LAS is an award-winning provider of elearning consultancy, design, development and training services in the UK and internationally.
Established in 2005 as LearningAge Solutions, we work with some of the best known organisations in the world to boost their performance through the innovative use of learning technologies. Working in partnership with our customers, we draw on proven principles from human behaviour, how people learn and how the brain works to create impactful digital learning solutions with real return on investment.
Tess is a director of LAS. She has worked in a learning environment for over twenty years. First, as a senior manager in universities, moving into digital learning ten years ago.
By Tess Robinson
Posted 17 July 2020
It’s increasing looking like remote working is set to continue for the foreseeable. This swift and necessary adaptation to the working environment brings with it challenges around organisational culture but also opportunities to strengthen culture and maybe even change it for the better.
As many of us are finding out, working at home on your own can be rather lonely. Humans are naturally social. They want to belong and feel part of something bigger. That’s why that, with distance, culture becomes even more important. Shared goals and values are what will hold your teams together even when they are far apart physically. Although you may feel distracted by the situation as an organisation, now is actually a great time to revisit your organisation’s purpose and encourage your people to rally around your cause. But how do you maintain and build your company culture when you’re not all in the same place?
Restate your mission. Why are you doing what you are doing as an organisation? What value does this bring to the world/your customers/your employees? Is that mission still actually relevant in this changed world? Does it motivate your people? If not, maybe look to change it. And if you do need to change it, get your employees input on what they think it should be.
Strengthen your values by telling stories of behaviour that lives out those values in your communications and learning. Stories are an important psychological tool for bringing communities together and a really powerful way to share information, reflect and learn. Recognise and celebrate team members who have got great results, however small, by living out your company values. Positive stories feel good and help everyone to focus on what works. Videos (just self-shot ones are fine) are a great way to put these stories across remotely.
Communicate often and well. Think about how much you communicate with your team in the office and (at least) double it. Do what you can to reduce that psychological distance and show them that out-of-sight doesn’t equal out-of-mind. Team sessions, group sessions and individual check-ins are more important than ever. It doesn’t all have to be on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Mix it up with phone calls, Whatsapp and even VR. We had a delightfully anarchic team call in VR this week.
Give your people ownership. This is a great opportunity to stop micro-managing and give your people more autonomy. When they are working remotely, you have no choice but to trust them. Focus on their output, rather than the number of hours they are sitting at a desk. This can also be translated into the learning they undertake. Give them autonomy to choose their path through the learning so that their time is used efficiently and they’re not having to wade through stuff that they already know.
Don’t stop collaborating and knowledge sharing. These activities don’t need to stop because you’re far apart. Technology can be used to create an environment where ideas can be shared and creativity is sparked. Make sure you build a social element into all your blends. This could be through virtual classrooms, Whatsapp groups, group assignments or drop-in clinics.
Organisations who have struggled for years to implement more digital ways of working and learning have suddenly found themselves adapting quickly to the new environment. All the usual barriers and excuses are gone and in their place is a new-found flexibility and resourcefulness that they never knew they had. Although this brings with it a number of challenges around infrastructure, there has never been a better time to revisit the organisation’s mission and values and to use technology to strengthen your culture.