improve, but it’s important to emphasize the positive as well. When giving feedback, start by highlighting what the individual or team is doing well. This will help build confidence and create a positive atmosphere for feedback.
4. Use “I” statements
When giving feedback, it’s important to use “I” statements. This means framing feedback in terms of your own experience rather than making generalizations about the individual or team. For example, instead of saying “you need to improve your communication skills,” try saying “I had a hard time understanding what you were trying to say in that meeting.” This will help make the feedback feel less personal and more objective.
5. Encourage feedback from all levels
Constructive criticism should not just come from managers or team leaders. Encourage feedback from all levels of the team, including individual contributors. This will help create a culture of openness and collaboration, and will help everyone feel invested in the feedback process.
6. Make it a regular practice
Creating a culture of constructive criticism requires regular practice. Make sure that feedback is an ongoing part of your team’s culture, rather than something that only happens once in a while. This could mean having regular one-on-one meetings, team meetings focused on feedback, or using tools like anonymous surveys to gather feedback from the team.
7. Foster a growth mindset
A growth mindset is the belief that individuals and teams can learn and grow over time. This is essential for creating a culture of constructive criticism. Encourage your team to adopt a growth mindset by emphasizing the importance of learning and improvement, and by celebrating successes along the way.
8. Provide resources for improvement
Constructive criticism is only helpful if individuals and teams have the resources they need to make improvements. Make sure that your team has access to the tools, training, and resources they need to make positive changes. This could mean investing in training programs, providing access to coaching or mentorship, or investing in technology that can help streamline processes and improve communication.
9. Celebrate progress
Creating a culture of constructive criticism can be challenging, but it’s important to celebrate progress along the way. When individuals or teams make positive changes based on feedback, make sure to celebrate their progress and recognize their hard work. This will help build momentum and keep everyone invested in the feedback process.
10. Lead by example
Finally, it’s important to lead by example. If you want your team to adopt a culture of constructive criticism, you need to model that behavior yourself. Be open to feedback, encourage others to give you feedback, and make sure that you’re actively engaged in the daily business and the people.
The world is changing rapidly and this is also noticeable in our working lives. Corona, climate change, insecure pensions,… countless factors contribute to the fact that we feel insecure. That’s why managers are expected to have completely new skills today. They should ensure an environment of security, collegiality and tolerance. We call it the ‘Fearless Organisation’ that is essential for a team to achieve good performance.
As a New Work Facilitator I will guide you and your team to create a safe work environment that fits your and your team member’s needs, AND achieve the organization’s goals! Depending on the size of the team I give employees from all areas and levels the opportunity to get involved. I work as a facilitator, not a coach. As a facilitator I enable you and your team to get to the solution as a team. A solution that fits your individual company’s needs.
Want to work on your company culture? I am looking forward to your message!