If you work with a great team, I’m guessing you miss working with them face to face. I certainly miss seeing my team in the office every day.
I miss our short morning breaks, walking over to Cannelle and picking up a pain au chocolat. I miss having lunch in the community space at WeWork and chatting about weekend plans. I’ve only been with the team for two months now, and I still feel like I’m just getting to know my coworkers. In this new era of Stay Home and remote work, being productive outside of the office is important, of course, but staying connected as human beings is now more important than ever.
We’ve talked about company culture many times. We match talent and employers heavily on culture fit. Sure ping-pong and free lunches have something to do with it. But what do companies do when no one is in the office to eat lunch together?
The aspects of company culture that are truly important to talent can still be lived out, even on online. It’s about supporting your employees. Empowering them to grow and creatively tackle new challenges (and there certainly a lot of those right now). And most importantly, it’s about working with people who are passionate, driven, and all around good humans.
Of course nothing can replace a team walk to a Detroit bakery, but we have some tips that can help make sure you maintain your good company culture that you’ve worked hard to create—even online.
Don’t over schedule meetings.
If you say you trust your employees and empower them to become leaders, then make sure you actually trust and empower them. Just because we’re all separated from each other doesn’t mean we need video conferencing check-ins multiple times a day.
Our own team has adopted a daily schedule of short video check-ins. It’s a good time to touch base with each other—and stay connected through things outside of work.
Bottom line: if you’ve espoused a culture that trusts employees and encourages self-starting, that shouldn’t change now that we’re all working remotely.
Communicate about things other than work.
We do this in an office: talk about our weekends, our hobbies, our significant others. That shouldn’t change now that we’re talking online. A great way to continue those conversations is by doing virtual show and tell.
I know, this isn’t kindergarten. But show and tell is a great way to learn more about your coworkers and add some levity to your day.
Especially when that show and tell is a puppy.
Our teammate Allie has been hunkering down with her parents in the Lansing area, and, because what else are you going to do during quarantine, Allie’s parents adopted a puppy, Rosie. The whole team was very grateful to meet Rosie via Zoom.
Another fun thing about video chat is that since we’re no longer in a shared office, we can all get a virtual glimpse at different aspects of our coworkers’ lives. During one of our first online meetings, Allie noticed my sewing machine behind me and sent me a Slack message asking about it. We found out we both enjoy crafting, especially knitting.
Video meetings are great for staying productive and communicating, but they’re also a great way to learn more about each other and continue fostering meaningful relationships with the people you work with every single day.
Take advantage of Slack.
Slack is great for pinging coworkers about status updates, asking questions, and staying on the same page. But it’s also great for filling in your teammates on what’s happening outside of work.
Some companies have added Slack channels for lunchtime, where they share a picture of their lunch since they can’t all eat together. Some teams send pics of their furry coworkers.
Our purpose.jobs team members also use Slack to update their status. Going for a walk. Taking a sunshine break. On a run. Eating noodles. Meeting cats (my personal status when I was adopting that little guy above) … the Slack status world is your oyster.
The net-net: you can stay in touch with your team without the pressure of having to be on call 24/7. It’s like a virtual ping-pong break.
Gym memberships, good work-life balance . . . those things easily disappear during remote work. It’s great to go for a run and let your teammates know on Slack that that’s what you’ll be doing for the next half hour. And it’s great that your company encourages getting outside and taking exercise breaks. But many companies are taking it to the next level.
Some companies are turning fitness into fun games and challenges (example: the letters of your name spell out your workout — A = 10 jumping jacks, B = 10 sit ups, etc.). Our friends at Challenge Detroit hosted a Zumba Zoom class for their fellows.
Photo courtesy Andrew Moss, Challenge Detroit
Also, when you work from home, it can be hard to draw the line between work and home. Do you find yourself taking less breaks? Working after dinner? Of course we have to meet our deadlines and goals, but it’s important to shut off, unwind, and rejuvenate. Leaving your work at the office is harder than ever when your office is in your living room.
Checking in on your team’s health, carving out time for mental breaks via virtual happy hours or a Zumba session can all help encourage wellness—both physically and mentally. The bottom line is that if you value the wellness of your employees, there are creative ways to encourage it, even online.
These are strange and scary times. People are craving information and transparency now more than ever. Be real with your team and let them know how things are going. They’ll thank you for your honesty and authenticity.
We want to hear the creative ways you’re staying in touch with your team and maintaining your company culture from afar. Share your own tips with us using the hashtag #WFHwithpurpose
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