For a lot of us, the new reality is an indefinite work from home situation. While physical distancing is more of a necessity now than a choice, social distancing doesn’t need to be. Company leaders must strive to maintain culture in this sudden remote work era.
Disconnect in some ways is inevitable, but workplaces can take steps to ensure that teams can come together and function in the least disruptive ways possible. It’s important that every day operations run smoothly, but culture, the backbone of all successful organizations, must not suffer in this unsettling time.
Use tools that align with your culture and foster collaboration
When your team is forced to communicate within an app rather than inside an office, the chosen tools should reflect your company’s culture. For a fun, casual environment, Slack can help you stay up-to-date on deadlines, chit-chat on topics related and unrelated to work (you can categorize these topics in their own channels) and remind team members about employee birthdays and workiversaries. At Tethr, we boasted a large remote working population before this COVID-19 pandemic, so remote and onsite workers always have collaborated on Slack. Now the entire company is learning to rely on it a little bit more as previous onsite employees are learning the remote ropes.
Shared experiences, inside jokes and great collaboration should not get neglected during a work from home stint. A remote team just needs to recreate these elements with the right tools. Tethr’s culture-centric Slack channels such as #tethrwonderwomen, #tethrpets, #kudos, #goodreads, #fridayyay and #culturecommunications help us stay connected. We added a #covid-19 channel to keep team members updated on Coronavirus related news, local ordinances, doubts and concerns and tips on maintaining good health, spirits and work habits during the duration.
Acknowledge personal milestones
Birthdays, new babies, workiversaries, closing big deals and recognizing hard work shouldn’t get overlooked in a work from home setting. The out of sight out of mind mentality needs to be trashed in these circumstances. Tethrites are encouraged to celebrate each other on our Kudos Slack channel, celebrate personal achievements on our #fridayyay channel and to always send birthday and workiversary wishes.
Does your company send out newsletters? Gathering content can be more difficult when employees are all working out of their offices, but it’s more crucial than ever to help contribute to these newsletters during times like these. Send the newsletter editor team wins, personal accomplishments and plenty of photos to keep everyone connected. Our last Tethr’d Together culture update touched on adjusting gracefully to fully-remote work, listed resources for working from home and sent tips on how to make yourself more accessible by adjusting your Slack profile.
Get regular facetime
Teams across Tethr make sure to visit on video calls on a regular basis. When it comes to company meetings, team buildings and department check-ins, we’ve had no trouble keeping gatherings timely, effective and fun. Every other Thursday, we hold a Product Brown Bag Demo Lunch where we discuss new Tethr features over a Tethr-provided lunch. COVID-19 complications forced us to get a little creative, so last week, Tethr employees were all offered DoorDash cash so their lunch of choice was delivered right to their homes.
We’re never too old for games. Gamification involves putting game-playing elements into non-game environments. For example, some companies give points out for being the first member on a team to say good morning or to the sales members with the most calls. At Tethr, we sometimes ask a Tethr-related trivia question in exchange for a prize.
Last week, our Sales team held a March Madness Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament on Slack. They also conducted a Jeopardy game during a virtual social hour.
For some of us, day-to-day interactions matter a lot. It can be difficult to adjust to a sudden remote work environment, especially if you’re not overly excited about it. Check in with your team members to make sure they are okay. Detached employees lead to business sufferings down the road. Use Slack’s call and screen share features and have a chat or a drink with teammates.
As we physically distance, it is important to remember that social distancing isn’t necessary. Take advantage of the extra hours not spent communicating in order to maintain strong relationships and perhaps build new ones.