Outsourced Accounting & Human Resources Services
303 S Paterson Street
Madison, WI 53703
313 N Plankinton Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53203
333 Jackson Plaza
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Foreword by Lenise Leknes, Accounting Manager
Have you ever wanted to make a change in your life, but there were some things holding you back? I have always wanted to move to another state, but work was always a concern for me when considering relocation. I lived in South Florida for most of my life, and although the majority of people would probably think I was crazy for wanting to move, I was ready for a change of pace. It was always busy, the cost of living was creeping up, and any road trip I desired to take was super far away. Do not get me wrong - South Florida is beautiful, but so are many other places in the United States that I have been longing to see.
I started working at Fine Point Consulting in November of 2019. I was new to the work-from-home thing and the ‘remote life’ culture. It did not take me long to fall in love with this company and the freedom given to employees! It started me thinking - Could I finally make my dream of moving out of state come true? As my husband and I got comfy as newlyweds, we started throwing the idea of relocating around more and more. Finally, at the end of 2020, we took a leap of faith! We prepared ourselves to move to North Carolina right next to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.
Not only did working at Fine Point make it possible for me to switch states, but our work model also helped me keep my sanity for the long to-do list that comes with a big move. If I were working a traditional 9-5 type of schedule, packing would have been a nightmare! Here, we work in teams and are given the flexibility to be a results-only work environment. I was able to work for an hour, then pack for an hour, and it allowed me to make sure that I was meeting both my work obligations to my clients and my team, while also continuing to make progress towards our move. This was my personal schedule up until we made the big drive. I would like to give a special thanks to my team for being extraordinary in their support while I needed to take a few days off to make the trip and settle in. It is such a blessing to know that I was not a burden to my team or our clients because the system we have in place ensures that all needs are met.
As we are settling into our new home at this very moment, I am completely grateful for the opportunity given by Fine Point. When you have happy employees, they are more than happy to work!
Remote work has greatly improved daily life for many employees, transforming the traditional 9-to-5 routine into a more flexible and personalized approach to work, as Leslie discussed in her own tale of remote work life. With the ability to work from the comfort of their homes or any location of their choosing, employees have gained a sense of freedom and autonomy over their schedules. Commuting stress and time-consuming journeys to the office have become a thing of the past, allowing individuals to reclaim valuable hours that were once spent in traffic or crowded public transportation. This newfound flexibility has also enabled employees to strike a better work-life balance, as they can now seamlessly integrate personal responsibilities, such as childcare or household chores, with their professional tasks.
Moreover, remote work has ushered in a new era of productivity and collaboration. The advent of digital communication tools and project management software has made it easier for employees to stay connected and work together efficiently, regardless of geographical boundaries. Team members can collaborate in real-time, share documents instantly, and participate in virtual meetings, fostering a more inclusive and diverse work environment. Additionally, remote work has allowed companies to tap into a global talent pool, granting access to a broader range of skills and expertise, and creating a more competitive and dynamic workforce.
Remote work has ushered in a significant transformation in the workforce, reshaping the traditional dynamics of employment and challenging conventional norms. One of the most notable changes is the diversification of the labor pool. With geographical barriers becoming less relevant, companies can now hire talent from virtually anywhere in the world. This has led to the rise of the "gig economy," where freelancers and independent contractors contribute their skills to various projects and organizations, offering specialized expertise without the need for full-time employment. As a result, businesses have access to a more diverse range of skills, experiences, and perspectives, enabling greater innovation and adaptability.
Furthermore, remote work has catalyzed a shift in employer-employee relationships. The traditional hierarchical structures are being replaced by more flexible and decentralized models. Organizations are recognizing the importance of outcomes over rigid work hours, allowing employees to have greater control over their schedules and encouraging a results-oriented approach. This change has led to a more autonomous and empowered workforce, where individuals are judged based on their contributions and achievements rather than the time they spend at their desks. As a consequence, employees feel a stronger sense of ownership and motivation, leading to increased job satisfaction and retention rates.
With the remote workforce spanning different time zones and cultures, effective communication and collaboration have become critical challenges. Companies have had to adapt their communication strategies, relying heavily on digital tools, video conferencing, and virtual project management platforms to facilitate seamless teamwork. The lack of face-to-face interactions has prompted organizations to place greater emphasis on nurturing a strong company culture and maintaining team cohesion, even in the virtual space.
Before we tackle how to create a fantastic remote culture, it’s critical to understand why remote work and company culture is one of the most important things to get right for a business.
Remote workplace culture serves as the glue that binds a geographically dispersed team together. In a virtual work environment where face-to-face interactions are limited, a strong company culture helps establish a shared sense of identity, values, and purpose among employees. It creates a sense of belonging and fosters a positive work environment, which in turn leads to higher levels of engagement and job satisfaction. A well-defined culture also provides a framework for decision-making and behavior, guiding employees on how to interact with one another, with clients, and with the organization as a whole. This alignment of values and behaviors helps maintain consistency in the company's vision and mission, even when team members are spread across different locations and time zones.
Especially important for both employee satisfaction and results, a robust work from home culture enhances communication and collaboration. When employees feel a sense of connection to their organization and colleagues, they are more likely to actively participate in discussions, share ideas, and provide valuable feedback. A culture that encourages open communication and transparency fosters trust and psychological safety, enabling team members to express their opinions without fear of judgment. This open exchange of ideas enhances problem-solving capabilities and drives innovation. Additionally, a strong culture helps establish norms for remote work practices, ensuring that all team members are on the same page regarding expectations, work processes, and the use of technology. This level of clarity and consistency promotes efficiency and minimizes misunderstandings that can arise from the lack of physical proximity.
In these ways, culture in the remote work environment takes on responsibilities that would otherwise be held by a manager or boss in a conventional, in-person workspace (and nobody likes working under oppressive or uninspired leadership)! Transforming your remote company culture will transform your team – and their performance.
Now that we’ve discussed the vital importance of creating culture in remote teams, it’s time to talk strategy. Here are some essential tools for creating a positive and productive culture for your remote employees.
Trust is the foundation of a positive remote work culture. Empower your team members by giving them autonomy over their work and trusting them to make decisions, avoiding micromanagement and focusing on results rather than the process. When employees feel trusted and respected, they are more likely to take ownership of their tasks and demonstrate greater commitment to the team's success.
Establishing open and transparent communication channels is vital for remote teams. Employ a combination of messaging platforms, video conferencing, and regular team meetings to encourage real-time interactions and foster a sense of community and teamwork. Additionally, setting clear expectations for work hours, response times, and availability allows for healthy work-life balance and ensures everyone understands their responsibilities and deadlines. Finally, encourage employees to express their concerns, ideas, and feedback, and be receptive to their input – this will ensure your employees feel welcome, valued, and engaged.
Foster a sense of camaraderie and belonging by organizing virtual team-building activities, casual video calls, or online social events. These initiatives help team members get to know each other on a personal level, strengthening bonds and reducing feelings of isolation. Consider creating virtual watercooler spaces where employees can chat informally and share non-work-related interests.
Here at Fine Point we use Slack - extensively. We use it for internal and external client communications, but we also use it for banter amongst our team. While we can’t gather by a water cooler for conversations anymore, we absolutely still joke around, share stories, and bond via Slack. Even if you aren’t visibly seeing each other, “see” people by getting personal. Personal connections are pivotal to avoid isolation.
Acknowledge and the hard work and achievements of your remote team and express your appreciation regularly by celebrating milestones, recognizing individual contributions, and publicly praising team efforts. Recognition not only boosts morale but also reinforces a culture of positivity and collaboration. You may even consider implementing a rewards and recognition program to showcase appreciation for outstanding work!
While Fine Point Consulting has always provided traditional benefits to full-time staff, hiring more part-time people and having everyone spread out really made us realize that we needed to find ways to extend non-traditional benefits across the company. Managing gift giving for employees can be a huge administrative headache, but employing a platform for management can make that much easier. Two platforms that are on our radar currently are Fringe and PerkSpot.
Encourage continuous learning and growth by providing remote employees with opportunities for professional development. Offer online training, workshops, or webinars to enhance their skills and knowledge. Supporting their career growth demonstrates that you care about their long-term success and well-being, rather than focusing solely on what they can do for your business right now.
Remote work very quickly blur the boundaries between personal and professional life. Encourage your team to establish a healthy work-life balance by setting clear guidelines on when to disconnect from work. Promote self-care and mental well-being initiatives to help employees manage stress and avoid burnout, so they can continue to do their best work and grow in their roles.
Speaking of well-being initiatives, offer resources, such as wellness webinars, virtual yoga sessions, or meditation workshops. Demonstrating care for employees' holistic well-being helps foster a culture that values each individual's health and happiness.
Depending on your business and employees, this one can be tricky – but we recommend it highly. Organize in-person retreats or conferences where team members can come together to share experiences, discuss strategies, and connect with colleagues from different parts of the organization. These events help reinforce the team's shared goals and values while providing opportunities for networking, bonding, and collaboration. Even if they are only possible once every few years, in-person events can be hugely helpful to your remote employees.
If the nature of your business creates siloed teams or departments, consider being more intentional about encouraging collaboration across different teams. This can help promote a sense of unity within the organization and allow employees who are unfamiliar with one another build stronger relationships. Create platforms or channels for employees from different departments or projects to collaborate and share knowledge to foster a culture of collective achievement.
Empower employees to take the lead in organizing culture-building activities or events. Encourage them to suggest ideas, form interest-based groups, or start virtual clubs to bring people with similar interests together. When they have the power to make the workplace their own, even in small ways, it’s a win-win for everyone – the employees will find more enjoyment and pride in their work, and you are likely to see better results from them.
Like everything, the many benefits of remote work do come with certain challenges. Take work-life balance (or lack thereof) as an example. The lines between work and personal life can blur, making it essential for employees to set clear boundaries and establish a dedicated workspace to maintain focus and avoid burnout.
Additionally, while remote work has eradicated commuting-related stress, it has also led to feelings of isolation for some individuals who miss the social interactions and camaraderie of the office. As a result, companies have had to invest more effort in fostering virtual team-building activities and initiatives to support their employees' mental well-being.
Though remote work presents its challenges, such as maintaining work-life balance and combating feelings of isolation, the overall benefits of flexibility, productivity, and a diverse talent pool make it a transformative force in the workforce. Fine Point Consulting's commitment to its remote work culture has not only allowed employees like Lenise to achieve personal aspirations but also contributed to a thriving and connected team. The experience of Fine Point Consulting serves as a testament to the power of remote work culture in fostering happy, engaged employees who are more than willing to put forth their best efforts for the success of the company.
In conclusion, remote work culture is not just a concept; it is a driving force that can bring about transformative changes in employees' lives and businesses alike. By embracing the principles of trust, communication, recognition, and employee well-being, companies can create a remote work culture that not only drives productivity but also empowers individuals to achieve their dreams. As the workforce continues to evolve, nurturing and investing in a positive remote work culture becomes increasingly essential for organizations seeking to thrive in the ever-changing landscape of remote work.
Unfortunately, managing your business’s finances and human resources can always be tricky – whether your team is remote or in-person. We’re here to help! Call us today for your free consultation at 877-535-1183, or visit https://www.finepointconsulting.com/get-started.
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