The culture within your business is as important as any buying or selling you may do. It shouldn't ever become an afterthought or neglected, especially as we work through this uniquely troubling time.
Whether you've built a culture you are proud of or are looking to maintain the camaraderie you have within the business it's vital to keep that in place even if the physical office isn't in use right now.
Difficult times like these are when we all face real challenges. However, challenges can lead to progress. As you look to take care of your employees and raise the culture this will push your staff and yourself as a leader forward.
Here are some ideas to help you keep the company culture alive as we work remotely.
Share your company values
To keep your employees connected to your company culture your company values need to be the forefront of their mind.
Company values communicate how your business operates and how you create a positive working environment.
By finding ways to keep those core values in the minds of your employees you can help them stay engaged with your company culture.
Here are a couple of ideas to help keep the core values fresh in mind:
- Create a weekly round up: Have a weekly email for employees to share how they demonstrated one of your core values.
- Digital peer recognition: Allow your employees to nominate a teammate they feel has shown the company values the most.
Let everyone know the 'why' of the company
A big part of the company culture is the company mission. The why. The entire business should know what the mission is and be able to leverage it in their jobs.
Your 'why' should define everything the business does in simple words. So even when working remotely your staff understand the mission of the company.
When your employees understand the mission and the 'why' of the business they can keep it in their minds as they make decisions. Even as they work from home by following the 'why' they can stay engrained with the company culture.
Find good communication software
While many companies make use of WhatsApp groups or group messaging you will need something more robust to connect your whole company. Communication, interaction and shared document management are all important.
There are individual tools such as Slack (for messaging) and Zoom (for video conferencing) having one tool that can do the lot is much simpler.
Using Microsoft Teams you can have your communication, video conferencing and document management in one place. This will keep your staff connected and allow them to interact with each other.
Specifically, in a work-from-home setup, these tools hold massive value. For any task that takes more time in communication than analysis or implementation, it is a good idea to put in the extra investment for better tech.
This communication software can be very affordable, especially when you use a subscription model. That keeps the expense of the software manageable with no big one-off fees.
Reducing the friction in the day to day working of your staff will keep them motivated.
Build camaraderie and avoid isolation
One of the hardest parts of everyone remote working is to avoid any of your staff becoming isolated. Company culture is often born out of the way your staff interact together.
This happens in the office space but right now, when you can't do that, you will need to find a way to continue that interaction. As we all work remotely form our makeshift home offices the challenge is to maintain that spirit of camaraderie.
Here are a few ideas to help maintain camaraderie among your employees:
- Fun chat channels: Use Microsoft Teams to start channels for employees to bond over mutual interests such as movies, pets, and fitness.
- After-hour virtual socials: It seems the whole country has embraced video chat so start a video-chat happy hour, game night, quiz evening, or even do a virtual cooking class.
- Lunch break wellness activities: Take time at lunch and try yoga, meditation, pilates, classes together to encourage a healthy lifestyle.
Make face-to-face meetings a priority
Email is a very useful tool but there is no replacement for seeing your colleagues face-to-face, even if its by video. Seeing and hearing others allows us to pick up on subtle things in their voice or body language. This helps maintain a connection.
To keep the company culture in place you should try to communicate over video as much as possible. Maintain employee one 2 ones, keep regular meetings and stick to those schedules.
Trust your team.
With everyone out of the office and remote working, you have to trust your team. You will have to trust them to maintain their productivity and to maintain the company identity in the work they do.
When you have your whole team working from home, to maintain your company culture, trust in your staff, and them in you, is vital. If you just trust them to do their part for the company, you might be surprised to see how many of them go the extra mile for your business and your customers, which makes your customers trust you in turn.
What else can you do?
Here are some additional ideas you can try to keep the company culture alive.
- A companywide AMA: Keep the camaraderie alive within the company with a fun spin on your weekly get-togethers. The ask me anything approach can create some fun questions that will help everyone to get know each other better.
- Virtual game night: Whether that's an online quiz or a twitch style computer gameplay along this can be a good way to bring a lot of people together outside of work.
- Birthday shout-outs: Birthday celebrations are a staple of work life. Please, please, please maintain this tradition remotely.
We are having to work in strange times and lots of pressure is being put on businesses around the country. Maintaining your company culture will help keep everyone in your business connected and pulling in the same direction.