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How to Maintain Company Culture
During Social Isolation
The COVID-19 pandemic that has been sweeping the world at large has effectively put a massive damper on what many consider to be the main tenet of company culture: open interaction and communication. After all, it is hard for employees to drop by their manager’s office for a quick chat or to get clarification when they have a question if there is no office to speak of.
Many workers now find themselves working remotely, and doing so for the first time in their lives. While it can be difficult to maintain company culture even in times outside of a crisis, this massive shift to a remote workforce has forced companies to adapt and find creative ways to promote and build company culture regardless. Times are uncertain, so it is hugely important that company culture is maintained to provide some sense of normalcy for newly remote workers.
Live Up to the Cultural Ideals
For any company that espouses being ethically conscious and helping one another as part of their company culture, there is no better time than now for a company to walk the walk. Employees are likely to have a huge number of questions regarding how their work has changed and the best way to approach working from home, and it is paramount that companies be there to lend a helping hand in getting them adjusted quickly and painlessly. How a company treats and interacts with its workers in the coming weeks and months will act as a litmus test for many prospective employees for years to come. Companies that embody their stated culture now will not only help their employees but will also reap the rewards of their efforts far into the future.
If a company’s employees have questions about why measures are being taken by the company even if the country or state they live in hasn’t enacted stay at home orders, it is important that the company answer all questions openly and honestly. Ensuring that employees understand the gravity of flattening the curve of cases during the COVID-19 pandemic will show that the company is taking a vested interest not just in profits but in the health and well-being of its employees.
Workers across the nation have been caught off guard by the COVID-19 pandemic and many find themselves facing both personal and financial hardships due to the drastic shift in daily life. A company can take this opportunity to further their company culture by reaching out and providing resources for dealing with COVID-19 to its employees. A helping hand will go a long way and will show employees that their company really cares about them and their families. Companies that practice great company culture during this crisis will act as a stabilizing element in the lives of their workers and should be lauded for their efforts.
Get Creative with Team Building
Just because traditional team-building methods are no longer viable doesn’t mean that a company is incapable of offering up alternatives. One of the best ways that a business can influence company culture is through team building and there is no reason that that should change simply because its workforce now operates from home. In reality, the current situation demands new methods of team building considering that the way that employees work and interact with each other has changed so radically over the past weeks.
Remote workers have always faced challenges when it comes to team building and forming bonds with their co-workers which, in turn, hurts their ability to contribute to and maintain company culture. There are plenty of games and activities that a company can use to boost remote team-building efforts in a fun, effective, and unintrusive way. Companies that make an effort to work on team building throughout the situation playing out across the world will undoubtedly see the effects manifest in cohesive teams that communicate well and work together effortlessly, despite their physical distance.
Even though the world is going through extraordinary times and the new norm is remote work due to social distancing measures and shelter in-place orders does not mean that company culture goes out the window. Though employees must remain physically distant from one another, the simple fact is that it is wildly important that they engage in team-building in some form or another in order to regain some sense of normalcy in their working lives. Companies that assist and facilitate their employees in this are going the extra mile to embody their company culture and the effect can be seen in remote workers who are not just managing this new work reality but thriving in it.
Encourage Employees to Connect (Safely)
For a business to have true company culture it needs employees who can participate in and practice that company culture. One of the best ways for workers to adopt and express company culture is through their interactions with their fellow employees. Regardless of proximity, employees of a company should feel as though they are still able to maintain the many relationships that they have developed at work and a good company will encourage and even facilitate its employees’ ability to stay safely connected to one another.
One of the easiest ways to get employees to continue building relationships with each other is to encourage them to keep practicing the traditions and activities that they normally would have done in the office from the comfort of their home. Companies should suggest that employees video chat while on lunch break together, show one another their pets and children over video chat, and allow for dedicated socialization channels in work-related programs like Zoom or Slack.
If a group of employees regularly attends a happy hour after work, suggest that they continue doing so over a shared video call. Allow employees to download a fun non-work application like Snapchat where they can participate in challenges with each other. There are endless possibilities for employees to continue connecting with one another safely, building upon company culture all the while.
At the end of the day, while the working world has shifted dramatically, the dynamics inside of any given office should continue as normal, albeit online. The best thing that any given company can do right now for their employees when facing the COVID-19 pandemic is to try and help them adjust to remote work quickly enough that they are comfortable in their new roles and are happy to help maintain company culture.
About the Author
Magnolia Potter is from the Pacific Northwest and writes from time to time. She prefers to cover a variety of topics and not just settle on one. When Magnolia’s not writing, you can find her outdoors or curled up with a good book. Chat with her on Twitter @MuggleMagnolia.