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Maintaining Workplace Culture Without the Workplace

Yes, another blog on how to work remotely, but please stay with me as I want to look at this from another perspective…

We don’t know how long Covid-19 will impact us for and where we will land when it’s all over. However, we do know that at some point the virus will subside and we will pick ourselves up and rebuild the economy.

But how do we minimise the fallout in the meantime?

Right now is an incredible opportunity to build immense trust and camaraderie within your team, which will create a more connected and unified workforce when we get back to some form of business as usual, whatever that might look like.

I’m not going to sugarcoat things, as for many businesses this will be an immensely challenging time and affect an incredible amount of workers across the globe. But throughout all of this, how do we keep the culture alive?

At Transpire, we have built a flexible workplace culture from the beginning, largely based on trust, which meant the shift for our staff to WFH was not difficult. However, we have never had all our staff off-site at the same time for a prolonged period.

We knew we had to do things differently and adapt quickly. Keeping our team connected and unified is pivotal to ensure we continue to deliver superior work to our clients, and keep our people engaged and together. Let’s take a look at what’s working for us:

Stay Connected & Remain Honest

Find great communication platforms and communicate, communicate, communicate!!!! I can’t say it enough, now more than ever you need to send frequent, considered and accessible information.

Think the same message multiple ways: brief your leaders daily on the key messages to convey to their teams; send company-wide emails; address the team via video conference and open up for Q&As; send messages via your internal systems (i.e. Slack, Yammer etc).

Double your usual communication efforts and make sure your team is informed every step of the way:

– Acknowledge that there is a level of ambiguity but emphasise what the business can and is able to control and what they are doing about it;

– Tell your teams about the types of conversations you are having with clients, internal stakeholders or industry experts and what that means for them;

– Be honest but remain composed, considered and consistent in your messaging. Whilst the world is in chaos, more than ever your people will turn to you as a leader to remain cool and calm;

– Pick up the phone/video conference tool and talk to individuals EVERY DAY. You no longer have the hallway chats and ear to the ground that you had previously, so this is important to tap into how your people are feeling and coping;

– Deliver the tough messages with empathy, honesty and hope. It’s ok to prepare people for what’s to come but they need to hear that there is light at the end of the tunnel and why the business is taking particular actions;

– Open up avenues to help your team to connect with each other. We just created a slack channel for parents to share their ideas (and frustrations) on how to entertain their kids and also manage work commitments during the school closure period – this was received really well, as now they know they are not alone and are supported by the business if they need to work outside of normal hours;

– Get feedback from your teams – how are they feeling, what are their ideas, what are they concerned about and ask them the right questions to help them work through it.

Create Routines & Rituals

Is it a virtual team stand up via Google Hangouts/Zoom or the WFH tip of the day that your team looks forward to each morning? Create structured work events that your people can participate in and help them keep on track. Think as simple as organising a virtual lunch every Wednesday.

Initiative that checks-in with a project team every day at 3pm

Assist your teams to create a new work routine. What time do they start work, have lunch and finish for the day? Encourage them to stay physically active during the day and draw a clear line between when it’s time to down tools and when to spend time with their family, friends or unwind for the day.

Have Fun

Look for ways to engage your team on a lighter note and have some fun – we all need a break from the doom and gloom happening around us and the possibilities are endless….

Team members work from home set-ups

Capitalise on things that usually happen in the office i.e. if table tennis is your office jam, look for a virtual table tennis app staff can play online. Encourage your team to play and share pictures or content online that will engage others: whose lunch looks the best today; who has the most pimped out home office set-up; how are all our furry friends handling the increase in human contact?

Tap into Culture Carriers

Approach the cultural ambassadors within your business and task them with sharing content and activities online with the team – you will get more engagement through coworkers who also bring new and refreshing ideas.

Virtual Friday afternoon drinks

This also gives the more introverted team members a platform to share and participate, who may not have felt comfortable doing so in the physical office environment.

Most of All, Show you Care

The health and wellbeing of our team members is the most important factor in all of this. Show you care by checking in via phone or video with a few people each day. Say hello and show your appreciation for the work they are doing and the effort they are putting in to keep the wheels turning.

Offer an open ear for your people to voice their concerns and provide external support if your team’s mental health is being impacted. The simplest of gestures can make a huge impact during times like these.

I’m devastated by the impact Covid-19 is having on our nation, our friends, our families and our coworkers. However, I’m excited that the situation is forcing us to innovate and look at new ways of working.

I’d love to know how others are maintaining their workplace culture while your teams work from home. Get in touch with Transpire today.

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