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Never before have more people worked from home at one time. In life before COVID-19, working from home was seen by many as a novelty or an occasional necessity when you needed to wait in for a sofa delivery or the washing machine repair man. However, business has been forced to rapidly adapt to a massive change in working culture as a result of the pandemic, and unsurprisingly, this can have a significant impact on company culture.
So, what can businesses do to keep the culture alive in the current environment and looking to the future as working patterns are likely to change for good.
1. Maintain some structure for your team
It’s widely accepted that keeping up with routines while working from home is beneficial to both mental health and how effective teams are. Create regular touch points across the week to keep people engaged.
2. Prioritise mental health and wellbeing
This is a major focus right now and it has never been more important to make time in busy schedules for colleagues to share useful resources, talk openly about challenges, and demonstrate empathy and support for each other.
3. Set creative challenges
With colleagues working apart and likely spending a lot of time in virtual meetings, finding ways for people to flex their creative muscle is key to delivering high quality work. Hold brainstorms and find ways to stimulate fresh thinking.
4. Share good news
While positive updates tend to spread like wildfire across the office floor, it can require more coaxing to encourage people to share on team calls or email. But doing so will help everyone feel involved and upbeat about the work the team is doing.
5. Schedule regular catch-ups using a video conferencing tool
It’s good for everyone to see their colleagues’ faces and doing this more often than you might otherwise ensures individuals aren’t left feeling isolated.
6. Take time to learn about everyone
Suddenly we’re seeing where people live and what their kids look like as we take video calls from home. Embrace the move and encourage colleagues to learn about each other and what influences them outside of the office.
7. Adopt open and honest communication
With no room for in-person feedback, encouraging colleagues to call and offer constructive comments on work is crucial. Maintaining coaching skills will help with the continued evolution of your team’s skillset.
8. Set up socials
A happy hour or team outing might be off the table, but find ways to bring the team together in a fun and relaxing way. Conduct a remote quiz or adapt the set up for the Friday drinks gathering from home.
9. Don’t underestimate the water cooler effect
In normal times, employees gather around the water cooler (or coffee machine) and chat – about the latest TV show, the weather, new podcasts etc. Find a way to maintain this healthy dynamic virtually using all agency chat platforms.
10. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate
The strength of your culture will live or die on the success of your internal communication and ensuring that colleagues feel bought in and supported. If you get communication wrong, it’s unlikely you’ll have the culture you want.