Between feeling like an oversized hamster, forgetting what the sun feels like, and missing mundane watercooler chats, post-pandemic working hasn’t been completely rosy - for remote and hybrid teams alike. Many team members are still struggling to find the sweet spot between a productive professional life and a healthy personal life.
During the pandemic, 65% of employers admit to struggling with maintaining high employee morale. And why is it important to maintain employee morale? Well, it has been proven that companies with more satisfied employees are more resilient in times of crisis, so employee morale isn’t an issue that company leaders (who want to succeed) can turn a blind eye to.
So, how can leaders build a work culture of high employee morale in a socially distanced climate? The rest of this article aims to offer some pointers for building a healthy, post-pandemic work culture. In doing this, we’ll also explore digital libraries as one of the most transformative and effective culture-boosting tools available.
Recovering from the pandemic
Thanks to the pandemic, the previously growing rate of disruption of traditional job roles (and skills needed to do them) have accelerated. As organizations start to recover, company leaders need to be intentional about taking steps that ensure lasting, long-term recovery.
On one hand, leaders need to ensure that their teams possess the right skills and capabilities for addressing the disruption caused by new ways of working and changing technologies. On the other hand, capable teams can only thrive within a healthy work culture that prioritizes individual values such as self-care, continuous learning, and self-improvement.
So which of these is more important for riding the pandemic wave - the right tools or the right culture? The renowned management expert, Peter Drucker suggests it’s the latter with his famous quote: “culture eats strategy for breakfast” and it’s no mystery why. Digital transformation has made it easier for more organizations to compete within the same markets. With these high levels of competition, companies that get company culture right will run circles around those that don't. Organizations that foster a culture of individual growth and wellbeing are more likely to enjoy higher levels of employee engagement, and higher productivity. So one way to gain a competitive advantage is to keep your teams performing with levels of harmony that impress even The Rolling Stones.
In building a healthy work culture that favors new ways of working, leaders need to implement sustainable solutions that benefit both remote and hybrid teams - such as company libraries, for example.
But first, how do you build a healthy company culture for hybrid teams?
In a world of flexible working, the option for building a cohesive team culture through physical interactions - daily ‘huddles’, physical back pats, and shared cups of coffee may not always be practical. It has become necessary to organize culture-building strategies and activities that prepare teams with skills and capabilities for the future without excluding remote or on-site teams.
Without further ado, here are some general tips to considering ideas for building your company culture:
- Be flexible. For teams distributed across various time zones, choose solutions that accommodate all team members within sensible hours for their time zones. There’s no point planning a virtual team party when some team members are asleep.
- Add variety. Consider offering a mix of fully remote activities with hybrid activities so that remote team members don’t constantly feel left out of on-site activities.
- Establish consistency. Establish a consistent routine, with solutions that both remote and hybrid teams can enjoy. Rather than trying to organize activities through Zoom, both remote and hybrid team members can regularly participate in interactive reading exercises, sharing ideas and growing collectively at their convenience.
- Prioritize wellbeing. Implement solutions that help team members gain access to resources that support their mental and physical well-being. Access to books, videos, podcasts, apps, etc that help educate team members on issues such as anxiety could help them recognize warning signs, and encourage them to seek help before burning out.
How a company library can help accelerate your team’s post-pandemic recovery
For organizations that are intentional about thriving after the pandemic, two things are important.
- Building cohesive, resilient teams that can respond quickly to changes in the market and economy.
- Consciously updating the skills and capabilities of team members - because, without the right skills, all the cohesiveness in the world would fall short of solving problems.
So how do leaders choose the best strategy for meeting the objectives above? How can team leaders pick ongoing activities that all team members can participate in? How can team leaders implement affordable solutions that help team members grow individually and also collectively?
We think the humble company library holds the key. A company library meets all these requirements as it encourages team learning growth and cohesiveness through reading. Apart from being a cost-effective approach to team building and knowledge sharing, there are a host of other reasons why a company library is one of the most powerful ways to prepare your organization to thrive after the pandemic.
1. Access to learning resources
By allowing access to a broad range of learning and development resources, individual team members can engage in self-development at their own pace. In addition to this, individuals can choose to zero in on specialty topics with no cap on the scale of their personal development.
2. Cost-effective relaxation
It comes as no surprise that reading is a stress-buster. In our socially distanced, post-pandemic world, a company library offers a cheaper option for stress relief that is scalable and sustainable. When compared to activities such as company spa days, for example, a company library promises a better return on investment in the long term.
3. Improved communication skills within teams
While individuals can significantly increase their vocabulary (and consequently communication skills) through reading, the benefits are even more profound for teams that read together. By reading, learning, and growing together, teams can develop high-level communication skills that pave the way for better collaboration and accelerated results.
4. Increased employee retention
By being proactive about supporting team members in their wellbeing and personal development, a company library can be a great tool for fostering a sense of belonging among team members. This could help individuals feel like they are a part of a larger movement, which could in turn impact positively on performance.
5. Corporate culture development
There is sufficient evidence to show that reading promotes leadership, creativity, and critical thinking skills. By incorporating a company library, your organization shows that it prioritizes a culture where educated and informed employees are supported. This sets the tone for building a company culture that is known for the delivery of high standards of excellence.
Library options for your company
When considering options for creating a library for your team, it is important to take into account your team structure and select an option that offers convenience to team members. With this in mind, there are several options available:
- Physical (office) library
- Standalone digital libraries (e.g. Odilo)
- Learning platforms (like Readmor)
Creating a library: what you need to consider
1. Availability of books. No tough work here, as the key lies in the capabilities of your chosen platform. We live in a time and age where millions of books titles and formats are easily accessible to your teams. You can assess your team’s structure and preferences and consider taking requests for not just paper books, but also audiobooks and eBooks.
2. Administration. Your ideal library solution should be easy to manage. If your team is predominantly located on-site, you might need to include in your budget a library assistant or an administrator. Alternatively, you could implement a digital library solution that keeps track of your catalog, while offering insight into your team's reading patterns.
3. Centralized team interactions. Think about what you want to achieve from your company library. Do you just want a shared space to manage your team’s access to books, or would you like an interactive element that allows team members to share insight? Some library solutions offer the added benefit of interactive features that help your team members share exchange knowledge and insight which contributes towards building cohesion within teams. Also, this ensures that knowledge is shared, not kept in only a few heads.
How to set up a library for your team
If you would like to set up a learning platform for your team that catalogs your titles, consider a solution like Readmor that makes the process as simple as clicking buttons. It also costs less money and hassle than setting up a library in a physical space. Here are a few basic steps that show you how to achieve your own company digital library in hours, not weeks.
- Register on Readmor.
- Set up your company library by uploading your book list or use the global book database to find books that you and your team will love.
- Create administration rules that enable easy access to books. You can enable team members to request paper, ebook, and audiobooks.
- Get your employees to test the system and request books. You can manage book requests, analyze reading patterns among employees, and even create expense reports.
In conclusion, it is evident that implementing a company library - especially a digital one, is one of the most effective strategies that can help you transform your organizational culture following the pandemic. There are huge benefits to be enjoyed from company libraries, and your team will reward you with measurable results. Plus - it doesn't cost a fortune to set one up, so the time is perfect to take action towards building your company culture today.